Using proper body language in an interview can help you get the job

body languageExperts say that potential employers will make up their mind about you during the first few seconds after meeting you. And it has a lot to do with body language.

The importance of body language cannot be underestimated. Most job seekers spend hours and hours thinking about and practicing what they’re going to say. But they should also spend some time considering how they’re going to use nonverbal communication to establish rapport with the hiring manager.

It starts with a handshake

It all starts with the initial handshake, which believe it or not, can make or break an interview. When you first meet the interviewer, they will probably offer you their hand.  Watch for their cue before you extend yours. Then squeeze their hand firmly – not too hard or too soft and avoid the limp or “dead fish” handshake, which will make a horrible impression.

Be sure to make eye contact and smile. Even if you might be nervous, let them know that you are happy to be there and excited about the job you are interviewing for.

Eye contact

Making eye contact is an important part of how you communicate. Looking in someone’s eyes helps establish rapport and shows that you are interested. Look them confidently in the eye, but don’t stare. That may make them feel uncomfortable

Be sure to make eye contact with the interviewer when they’re speaking and as much as possible when you’re speaking as well. If you are being interviewed by a panel of people, use what is sometimes referred to as the lighthouse technique. Look from one person to the next pausing briefly at each. But if a particular interviewer asks you a question, make sure to maintain steady eye contact with that person.

Practice using eye contact on a daily basis with friends and family. That way it will seem natural and you will become used to doing it. A good rule of thumb is each time you offer eye contact, make it long enough to notice the color of the other person’s eyes, or a little longer.

Good posture

Don’t’ slouch. Sit up straight in your chair and plant your feet firmly on the floor. This will show that you are confident and ready to tackle the questions that will be thrown your way.

Don’t cross your legs or your arms. Although the reason is open to interpretation, crossed arms are considered negative by most people. They are thought to be a sign of insecurity or a means of putting a barrier between yourself and others.

Put your arms by your side but feel free to gesture. “Talking” with your hands can add emphasis to what you say, but use gestures sparingly.

You will also want to nod your head while the interviewer is speaking to show that you are listening and engaged, and agree with what they’re saying (if you do).

Remember to smile

Like eye contact, a smile can establish rapport with the person or people interviewing you. Make sure you smile and smile sincerely. A smile shows that you are confident, at ease with yourself and will be a pleasant person to work with. It also offers connection and a sense of empathy which can demonstrate that you possess important soft skills, setting you apart from other job candidates.

It ends with a handshake

When the interview is over, the hiring manager will probably want to shake your hand again to conclude the process. Make sure to thank them for taking the time to interview you and put on your best smile.

In the days before an interview, practice your body language techniques to make sure that you’ll feel comfortable and it comes off as natural.

Try a power pose

Right before the interview you can also try a little trick that will improve the way you present yourself. It’s called a power pose – the hands-on-the-hips wonder woman pose or what an athlete does when he raises both hands above his head to celebrate victory after crossing the finish line. Researchers have found that assuming a power pose for two minutes before going into an interview gives people the confidence they need to make a favorable impression. It should also put you in the mindset to use your best body language.

Using the proper body language is an important skill and should help you make a good impression and get the job.

 

 

Skills gap among job seekers means those who have the skills will be the ones hired

Skills gap

Human resource managers report that trade skills, like welding, are among the top three skills that are lacking among jobseekers.

Those leaving prison and exploring potential work opportunities may be pleased to know that there are many jobs going unfilled these days. And the job seekers who have developed the skills for certain kinds of work will be the ones who will succeed.

For the first time in more than two decades last year, the number of jobs available outpaced the number of people who were looking for work. According to the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), while there were 7 million job openings in the U.S. in December 2018, for example, only 6.3 million unemployed people were searching for employment.

While it appears to be a job seekers market, the opportunities will come to those who have the proper skills.

The Society for Human Resource Management represents 300,000 members in more than 165 countries, making it the world’s largest human resources professional society. Its “2019 State of the Workplace: Exploring the Impact of the Skills Gap and Employment-Based Immigration”  survey found that 83% of respondents had difficulty recruiting suitable candidates in the previous 12 months.

Why U.S.-based human resource managers can’t find suitable candidates

Among the reasons for the difficulty are the facts that:

  • The candidates do not have the right technical skills. (Reported by 35% of respondents.)
  • There was a low number of applicants or a lack of interest in the organization. (Reported by 33% of respondents.)
  • The candidates do not have the right workplace. (soft) skills. (Reported by 30% of respondents.)

While 75% of those with recruiting difficulties feel that applicants lack skills, certain skills – both technical and soft skills – are more in demand than others.

The top three missing technical skills:

  1. Trade skills, including carpentry, machining, welding and plumbing. (Reported by 31% of respondents.)
  2. Data analysis and data science. (Reported by 20% of respondents.)
  3. Science, engineering and medical. (Reported by 18% of respondents.)

The top three missing soft skills:

  1. Problem solving, creativity, innovation and critical thinking. (Reported by 37% of respondents.)
  2. Ability to deal with ambiguity and complexity. (Reported by 32% of respondents.)
  3. Communication. (Reported by 30% of respondents.)

As far as the skills gap, things are getting worse. More than half of the respondents to the SHRM survey reported that the shortage of skills has either worsened or dramatically worsened during the previous two years. Less than 10% found any improvement.

The Society for Human Resource Management’s skills gap survey was completed by 1,028 U.S.-based SHRM members between September 12 and 26, 2018.

The moral of this story

While there are increasing opportunities available for job seekers, those who succeed are the ones who are able to develop both the hard – and soft – skills that will set them apart.

But one must be realistic regarding what can be done and what aspects of one’s personality can be changed. As Marty Nemko a leading thought leader in career counseling, points out in his article, The Malleability Myth, “geneticists are finding: much of who we are is hard-wired.”  And he goes on to say, “I’ve been most successful helping clients find careers and jobs in which their strengths are valued and their weaknesses are of minimal consequence.”

This is good advice for all job hunters. Find the work that fits you. But at the same time do what you can to improve your skills.