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Want to seal that deal? Brush up on your body language

30th Mar 2010
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When it come to interviews, those who lack self-belief are being let down by their body language, according to global recruitment firm NES Global.

Since the recession, competition for employment has meant that many people are experiencing continual knock backs, which is consequently shattering their confidence.
To help seal the deal with a prospective employer or client and avoid making a bad first impression, NES has pulled together the top five turn-offs for interviewers:
Limp handshakes – this can suggest a weak character. Firm, but friendly is the best way while making eye contact and saying hello.
Bad posture – avoid sitting slumped in your chair as it gives the impression of low self-esteem or even disinterest.  Sit upright to indicate you’re feeling comfortable and confident.  Lean forward slightly indicating you are focused and interested.
Avoiding eye contact – this can convey dishonesty, especially when being asked a question. Appropriate eye contact is vital and will depend on whether you are speaking or listening. As a listener, you should initiate more eye contact and hold it for longer periods of time. When talking, hold eye contact for the first five to ten seconds then break off and reconnect intermittently.
Voice – interview nerves will naturally quicken your pace when talking and can also make your voice higher pitched than normal, undermining your authority.  To control this, deliberately speak slowly.  Concentrate on enunciating each word and you will achieve a normal speed. A clear and controlled voice is easier to understand and conveys assurance.
Misreading the signs – don’t forget an interview is a two-way process. Remember to read your interviewer's body language and listen carefully to their questions.Non-verbalclues indicating fiddling with hands and losing eye contact could mean the interviewer is bored.  If this happens, wrap up what you're saying and move on.  Leaning toward you means the interviewer is listening and taking you seriously. However, leaning back can indicate you're being evaluated critically.
Commenting on the findings, Sarah Taylor, associate director at NES, said: “It’s important that candidates stay positive and enthusiastic as negative body language could lead to bad first impressions in interviews.” She added; “According to research, when meeting someone for the first time, what you say only accounts for seven per cent of the message conveyed, 55% is how you look and 38% is down to your body language and tone of voice.” 
Taylor reflects further that; “Candidates could be saying all the right things in an interview, but if their body language does not reflect this, the interviewer is more likely to read the non-verbal message.”
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