Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Body Lanuage in Job Interviews: What to be Aware of


You’re preparing for an interview (or maybe several). You’ve read up on the latest tips, and you’ve been rehearsing your answers to the most common interview questions. Maybe you’ve even done some research on the company you’re interviewing with, and you’ve come up with a few questions of your own.

In your research, though, did you think much about body language? It’s common for job seekers to focus on what they’re saying with words, but even seasoned candidates think less about what they’re saying with their bodies.

You can send many messages with your posture, your hands, and your face. What should you be aware of during your job interviews?

Your Hands and Arms

Some people complain about not knowing what to do with their hands during job interviews. Some people will hold pens; others will cross their arms or clasp their hands, simply because they don’t know what else to do.

At the other end of the spectrum, you have people who gesticulate wildly—their hands are everywhere as they illustrate every point they make with hand gestures.

It’s important to be aware of what you’re doing with your hands, because you don’t want to be caught at either extreme. Folding your arms could make you appear judgmental or nervous. And holding a pen might seem like a great idea—until you start playing with it.

Similarly, doing too much with your hands is a problem. While most experts agree some gesticulation is a good thing, too much may make you seem overdramatic. Pay attention to how much talking you do with your hands.

Your Posture

How do you usually sit in job interviews? Are you rigidly upright, or do you tend to slump or slouch in your chair? Do you cross your legs, or prop your ankle up over your knee? All of these different postures say something about you. The question is if they’re communicating what you want to say to your interviewers.

Most people recommend sitting up straight and well back in your chair. However, this might seem too formal for some; you might look uncomfortable or nervous. On the other hand, slouching could indicate you feel a little too comfortable—or that you’re bored or not interested in the job.

Try to find a natural sitting position in which you feel comfortable without slouching. A slight forward lean can communicate interest and confidence.

Your Face

You may not know exactly how expressive you are; relatively few people spend a lot of time talking to themselves in front of a mirror or a camera. But human beings are incredibly expressive—and most people express a lot through their faces. Some people are more expressive than others, but happiness, sadness, and anger all show plainly on your face.

Much like hand gestures, you want to use facial expressions moderately. Smiling, naturally and genuinely, says “I’m friendly” and helps your interviewers feel more at ease. A stony facial expression throughout the interview might say you’re cold and standoffish, but smiling too much can also be off-putting.

Practise in front of a mirror to see how you’re using facial expressions to accompany your words.

Your Feet

Do you cross your legs or ankles? Do you tap your toes or swing your foot to and fro in an interview? Sometimes, this kind of fidgeting is a result of nervousness—but it can also look like impatience or boredom. Do you really want your interviewer to think you’re tapping your foot because you want to get out of the interview as soon as you can?

Try to pay attention to what you do with your feet during an interview. While you may not think the interviewer will notice, it could be distracting—and more noticeable than you think.
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Author: Howard Gang. He is the Branch Manager of Design Group Staffing in Markham, Ontario. With over 30 years of electronics design and manufacturing experience, Howard has held a variety of progressive positions including product design engineering, program management, business development and executive level leadership roles where he influenced company strategy and direction.

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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

To Keep Interviews Engaging, Use Plenty of Eye Contact


A number of years ago, I was trying hard to get support for an undertaking at work. When I finally got a meeting with a key stakeholder, I was determined to make the best of it.

I arrived at the senior vice president’s office prepared to capture and hold her attention. We sat at a coffee table in the corridor of the busy office, and I thought at first this was a good thing. She would probably be more relaxed here, I reasoned.

I didn’t realize she would be distracted by the many suppliers, clients, and executives walking past. It was like a having a meeting at a circus.

Five minutes into our meeting, I noticed the VP’s gaze shift from my eyes to somewhere over my shoulder. Without thinking, I turned around to see what caught her eye. It was her boss. I thought nothing of it, but when I turned back to the VP, she looked a little embarrassed for the disruption. Despite her best efforts, it happened again. That time, I tried something different: I redoubled my efforts to make eye contact, leaning slightly forward. A surprising thing happened: The VP shifted in her seat, adjusted her glasses, and fixed her eye contact on me. It was like she was saying, “Sorry, I have been rude. It will not happen again.”

While an entire book could be written on the subject of eye contact, today’s article is limited to how we can use eye contact to get and keep someone’s attention.

The Power of Eye Contact

We can feel it when people are looking at us, even from across the room. If someone raises their eyebrows in surprise (or delight) as they look at us, we subconsciously take it as a cue that they want to engage. When we want to go unnoticed, we’ll only glance at someone, usually sidelong. A longer stare is generally a strong indicator that we want to register our presence with the person we are gazing at.

The placement of your gaze on someone can say a lot about your intentions:

1. When you’re all business, your gaze will tend to form a triangle from the eyes to the forehead.

2. Turning the triangle down from the eyes to the mouth signals friendship.

3. Extending the triangle from the eyes down to the chest will indicate romantic intentions – or creepy ones, depending on the context.

You can certainly get someone’s attention by glaring at them, or staring at them when they look away, or staring at them when their eyes meet yours – but all that staring gets off-putting fast. So, just how much eye contact is recommended?

Generally, I say that 70 percent is the sweet spot – that is, maintaining eye contact for 7 seconds out of every 10. While you’re listening, you can increase that to 90 percent. While you’re talking, 50 percent should be plenty. It is very natural to look away while formulating your thoughts and then make eye contact to confirm you are being heard and understood.

As in all aspects of communication, variation keeps it interesting. Occasionally breaking eye contact is one way to bring some variation, but there is more you can do as well. For example, expressions like narrowing your eyes in concentration and widening them in surprise can change things up a bit.

Our expressions are usually congruent with the idea we’re discussing, and they generally occur naturally. However, in a recent workshop, a client told me they didn’t have expression in their eyes when they spoke. This is not unusual. Some people are just not that expressive. I advised this client to practice eye gestures that were congruent with what they were saying – e.g., if recalling information, shift your gaze upward; if formulating a thought, look down. This type of “avoidance” actually makes eye contact more interesting, which helps to keep the conversation engaging.

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Author: Anthony Awerbuch is a certified body language trainer and an expert in facial expression identification. You can contact him at anthony@bodylanguageonpurpose.com.




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Wednesday, May 03, 2017

4 Tips for Computer Eye Strain Relief




1. To ease eye strain, make sure you use good lighting and sit at a proper distance from the computer screen.

2. Take frequent breaks. During your computer breaks, stand up, move about and stretch your arms, legs, back, neck and shoulders to reduce tension and muscle fatigue.

3. During breaks, splash water on your face while closing your eyes. This has an overall relaxing effect and helps you feel refreshed.

4. Use re-wetting eye drops. You can use re-wetting eye drops as and when required. Avoid eye drops with preservatives.

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