Whether the role that you have your eye on is in R&D, quality assurance
or such a specific field as pharmacology or molecular biology, there's one
challenge that you will almost certainly have to face: the job interview.
You might think that a great interview performance in front
of a recruitment team is all about what you say, but actually, what you do is
hardly any less important.
It's something that a prospective employer will begin to
judge as soon as you step into the interview room - that's right, before you
even say anything.
Getting your eye
Eye contact with the interviewer is one of the most
important things to incorporate into your body language, as it signals that you
are interested in and paying attention to them.
However, there's an art to getting eye contact right. Relentlessly
fixing your eyes to those of the interviewer right through your exchange may be
unsettling or even make you look blank and uninterested.
Instead, go for what body language expert Dr Lillian Glass
calls "direct face contact", whereby every two seconds, you look at a
different part of the interviewer's face, rotating from their eyes, to their
nose, to their lips.
Using your head is
Combining the aforementioned eye and face contact with the
occasional nodding of your head further indicates your attentiveness and
understanding of what the interviewer is saying.
Such nods can be further complemented with smiling at
appropriate moments and laughing when the interviewer does, all of which helps
to show your personality.
Try to resist interrupting the interviewer, and when it's
your turn to speak, maintain an even and polite tone of voice that is neither
overly soft and timid, nor too loud and domineering.
Strike the right pose
Where many candidates for jobs fail in achieving the right
body language is not getting their overall body posture right.
There's a big difference, for instance, between the leaning
forward that we all naturally do when we are engaged in a conversation, and the
slouching that simply makes you look uninterested. To achieve the former, lean
only slightly forward, with your chest high but your shoulders back and down.
Again, much of achieving the right overall body language is
all about balance. It's a good idea, for instance, to gently mimic the positive
body language of your interviewer, such as a subtle nod or posture change.
Matching their handshake works well too, but an overly firm
handshake can suggest arrogance, while a weak one may indicate someone who is
Body language is an in-depth field that we cannot possibly
cover comprehensively here. Nonetheless, these basic rules should help you to improve
your interview technique when competing for the most sought-after jobs.