Online interviews are now a standard stage in the majority of recruitment processes and while many people feel quite at ease in this once-unfamiliar form of interaction, we still see the same mistakes made.
Body language really can ‘make or break’ an interview – and this goes just as much for online as in-person. Research suggests that as much of 55% of our communication is down to body language alone and a mere 7% is down to the spoken words we choose to use.
It’s therefore fair to deduce that focusing on how you say things is even more important than what you say.
The good news is, with a bit of self-awareness and practice, the most common mistakes can easily be avoided.
Here are three vital components of body language which you need to watch out for:
Good eye contact demonstrates confidence and is also a sign of respect. To ensure that you’re making eye contact during a video call, place your laptop or webcam close to eye level. We often see candidates appear like they are looking down, when in reality, they are looking directly at their interviewer on the screen.
When you’re answering the interviewer’s questions, look directly into the camera. This will help convey the same type of eye contact you would if you were doing an in-person interview. It’s okay to glance down at your screen to check for facial reactions, but be sure to make it a quick glance before focusing back on the camera lens.
To make a good impression, want to make sure you’re sitting up straight and you aren’t fidgeting.
Sitting up straight projects confidence, while slouching will just make you look disengaged.
Fidgeting, either with your hands or swinging in your chair, indicates nerves. It’s OK to feel nervous – it’s probably a good sign that you want the job - but just be aware of any bad habits which may have formed from nerves, as your future employer wants to see self-awareness.
Don’t fold your arms, either – this looks very defensive! Keep your shoulders strong but relaxed, as any rounding may indicate timidity.
If you get uncomfortable at any point, then it’s OK to shift positions once or twice but try and keep that to a minimum.
Ultimately, an online interview should flow like a natural conversation, so gesticulating through smiling and nodding in agreement is a good thing. These behaviours demonstrate effective listening skills and help build rapport. However, it’s better keep things natural - a gentle nod is better than an overly enthusiastic one, and smiles must never be forced. It will be obvious if you are trying too hard!