In this digital age, you shouldn’t be all that surprised if your next job or MBA interview is conducted online. This includes of course the video essay questions schools are increasingly requesting.
Don’t think that an online interview — where you and the interviewer can only see one another on the screen of a computer or tablet — will be easier than an in-person interview. You’ll still need to dress to impress, answer the questions posed, and be mindful of your body language.
When it comes to communicating your emotions, body language accounts for 93% while words account for only 7%. So an interviewer could potentially read your body language to determine if you’re being honest when responding to questions about whether you like or dislike certain things.
The last thing you want, after submitting a great resume or application and moving onto the online interview stage, is to mess things up by allowing your body language to contradict your words. So read on to learn about 10 body language tips for your online interview.
1. Uncross Arms: Crossing your arms during the online interview is a no-no since it can be interpreted as defensive by an interviewer. So be mindful of this and, instead of crossing your arms, keep them at your side or rest them on a desk or table if you’re sitting behind one. Uncrossing your arms can also have an added benefit. For example, one study finds that a group of volunteers that went to a lecture and sat with their legs and arms unfolded actually recalled 38% more than another group of volunteers at the same lecture that sat with their legs and arms folded. So unfold those arms in order to recall things you want to ask later on in the interview.
2. Avoid Fidgeting: A survey involving 500 hiring managers representing various industries finds that 26% of respondents say that fidgeting is one of the biggest mistakes that job candidates make. When you are doing your online interview, you don’t want to be moving all over the place. It will not only make you look distracted, but also make you appear overly nervous.
3. Lean In: During the online interview, you should lean in as you are talking since doing so will give the impression that you are engaged in the process and interested in what the interviewer is saying. Of course, you don’t want to do it too much since constant movements can be distracting.
4. Ensure Good Posture: Get your posture in check in order to give a good impression. If you slouch, you’ll look lazy and disinterested. If you lean back, you’ll look cocky. So practice sitting up properly — with your back erect — so that your body language doesn’t do you in.
5. Maintain Eye Contact: Eye contact is important during an online interview. But while you want to establish eye contact, you’ll want to avoid instances where your eye contact is so excessive that it becomes staring. That’ll could make the interviewer, and ultimately yourself, uncomfortable.
6. Avoid Lip Compression: In a very stressful situation, you might automatically resort to lip compression, which refers to pressing your lips together to the point where they almost appear to disappear. Do your best to avoid this since the interviewer might think that you’re perhaps very much stressed and simply want out of the situation.
7. Keep Hands Off Face: If you touch your face, you might give the impression that you’re nervous. Also, face touching can distract the interviewer. It has even been said that face touching is to adults what thumb sucking is to babies. Enough said.
8. Use Hand Gestures: When you’re talking, you can and should use hand gestures to punctuate or emphasize what you’re trying to communicate. You’ll look confident and assertive. Don’t go overboard, though, by making the sort of wild hand gestures that may come off as awkward.
9. Nod Intelligently: Nodding can help you show that you’re following what the interviewer is saying, but doing it too much can come off as disingenuous. So be sure to nod when appropriate to facilitate a dialogue and to show that you are indeed listening, but don’t turn yourself into a human bobble head doll.
10. Mirror: A great way to connect with the interviewer is by mirroring. This happens when, for instance, you match the posture of the person interviewing you. So if the interviewer leans in, you should do it, too. If the interviewer leans back, then follow the cue. What this does is establish a connection and build rapport. But be subtle when mirroring or it will come across as phony.
When it comes time to do your online interview or video essay, you’ll do fine when if you take these tips to heart. For best results, practice your interview skills with a friend or contact Personal MBA Coach to get professional preparation. firstname.lastname@example.org
By Vera Marie Reed
Vera Marie Reed is freelance writer living in Glendale, California. This mother of two specializes in education and parenting content. When she’s not delivering expert advice, you can find her reading, writing, arts, going to museums and doing craft projects with her children.