Can science stop you fidgeting in your next job interview?

Can science stop you fidgeting in your next job interview?

Got a job interview coming up? You need to choose your body language as carefully as you choose your words…

As research into how the body communicates grows in sophistication and depth, we are beginning to unearth and challenge many body language myths. For instance, certain movements such as avoiding eye contact or fidgeting have come to be understood as indicative of deception, as they distract from a fib. But fidgeting can also act as a pacifier or comforting technique to help relieve stress. This presents a problem; when a criminal is lying, they will fidget. When an innocent is nervous because they are being accused of lying, they will fidget*. So how can the hopeful jobseeker avoid this?

We’ve looked to academic research to find out how to make sure your body is saying the right thing:

Power Posing

The 10,000+ expressions which human beings can recognise in each other are difficult to control, so the expression of the confidence which leads to interview success has to come from within. A job interview is one of the few social situations in which there is a huge power asymmetry, as the interviewer has complete control over your future. So successful job interviews are all about preparatory power.

This is where power posing can help.

In a recent TED Talk, social psychologist Amy Cuddy explored the value of standing in a powerful position for two minutes before entering a job interview. Her goal was to see if ‘power posing’ could free people from the psychological constraints that stop them from performing to their full potential. Her research showed that this releases more testosterone (the dominance hormone), and reduces your levels of cortisol (the stress hormone).

Find somewhere you can be alone before your interview, such as the loo or a waiting room, and try holding one of these positions for just two minutes before going in:

You will find that the sense of power this will send through your body will come across to your interviewer, making you seem 86% more confident and more hireable!

Not specific enough for you? You can read our Comprehensive Interview Body Language Guide here, which includes head-to-toe instruction on how to come across in the best possible way.

*Navarro, Joe/Karlins, Martin. What Every Body Is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent’s Guide to Speed Reading People. William Morrow Paperbacks, 2008.