Don’t slouch! You’ve heard it a thousand times (usually said by your own mother!). But, did you know it could be costing you your next job? We are often surprised when a really great candidate or former consultant fails his or her interview. But, the real heartbreak comes in when our clients tell us “it was her posture.”
Good posture in an Interview? Really? But, why?
Yes, really. How you sit in an interview tells almost as much about you as the answers you give. Your posture shows whether you are interested and engaged in the conversation. It shows a command of the room. It can show your comfort level or insecurity. Lastly, posture can also indicate how you see yourself compared to others from a respect level.
What is proper interview posture?
All too often, a candidate tells us, “I’m highly interested”, but during the interview, his body language told a different story. But, believe it or not, it may be as simple as sitting up straight. Proper posture includes sitting up, not leaning back or slouching – and hands placed on table in front of you. If you have a notebook, pad, or other note-taking apparatus, these should be placed in front of you. Sitting up erect gives the impression of interest and engagement. It’s also easier to make eye contact and to look around at multiple interviewers without first needing to rearrange your body to accomplish this.
What’s wrong with slouching?
When clients complain about posture, it’s usually more severe than simply leaning back in one’s chair a little. The sloucher or slumper looks like he has either taken the interview too casually – a posture you’d use to sit on your couch with friends, for example – or like he is bored or “over” this. Some hiring managers complain that it seems disrespectful as well. At a minimum, it looks “tired”. Most hiring managers are hiring because they have a lot of work. They are looking for people with the energy to complete this work – and the stamina to complete it all. A tired-appearing, slouching candidate will have a harder time convincing everyone she’s really got the requisite energy level – after all, she’s having trouble even sitting up, right?
Lastly, secure confident people have good posture. It shows a command of the room, and an ability to hold your head high. By comparison, insecure people slouch. They make themselves smaller. They shrink. Or, at least that’s the impression they give. The words that proclaim confidence are less likely to believed by your interviewers when coming from a slouching candidate.
So, sit up straight!
Listen, we’re not going to tell you your mother was right about everything. We all swim within 20 minutes of eating, and figured out that our eyes did not “stay that way”, despite our mother’s warning. But, in this case, it seems like she was on to something. Don’t let your posture keep you from your next opportunity. Shoulders back, feet on ground. Sit up straight, and ace