The key to landing the job you want doesn’t always come down to having a perfectly constructed cover letter or even emphasizing your impressive qualifications. It might sound superficial, but it often comes down to your posture.
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It might sound like a cliche, but first impressions really do matter. Often the first 15 to 20 seconds you spend with your job interviewer determines if you will be hired, according to a recent Wall Street Journal article.
At Stanford, Professor Deborah Gruenfeld is teaching a class for MBA candidates called “Acting with Power.” She teaches her students to convey confidence and status by using posture and non-verbal signals.
Students are taught to make themselves a fortress, sitting with their feet apart and back straight to make themselves look big. She works with students on maintaining eye contact. She also coaches them to answer questions with a straight face, as opposed to a nervous smile. Keeping your cool shows the interviewer you’re professional and confident.
Some students complain they feel they’re losing their authenticity by acting with excessive confidence in an interview, but Gruenfeld argues not acting with confidence is a form of acting too. Children are taught to be submissive to elders and women are taught to cross their legs as a sign of femininity.
There’s a reason why hiring managers put so much emphasis in body language. They aren’t just hiring you for your qualifications and skills, they are also hiring the person, a recent Forbes article explained.
“Interview body language mistakes may tell the hiring manager that you’re flippant, scared or passive,” Patti Wood, a body language expert, told Forbes. “If you’re under-qualified or you say the wrong thing, the interviewer can forgive that, but if your body language says you’re a person who doesn’t work well in stressful situations or that you’re not confident, that’s something they know they can’t change.”
So keep that back straight, eyes locked in and speak like they would be crazy not to hire you. It really does matter.
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