Sounds familiar? The good news is you're not alone. Other candidates will be feeling the same way. Being nervous is natural and a sign you care. Some would even argue that the rush of adrenaline that makes you feel this way is essential preparation for your body putting on a winning performance.
And a winning performance is what is needed to land that job. Your appearance and how you present yourself will determine how well you do. Research shows that first impressions are based 55% on body language and only 7% on the content of what you say. Follow our guide:
Interviews - The Right Body Language
Self expression through what we wear is important but in an interview we have to dress appropriately. Always dress in a business like manner even if your job will allow casual dress or involve a uniform. To do otherwise suggest you couldn't be bothered and have little respect for the interviewer and organisation.
Make sure your clothes are clean and pressed and that you're fresh as a daisy. Don't forget the deodorant! If you are wearing perfume or aftershave make sure it's not too overpowering.
It's important to come across as a confident person. The employer wants to hire someone that is competent and believes in what they're saying.
Before you walk into the room tell yourself that you're going to come across as 'confident, enthusiastic and positive'. Visualise yourself this way and ensure your body language reflects it by standing tall and having a good posture.
Always shake the interviewer's hand and ensure you do so with confidence. The offering of a limp hand is horrid and suggests a person of little substance. But equally trying to break someone's bones is not advisable. Offer a firm positive handshake, maintaining good eye contact and a positive greeting.
Interview etiquette says you should not sit until invited to do so. If there are several chairs to choose from, opt for the one that faces opposite the interviewer.
Sit squarely on the seat, sitting upright and leaning slightly forward to show your alertness and interest.
Maintain good eye contact with the interviewer. Staring blankly into space even if you are desperately trying to come up with something to say suggests you're bored. Be careful not to stare though, you'll make the other person feel uncomfortable.
Professionally you should keep your eyes on an imaginary triangle between the eyes and the forehead. Do not be tempted to look any further South as this constitutes a more intimate gaze. They might get the wrong impression even if you are checking out that amazing spot on their chin.
If there is more than one interviewer then follow this general rule. Always look directly at the interviewer that is talking to you. When they've finished asking you a question, answer their question looking directly at them with an occasional glance towards the other interviewer to keep them involved.
Try and maintain good eye contact with both interviewers shifting your gaze throughout the interview. Bit like following a ping pong game (only we'd advise much, much slower).
Remember that the interviewer will be looking for someone that fits into their organisation and that others will get on with. So smile when the opportunity presents itself. If you are going for a job that is customer facing, smiling and a positive outlook are essential.
Adopting an open and honest stance
Adopt an open stance both standing and sitting. This means you shouldn't fold your arms or cross your legs as it suggests a defensive attitude.
Constant clicking of your pen top or bouncing of leg will irritate your interviewer and get you fast tracked out of the room. If you find it difficult to sit still then channel your energy positively by using your hands to emphasise what you're saying. Politicians use this technique to good effect. But be careful not to look like an air traffic controller.
Mirroring the Interviewer
Some studies suggest mirroring a person's body language to build rapport. Word of caution, this method involves a certain amount of skill; subtlety is the name of the game.
Portraying a good attitude
Everybody is interested in hiring people with a good, positive attitude. You can portray yourself as having a positive attitude by your facial expressions, nodding affirmatively and by uttering some positive exclamations when somebody speaks.
Most of us without even thinking adopt most of the body language tips suggested above. But it helps to remind ourselves of their importance. Practice in the mirror or by incorporating into your daily life and you'll be amazed at the results.
But most of all be yourself, be natural.
View more with our body language effects on business