Have you been on an endless string of unsuccessful interviews? It may be that your nervous habits are standing between you and gainful employment. Everyone has their own set of quirks, and if you are like most people, you may not even notice them unless someone points it out. This is why it is important to be aware of your actions and hold a mock interview with someone you trust so that your interviewing partner can point out if you exhibit any of these nervous habits that could be keeping you from getting hired.
- Shaking and bouncing your leg. When you go in for an interview, you could be full of jittery, nervous energy. Yet, while you can keep yourself composed for the most part, your leg may suddenly begin bouncing or shaking violently as a means for your body to deal with the excess amount of nervous or restless energy you may be feeling. This looks unprofessional, as your actions could be distracting the hiring manager from giving his or her full attention to you. The next time you find your leg beginning to bounce, plant both of your feet firmly on the floor. You decrease your chances of involuntary leg movement when both of your feet are flat on the floor, which will allow you to focus all of your attention on impressing the hiring manager instead of keeping an eye on your legs.
- Playing with your hair. This nervous habit is more common in women, who typically have longer hair than men in the professional workplace. Twirling or stroking the loose tendrils around your face, or even repeatedly tucking your hair behind your ear, can come off as juvenile and immature. One of the best ways to combat this habit is to wear your hair up and away from your face and hands during your interview. A sleek or loose bun could do the trick, or if you would rather leave your hair down, you can just make sure that your hands remain clasped in your lap during the interview.
- Not making eye contact. When you are uncomfortable, you may find it difficult to make eye contact with the person who is speaking to you. However, when you are in an interview, letting your eyes roam around and never settling on your interviewer can imply that you are untrustworthy. Eye contact is important to establish a firm connection and trust between you and the interviewer. While you certainly do not want to stare at the interviewer for the entire interview, it is important that you make eye contact regularly. Practice interviewing in front of a mirror and maintain eye contact with your reflection. Then, hold a mock interview with a friend and practice holding eye contact. By the time you go in for your actual interview, establishing eye contact should be easy.
- Talking too fast or too loud. Rushing out your responses to questions is a common nervous habit, but you need to take a deep breath and slow your words down. An interviewer needs to be able to understand what you are saying, and if you speak too fast, you could risk having your responses go completely over the interviewer’s head. The next time you find yourself rushing out your words, slow them down and control the pace at which you are speaking. You do not want to plod your answers along, but you do want your words to be intelligible. By the same token, some people may react to nervous energy by amping up their speaking volume. If you find yourself doing this, relax your facial muscles. You can take in a few discreet deep breaths through your nose and loosen your jaw. As the muscles in your face and neck relax, your speaking volume should go back down to a normal level.
- Fidgeting with your hands. You want the interviewer to listen to what you have to say, but this can be difficult if you are constantly fidgeting with something in your hands. Whether you are constantly twisting the cap to a water bottle or drumming your fingers or otherwise nervously moving your hands around, you could risk being seen as lacking in confidence or professionalism. To keep them still, keep your hands folded in your lap and do not let them move from that position unless the situation demands it. This way, you will not find yourself unconsciously popping your fingers or playing with the paperclip holding your resume together instead of paying attention to the interviewer.
- Frowning or furrowing your brows. Your facial expression says a lot to the hiring manager. If you look pleasant and happy, then the interviewer is much more likely to think that you truly desire the job and are excited to interview about it. Conversely, if you are frowning or look otherwise moody, you may not seem as agreeable. When you are nervous, your facial expression may show it in a variety of ways. It is important that you realize what expression you are wearing so that you can ensure that you are not scowling for the entire interview. Interview with a friend and ask afterwards what type of expression you had on during the interview. If you find out that you tend to look agitated or unhappy, work on holding a pleasant smile on your face while you interview.
Nervous habits can be difficult to get rid of, but with plenty of practice, you can make sure that when you finally go to your job interview, the hiring manager will see you and not just your nervous tics. To learn more about quitting nervous habits, visit this article posted on LiveScience.
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