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“Hi, it’s so great to finally meet you in person! Would you like some water before we begin?”
It’s a seemingly simple question, though many interviewees have pondered its true meaning. It’s polite to accept an offer, but would saying yes cause the interviewer to go out of their way? Is this a test? What if you’re actually thirsty?
There seems to be no easy answer. Some companies do offer water as a test, giving candidates a disposable cup for the interview. If the employee doesn’t throw away the cup after using it, the company won’t view them as a good fit. Others say that interviewers are just being polite in their offer, and don’t actually want to provide the candidate with water.
At Betts, we believe that this conundrum can be solved straightforwardly: take the water if you’re thirsty, and don’t if you’re not. Interviews don’t have to feel like tests, so here are six painless hacks to make interviews flow more smoothly.
1. Invest in some Trident
Chewing gum before an interview can do wonders to relieve stress, and a study in the UK found that indulging in gum resulted in lowered stress levels among workers. It can also work to improve memory and focus, which is helpful if you want to remember all your talking points prior to an interview.
Just be sure to spit out your gum before you meet your interviewer!
2. Why so serious?
Smile! Sometimes during interviews, it can be easy to forget to look inviting. Flashing a genuine grin every once in a while encourages people to like you, and it also has the wonderful benefit of relaxing your brain. Smiling sends a message to your brain, telling it that you’re safe and happy, which is important since your nerves are likely off the charts during an interview.
The key word here, however, is genuine. Try to avoid forcing smiles too often, because the interviewer will probably catch that you’re faking it.
3. Mirror, mirror, on the wall
Ever wonder why people tend to hang out with friends that look and act like them? It’s because we are socially wired to enjoy the company of people who are similar to ourselves. This is important to remember during an interview.
There are two ways to convince your interviewer that you are similar to them. Either mimic their body language (in a way that doesn’t resemble the Shadow game from Full House), or find common ground with them. Look them up on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter, and see if you share any interests. And don’t feel awkward for lurking on their profiles, they’ve definitely already done it to yours.
4. Hands where I can see ‘em!
Try your best to keep your palms open towards your interviewer. Doing this shifts your body into an open posture, which allows others to be more comfortable around you and makes you appear to be more confident.
If showing your palms feels awkward, instead form your hands into a loose, upside down triangle (known as the reverse steeple), and rest it gently upon the table. This shows confidence, but does not come across as arrogant.
5. My eyes are up here
A common complaint amongst interviewers is that candidates often avoid making eye contact. This results in shifty eyes, which can signal that you’re lying, even though you’re likely just nervous. Make a conscious effort to hold eye contact for slightly longer than you would normally. Just don’t creep them out by trying to see who will blink first.
6. Channel your inner Frank Underwood
In her amazing Ted Talk, Amy Cuddy discusses the importance of being conscious of our own body language and how it influences ourselves, rather than those around us. Her research team conducted a study to find out whether or not our bodies can affect our minds. They found that posing in a typically powerful stance (making oneself bigger) for just 2 minutes resulted in a 20% increase in testosterone and a 25% decrease in cortisol, allowing the test subjects to feel powerful, confident, and less stressed. On the contrary, posing in a weaker stance (making oneself smaller) for 2 minutes resulted in a 10% decrease in testosterone and a 15% increase in cortisol. These test subjects ended up feeling less powerful, nervous, and more stressed.
This is important information for those heading into interviews. Amy suggests power stancing for 2 minutes before interviews, presentations, and other high stress, high performance situations. Do this by standing like Wonder Woman, Frank Underwood, or Beyoncé.
Avoid power stancing in front of your interviewer, though, or things could get weird.
Job interviews are nearly never easy, but these tips might make the process a little less stressful. If you’re on the job hunt and want to practice your interviewing skills, click here to connect with a Betts recruiter today!