From greeting the receptionist upon your arrival to the trip out of the building to the parking lot, body language will speak wonders to hiring managers and potential co-workers. Interviews don’t just start in the hiring manager’s office. They start as soon as those front tires hit the parking lot.
Your resume is perfect, no spelling errors and no apostrophes in the wrong places. You spent the night before searching the company and even looked up the people you’ll be interviewing with on LinkedIn, just to make sure you know their titles and can recognize them from across the lobby.
The Wait: As you enter the building, it’s game on. Make eye contact and smile with everyone you meet. Make sure you know the first and last name of the person you’ll be meeting. Greet the receptionist with sincere friendliness. Many hiring leads won’t hesitate to ask the reception about your behavior.
In the Lobby: Sit up straight. Regardless of comfortable the lobby seating might be, don’t sit like you’re in your own living room. Don’t chew on your fingernails or put on makeup or play Words with Friends. Small talk with the receptionist is fine, but don’t monopolize his or her time if they’re busy.
The Handshake: Make eye contact. Extend your arm all the way out and don’t be afraid to be the first to do so. Don’t break someone’s hand, but make sure your hand is more than a limp fish. Do your best to keep your hand dry.
In the Interview: Sit up straight. Don’t wave your hands in the air like you just don’t care when you talk. A little hand movement is fine, but you don’t want the interviewer to think they might be in danger of losing an eye. Gesture normally. Match the talking style of your interview in volume and rate. Try not to switch positions frequently and don’t fidget, but don’t sit on your hands to keep you from drumming on the chair. Issue some self-control.
Ending the Interview: Thank your interviewer for their time. Tell them enjoyed meeting them and learning more about the role. Bring up a personal connection if you made one earlier in the interview. End things with another handshake and eye contact.
Departing the Premises: Thank the receptionist on your way out. Keep it together as you leave. Maintain the professional posture. Don’t immediately text your mom to tell her how well it went. Even into the parking lot, hold on to that professional demeanor. Not until you’re in your car and out of the parking lot is when it’s okay to pump your fists and celebrate or (hopefully not) curl into a ball and cry.
Even if you don’t get the job, the person that interviewed you will still remember you as someone with poise and professionalism, perhaps making you an option for another position that might open up soon.