A Conversation for Interview Techniques
The Face - Advice from an actor
Marlowe Started conversation Oct 1, 2000
Okay. I have formal training in drama and theatre (and not just western drama - the indian and japanese theatre can reveal a suprising amount about posturing and ritual gesticulation). Here's my twopennethworth on the subject of so-called "body-language", as it pertains to job interviews.
First, and most important of all, preperation. Before your interview, try to visual yourself as your prospective employers will see you. This isn't easy, but be honest with yourself. If you're ugly as sin, admit it. It makes a difference, like it or not. Now, you need to practice doing The Face. I give it capital letters because it's very, very important, and because I have a healthily over-inflated sense of my own importance. Stand in front of a mirror and look yourself in the eye. Srike an expression that you would describe as "neutral". Don't think too much about this, just do it. Now turn your mouth up at the corners just a little bit. Raise your eyebrows a fraction. Open your eyes just a little wider. Life your chin up, and be sure that your head is straight and in line with your spine. If you're one of the 30% or so of people who's bottom lip protrudes a few milimtres furthur than your top lip, make an active effort to pull it back - a jutting lower lip sugests an aggressive and unreasoning nature and a low IQ (think Neandethal, and you'll see where I'm coming from. Cruel, but true). Okay. Done all that? Good. Hold it. This is the natural expression that your face should fall into during your interview. Your shoulders should be back and your legs should not be too far apart (for a man) or crossed lightly (for a woman). Now that you've got into this position, what I'm about to tell you next won't make musch sense: Relax. Even though holding your face like this may feel alien and unnatural, you must give the impression that this is how you approach life each day. If you look constipated, all our hard work was for nothing. You really need to practice this expression until it comes naturally. It's a great tool to have in everyday life as well as in an interview situation. Try it out - you'll be suprised how quickly it will put most people at their ease. Remember to hold eye contact for a fraction of a second longer than feels comfortable - don't stare, but don't feel as if you have to apologise for looking at someone. If you're English, this will probably be a tremendous problem. We're naturally submissive people who feel that we're probably at error in any given social situation. Again, cruel but true.
During the interview itself, try to be natural. Don't use the time the interviewer is talking to you to prepare your next answer - if you haven't been listening attentivly, it'll be blindingly obvious. Punctuate any long speeches by your interviewer with very slight nods of the head (particularly the "let me tell you a little about what we do here ..." speech - the interviewer knows this by heart, and so is far more interested in your reaction to it) all the while maintaining eye contact. If you are being interviewed by more than one person, switch your attention periodically. It's good practice to address your remarks to one interviewer only if he or she has just asked you a direct question, but don't turn you back on the rest, or obstruct their view of your torso (Apparantly this is a tribal, combatitive thing. If you can see someone's head and torso, you can see the most vulnerable areas. This makes you want to trust them. Good, eh? That's why your handshake should always be with an open, relaxed palm. No hidden daggers, see?) Try to give the impression that you're glad the interviewer asked that particular question, because the answer is something that you've meaning to mention anyway. Don't lie. Don't even think about it. Don't even bend the truth. If you're asked something along the lines of "Do you have any qualifications in the area of ostrich farming?", your answer, without hesitation, should be something like "Actually, no I don't. I have to confess that this is a relatively new area for me. Having said that, I'm intrigued by ostrich farming, and I'm anxious to become involved in the profession." Unless you're an an amatuer ostrich keeper, of course, in which case you're laughing.
Eye contact (The Face - Advice from an actor)
Mardi Gra Posted Oct 22, 2000
If you have difficulty holding eye contact, try looking at your interviewer's ear. If they are more than a metre away, they won't be able to tell.
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