Interview Tips: stand up and be counted


Waiting room chairs and sofas are there to provide a comfortable, usually over-cushioned spot for the visitor to rest while waiting. Many people “settle” or seek refuge in the furniture. You may be nervous. If so, you may go further and further back into the chair or sofa, perhaps using is as a “cave” to comfort or protect you while you wait. If you are interviewing, you’ll discover that standing up to greet someone when they arrive can be a less than graceful fluid motion as you may have to “hoist” yourself from deep inside the cushioned seat. Also, you start out “below” the other person, rather than as their equal.

When you are waiting for an interview whether it is in an office, Starbucks, or restaurant, keep standing. It shows respect. In an office situation look at any art on the walls, talk with the receptionist (if they are not busy) or even stand as you look at the magazines, annual reports, etc.  If you stay standing, you are using more energy than you do sitting, and you might be less nervous when you actually meet the person. Watch out for body swaying, side to side rocking, weight shifting or foot tapping, if you tend to “leak” energy in those disconcerting methods. If the Starbucks or restaurant is crowded or you are otherwise encouraged to wait sitting at a table, sit facing the door, so you can spot the other person and stand up immediately. Stay standing until you shake hands and the other person sits down.

Another time to stay standing is when you are talking on the phone  during a call setting up the interview or the interview itself.. Standing enables you to open up your diaphragm, so your voice sounds confident.  It will add a  touch of professionalism and, perhaps, even a sense of control or power, which can soothe your nerves. If you are at home, get dressed for the call. The interview done in your P.J.’s may end up sounding a tad too relaxed.

Against all odds, we humans are bi-pedal creatures and most of us are able to stand on our own two feet. Our bodies have evolved (including having the spinal cord enter the skull near the center of our cranium – inspiring perhaps the concept of being “level headed”)  to give us an advantage over chimps who can only walk on two legs for short distances. So why not use this advantage to our benefit. Stand up and show respect; show that you are confident!

Article by Peggy Wallace, founder, Making Conversation

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