Role of Gestures in Personal Interview

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Given the scenario, where the demand for seats in coveted MBA institutes far exceeds the supply, the scope to err is negligible.Also,the job market has undergone drastic change and requires professionals,who are confident, presentable and in control of their mind and body to face the global world.This is reflected in the MBA interview as well,as the interviewer scrutinises every gesture of the aspirant minutely because this reveals a lot about the personality of the candidate. Therefore,how one conducts oneself is as important as what one says.

An interview,generally,offers a high pressure situation,which makes even the best and most calm people act in ways contrary to their normal self.The pressure of securing a seat,the stress of losing out,the unpredictability of the questions,the fear of competition,is so tremendous that one ceases to be conscious about one's body movements and ends up revealing one's anxiety.This damages the chances of selection.

In an MBA interview,the aspirant is not only judged by his qualifications,skills or knowledge but also his attitude,behaviour,professionalism and so on.This is where gestures play a defining role in impressing the panellists and giving you an edge.An appropriate gesture used at the right time can impact verbal communication positively and make it more effective.For instance,a handshake at the beginning and the end, wearing a smile throughout the interview,sitting straight,nodding your head to show involvement and looking confident, enhance the impact of words and create a positive impression in the mind of the panellists.The idea is to impress upon the panellists that you value the opportunity and are deserving of the seat.

Things to avoid doing:
  • Stop fidgeting, tapping your feet, twirling your hair-conveys a negative impression
  • Don't lean back on the chair-suggests lack of interest;leaning forward can be problematic too-can be interpreted as too friendly or even threatening posture
  • Don't stare-can be mistaken for aggression
  • Don't look down or at the wall-signifies lack of confidence
  • Avoid pointing with a finger-rude
  • Don't fumble
  • Avoid uttering too many fillers, such as 'um','like','you know' and so on
  • Hand should not be in pockets,behind your back or in front of your chest

Things to do:
  •  Firm but not forceful handshake grip in the beginning and the end
  • Should appear approachable
  • Should smile and be warm
  • Should maintain neutral posture;sit straight
  • Listen attentively
  • Maintain eye contact with the interviewer
  • Use your hand, fingers sparingly to back your words. Too much use of hand will distract the interviewer
  • Nod your head to show involvement and interest
  • Be spontaneous
One of the simplest ways to control one's gestures is by breathing (long breaths). Not only does breathing help ease the anxiety and fear but also helps in recollecting the thoughts and regain our composure. Also, mock interviews can be used to sync our body movements with our mind.

Thus, it is unwise to underestimate the value of gestures. They go a long way in establishing your credentials and creating a favourable opinion.
 
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