The Interview - Communication Skills


Personal space

Body language is more important than you might think. Most of the communication people believe is based on body language rather than the actual words said, so it's vital you know how your body language can help you be successful during an interview.

Keeping the right distance between you and the interviewer makes the difference between feeling comfortable and feeling uncomfortable for both of you. 

The normal amount of personal space people need is between 18 inches to 24 inches, this amount of space can be slightly more or slightly less depending on each individual. The way you can tell if you are too close or too far away is to watch the movements of the person you are with.

If you are a little too close you will see the person subtly lean away from you, or shuffle slightly away to increase the amount of space they have until they reach a distance they feel is just right for them. 

We all do this, even when we don't realise we are doing it. Think about a time when someone either stood too close to you or sat too close to you. As soon as you felt a bit of discomfort you moved a little, it may have just felt like adjusting your position for comfort but it was actually to give you the personal space you needed to feel happy with your proximity to the other person.

Give it a go with strangers when you are out, you can test it by asking someone for directions to a place. Stand closer than you feel comfortable with and watch them move slightly away. Stand too far away and watch them take a step toward you. 

Once you have a play with how proximity works you can assess very quickly the space required by the person interviewing you.

Check out CareerBite success factors section on communication for more information on how body language impacts every piece of communication we are involved in.

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