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5 Body Language “No-Nos” That Can Cost You the Job

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Despite the fact that the Great Recession officially ended more than three years ago, more than 23 million Americans are still in search of a job.

In August, the U.S. employment rate fell from 8.3% to 8.1%. But the U6 rate, the broadest measure of U.S. unemployment that includes part-time workers looking for full-time work and those who have given up looking for a job, sits at 14.7%.

[Related: Jobs Data Disconnect from Consumer Spending, Markets Disconnect from Reality]

While it may be hard to secure full-time employment in this labor market, there are open job positions. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported earlier this month that on the last business day of July there were 3.7 million job openings in this country, which was little unchanged from the previous month.

If you are lucky enough to be called for an interview, "the first impression is absolutely critical," says Dan Burns, career expert and author of The First 60 Seconds: Win The Job Interview Before It Begins. "In many cases the decision to hire a person is made within that first 60 seconds of the time they meet."

The key to a successful job interview, says Burns, is confidence, which comes from proper preparation for the meeting.

He joins The Daily Ticker's Aaron Task in the accompanying interview to discuss the 5 body language "no-nos" that could cost you the job during an interview.

Mistake #1: No Body Language At All

This refers to arriving at the interview on time and in the right frame of mind: cool, calm and collected.

"It seems fairly obvious, but you really need to be at the job interview on time and in the right frame of mind," says Burns. "If it normally takes you 30 minutes to get to the location, then plan for an hour."

Mistake #2: Not Projecting A Professional "Look"

"The person that is doing the interview, they want to see a very clean, professional image," says Burns.

Problem scenarios arise when a job candidate wears inappropriate or ill-fitting clothing, looks disheveled and does not smile, he says.

According to Burns, interviewees cannot look too professional.

"I've never heard of a situation where a someone got turned down for a job because they look too good," he says. "Err on the side of setting yourself apart from everyone else."

Mistake #3: An Ineffective Greeting

While the greeting is over in 10 to 15 seconds, notes Burns, it is a critically important part of the interview process.

The most common problems with an ineffective greeting are not smiling, not making direct eye contact and a weak handshake, he says.

You want to be sure to convey the following with your "hello":

  • Smile: This shows you are happy to be there and meeting the interviewer.

  • Make eye contact: This shows the hiring manager that there is no other place you'd rather be.

  • Give a firm handshake: This will tell the interviewer that you are a professional and confident.

Mistake #4: Conveying Anything But Pure CONFIDENCE

If you are nervous for the interview, "the more you prepare the more confident you are going to be," says Burns. "The more confident you are the more comfortable you'll be in the interview process and you will be able to get across why you are the best person for the job."

His tips for being prepared for the interview include:

  • Understanding the company

  • Understanding the job

  • Being prepared to relate your skills and experience to the job requirements

If you are not confident or prepared, your body language will show it: You may start to lose eye contact, stumble or even sweat.

Mistake #5: Being Distracted in ANY Way

While this may seem like common sense, Burns says interview candidates must still be reminded to turn off their cell phones and other mobile devices during an interview.

Or better yet, leave the device at home or in the car.

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