You’ve practiced all the formula for acing the interview. You are rest assured that the interviewer or panel of interviewers would be amazed at your awesome responses.

You’ve learnt how to answer all the tough and naughty common questions that have been pitfalls to teeming job seekers. You’ve even gone far to practice and rehearse your answers with your friends and in front of a mirror. Tell me about yourself; what is your greatest strength, your most disappointing experience, your greatest weakness, where you see yourself in 5 years…Why should we hire you?

Bla bla bla…

Yes. You feel on top of the world, ‘I am the perfect man for the job’, you sighed.

I have a bad news for you.

You may not be hired!

Yes! You may be fired for some unnoticed habits you display in the presence of your interviewer. Here is a list of 3 unnoticed gestures that may hinder you from getting hired

1. Messing around with your hand

It is true that even the most confident persons display some bit of stage fright. We’ve been told how getting hold of a pen or holding our hands can help us maintain our confidence during interview. It is however uncommon that some persons go beyond the ordinary unnoticed. And in the quest to get their hand on something they mess around with their hands that it becomes irritating to the interviewer.

I attended an interview few days ago. I was happy as I carefully responded to all the questions thrown at me and, at the end of the 2 hours interview the chief panelist said:

“Ibrahim, thanks for your interest in joining our organization. It’s a pleasure having you here. But…”

I wanted to know what the ‘BUT’ was. I was curious to hear his remarks. He smiled and said:

“You did well, but you were messing around with your nose. At first I thought it was nothing to worry about until it got to the fifth time. So at the end of this interview you’ve messed around with your nose NINETEEN times.”

I gaped. Nineteen Times!

“Yes. Nineteen times. You should take note of that and stop it,” he said.

Of course, I would have lost the job to other persons if it were to be the position of a chef or a restaurant attendant. No employer would listen to my excuse that I was messing around my nose because I have an oily nose. It is surely a bad market for them if clients start noticing this habit in a staff of a restaurant.

So, you don’t want to lose your dream job because of some unnoticed habits. A good way to stop that before the interview day is to ask for an honest opinion from your friend about some minor habits. That can be your ticket to getting your dream job.

2. Unwelcoming facial expression

Your facial expression tells a lot about you. It is the first point of contact between you and everyone you meet. If you’ve been nagged consistently by friends about the way you scrunch your face, clench your jaws or grind your teeth during an interview, you may want to reassess yourself before the day of your interview and practice wearing a smile in your conversations.

It is often said that: “it takes more muscles to frown than to smile.” This is apt and will continue to be as long as man exist. According to Clare Hopping, ‘give your muscles a break and smile. Smiling will show others your warmth and openness, as well as give them an invitation to respond in kind.’ You can as well quell these habits through controlled breathing and self-awareness.

Don’t forget to use non-verbal communication to SOFTEN the hard-line position of others: S = Smile O = Open Posture F = Forward Lean T = Touch E = Eye Contact N = Nod.

3. Handling mobile devices

It is advised that you don’t take your mobile devices into an interview room. But if you would do, ensure to put it off. Putting your mobile phone on vibration may discomfort you during an interview. In the middle of your conversation, it may also distort your line of thought and make you nervous. So what do you do? The best thing to do is to ensure your mobile devices are on SILENT, FLIGHT MODE or better still SWITCHED OFF to avoid any disturbance during your interview.

Your interview will probably not last the whole day, so why not give it the best attention and attend to messages and missed calls after.

There are many things aside acing the questions of the interviewer, which may reduce your chances of getting that job or position of your dream. As Deborah Bull rightly asserted: Body language is a very powerful tool. We had body language before we had speech, and apparently, 80% of what you understand in a conversation is read through the body, not the words.

What other habits do you think may reduce the chances of an interviewee to be hired? Let’s hear your experiences, if any.

Originally published at