Last week I had the very great pleasure of presenting a session on body language at Lee Hecht Harrison Penna’s Senior Executive Networking Group. It was great to connect with senior leaders and managers and hear their feedback about how body language has helped them with creating positive impact.

As a leader you are always on show. It’s key to be ‘present’, so when it comes to interviews it’s essential to think about your posture and eye contact – and that most-important handshake.There are different types of handshake and I’m sure you’ve all experienced them – from the limp, wilting handshake to the bone-crushing, aggressive one. How did it make you feel? Why then don’t we think a little harder about it when we’re meeting someone at an interview for the first time? Trust me, it matters!

You have less than 30 seconds to make a positive impression during an interview. So, to make sure you, as a leader of senior manager, do just that, here are my top tips:

  • A growing smile is very effective use when you are entering a room. Start with a small smile, and as you walk into the room, let it grow until you it’s a full smile.
  • Use a firm handshake – but not too firm!
  • Use your voice – think about pitch, pace and tone.
  • Watch your posture. Don’t slouch…but don’t be too rigid either – it’s important to make people feel you’re approachable and open.
  • Power pose. This is a great way to help you feel more confident when going into challenging situations. Think Wonder Woman or Superman! The trick is to hold the pose for two minutes before entering the room. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the benefits to both you and the person/people you’re meeting.

Finally, you can build on the non-verbal impression you’re leaving during an interview by preparing properly for an Executive interview. Don’t be fooled, the questions you’re going to be asked might be similar to other jobs you’ve interviewed for in the past…but they can be significantly different too.  Here are just a few of the questions you should be prepared to answer:

  • Tell us what you know about the company.
  • What would you do to improve our bottom line?
  • What’s your leadership style? If you don’t know, there are psychometric assessments you can take such as Hogan, DiSCor MBTI.
  • What leaders do you look up to and why?
  • What is your leadership philosophy?
  • Give me an example of where you had to make a difficult decision that impacted the team and the company.
  • What is one assumption people make about you that is incorrect?
  • If you could solve one problem in the world what would it be?

These questions are not designed to trip you up. They’re designed to help the interviewer(s) understand whether you’re right for their company, as well as understanding whether you possess the self-awareness and emotional intelligence required to lead and manage within the company.

In summary, a senior leader is always on, people are watching you constantly make sure your body language and interview preparation is polished, professional, prepared and positive.

If you are interested in learning how to make this a reality get in touch.