Body Language in an Interview

Your expressions and body language speak the most during interviews. Your body language can have a significant impact on how you’re perceived, and so you have to be aware of it from the moment you step through the door. That’s right, you’re being judged even before you utter your first word.

Here are some tips to ensure your body language makes a good impression:

Do: Make eye contact

This is the best way to show you’re actually paying attention and engaging with the situation. Of course this doesn’t mean stare blankly at your interviewer, but strive to hold eye contact for a few seconds at a time.

Don’t: Slouch

Sitting hunched forward, or lounging with arms and legs everywhere has the effect of looking a little too relaxed. You don’t want to sit there tightly clutching your fists in your lap, but you also don’t want to portray a casual, not really bothered attitude.

Do: Use your hands

Subtly, of course. Touching your fingertips together suggests authority but, as with all things, use it in moderation.

Keeping your palms facing up is a sign of openness and honesty, so keep them in your lap. Try not to clench your fists or wave your hands around to make a point, it will make you seem nervous and unpredictable. And please don’t bite your nails. You’ll look nervous and it’s really distracting!

Don’t: Touch your face

People who play with their hair or excessively touch or rub their noses can seem dishonest and untrustworthy.

Do: Smile

Smile and nod where appropriate, and laugh when the interviewer does. You want to show you have a personality and you’re paying attention to what’s being said.

Don’t: Move about

This includes tapping your fingertips in the arm rest or jiggling your leg up or down. It’s a sign of boredom and impatience. Keep both feet planted firmly on the floor to avoid the temptation. It’ll help to keep your posture straight and focused on your interviewer, which in turn will make you seem more focused.

Do: Mirror

You can quickly get on good terms with your interviewer by matching their positive body language.

Nodding or a subtle shift in posture can create common ground between two people, while matching a handshake is always a good equaliser. When it comes to handshakes, always remember to stick to the middle ground. Too firm is arrogance, too weak is a pushover.

Most importantly, be respectful and keep a professional personal distance at all times. The first image the interviewer has of you is most likely the one that will stick, but a graceful goodbye is just as important as a classy hello.

Your aim is to always keep the focus on the conversation, so keep your expression interested, your posture confident and your head high from the moment you arrive in the lobby until the second you’re a safe distance away.

 

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