Body Language During an Interview

When most people prepare for an interview, they spend a large portion of their time thinking about how they might answer questions, what to wear, and what they want to convey about themselves. Few people stop to consider what their body language is saying about them and how that might impact their success in an interview. Follow these suggestions to make sure that your non-verbals are saying the right thing.

Sit up straight, square your shoulders, and even lean slightly in. Slouching or leaning back during an interview shows a lack of respect and professionalism. It gives the appearance that you literally want to get away from the interviewer. Watch the hand gestures. For some people, moving their hands while they talk is natural. While you should try and keep your hands relatively still when talking, if you do decide to move them keep it brief and in front of your torso. No wild gesticulations over your head or out to the side! Also, crossing your arms makes you look defensive, as if you need to defend an answer or yourself.

Make eye contact. While you shouldn’t stare intently at an interviewer every second of the interview, you also shouldn’t avoid eye contact either. Looking around and not meeting their eyes will cause an employer to subconsciously believe you are hiding something or are trying to avoid a certain subject.

Shake hands the correct way. This is an area that many people struggle with. A firm handshake should be a firm clench of the other person’s hand with 2-3 vertical pumps while looking them in the eye. Don’t go for a knuckle-buster handshake and also don’t give them a limp or weak handshake. Don’t jiggle their hand either. Actually move the clench in an up and down motion.

Smile! Look at the interview as a great opportunity and not something that has to be suffered through. At least act like you are happy to be there!

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