Job Interview Tips

How Your Body Language Can Get You (Or Lose You) That Job

body-language
Written by Peter Jones

Body language is important—it's really no exaggeration to say that it can make or break you in the job interview situation. Your nonverbal communication in these situations is almost as important as what you say.

Study up and learn these tips for how (and how not) to use your body language to help, rather than hurt you on the job hunt.

Body Language Don’ts

Avoid Eye Contact

Keep consistent, but non-creepy, eye contact with whomever you are speaking with. Avoid the temptation to look over their outfits, or to scan the offices behind them, or the photos on their desk. Focus on the conversation. Save the rest of the sneak peeks for later.

Slouch

Sit up straight in your best power pose to avoid looking as defeated or deflated or exhausted as you feel. If you’re feeling perky and upbeat, you should definitely not need to slouch in the first place! Just be careful what your body is doing.

Zone Out

Everyone spaces out from time to time. But doing so while someone else is talking is extremely unprofessional and rude. Your spacing out might even include bodily cues you wouldn’t notice yourself doing—like twiddling your foot or slumping or having your eyes glaze over. Pay active attention and you’ll be fine.

Lean Away

This makes whomever you’re talking to assume you aren’t listening or aren’t really interested.

Blink Too Much/Too Little

You really can’t win with blinking. Try to find a happy and natural medium. Blink not too much, but not never!

Cross Your Arms/Legs

This might make you feel more comfortable or at ease, but it can also make you look closed off to whatever the person you are talking to is saying/offering/talking about. Keep your body language open.

Body Language Dos

Sit Right

Don’t slouch, but be careful also not to stand or sit up too straight, lest you seem rigid. Try to find a natural posture that works for you and doesn’t tip too far into either extreme.

Lean In

Leaning slightly towards your interviewer can be a way of proving your engagement with the conversation and the ideas being presented. It makes you look eager, so don’t lean in too far or you might come across as desperate.

Fold Your Hands

No idea what to do with your hands? Try keeping them folded in your lap, rather than crossing them. This also keeps you from fidgeting. Don’t forget to use them to gesture now and then when you’re speaking though. Not moving your arms at all can make you look robotic and weird.

Nod Periodically

Don’t just sit and stare without moving when your interviewer is speaking. Try nodding along with what they’re saying—again, not too much, or you’ll look like a bobble head.

Make a Strong Exit

How you exit the interview is just as critical as how you showed up. Stand up, gather your things, give a killer handshake, make solid eye contact and explain what a pleasure it was speaking with them and reiterate how keen you are to speak further about the opportunity. Then stride out like you own the place!

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