7 Tips for Better Body Language During an Interview
While you may be focused on the right things to say and that snazzy outfit you need to still pick out for your upcoming job interview, you should also focus on other ways in which you present yourself. Your body language during a job interview says a lot more than you think!
Body language includes your posture, gestures, and facial expressions. Often it is subconscious, but with practice, you can learn to control your body language to make the best impression. So even if you are nervous, your body language won’t say so! Which could actually help boost your confidence during an interview.
But it’s not just a possible confidence booster for you. We mentioned that appropriate body language can help you make a good impression. Neutral or positive body language actually allows the interviewer to focus on what you are saying, rather than how you look. Which is the goal, right?
Now let’s dive into those job interview body language basics!
A good interview is all about preparation, which is why you are probably reading this article! So when you are ready to do a mock interview with a friend, put all these tips to practice! And remember that part of the pre-game show is your time spent in the waiting room. So make sure you put your phone on silent and then stash it away while you wait and don’t do a bunch of fidgeting.
One of the first things you’ll do in an interview is shake someone’s hand. Your handshake should be firm (don’t grip too hard though, you don’t want them focused on any pain they may be feeling from a tight grip) and last about a second or two. Once you are in the interview, be aware of your hands. If you are seated at a desk for the interview, keep your hands visible, as this demonstrates you have nothing to hide. If you have nothing in front of you, keep your hands in your lap with palms visible to indicate openness.
When gesturing, be subtle. Touching your fingertips together or moving your fingers as you speak are signs of honesty and openness. Don’t clench your fists or wave your hands overtly. And biting your nails or crossing your arms is a definite no-no. This shows you are nervous while the latter makes you look defensive.
Don’t worry, you don’t need to practice walking with a book on your head like your grandmother probably used to do! But good posture can indicate confidence and reliability. So make sure you aren’t slouching, which can make you appear unprofessional. Keep your shoulders back and down and your chin lifted.
The Eyes Have It
There is a fine line between too much and too little eye contact. Too little and you may come off as nervous. Too much and you’ll appear aggressive…or maybe crazy, especially if you don’t blink often. Yikes! To help you get it just right, pretend you are having a comfortable conversation with a friend.
Remember when Mia was learning how to sit properly in The Princess Diaries? Part of it was learning to not cross her legs. Similarly, your legs should be still and uncrossed if possible. Crossing your legs can become uncomfortable and you don’t want to appear like you are fidgeting or be interpreted as discomfort with the interview (or worse, fall off your chair like Princess Mia). Crossed legs can also make you appear unapproachable or defensive. Also, do not bounce your leg! It can be distracting.
Avoid touching your face during a job interview. Candidates who touch their face frequently are seen as dishonest or untrustworthy. So don’t rub your nose, play with your hair or scratch your cheek. Also avoid rubbing your head or neck as this makes you look bored and uninterested. And when appropriate, smile! It shows you are comfortable with how the interview is going.
One of the best things you can do is be a mirror image of your interviewer. Now we aren’t suggesting that you mimic their movements every time they do, like a string is being pulled somewhere. What we mean is take your body language cues from them. For example, nod if they nod and subtly shift your posture as they do so you are sharing a common body language.