What Does Your Body Language Say in an Interview

Posted by Rob Riggins

Interview handshakeYou know how to prepare for an interview — researching the company and the individuals you’ll be speaking with, trying to make connections and gather information so you’re fully prepared to impress.

You also need to give some thought to the nonverbal cues you’ll be giving in the interview. You may be saying one thing, but your body may be saying another. Many of the judgments being made about you by interviewers are subconscious — they may not even realize the opinions they’re forming. It’s important that your body language says the right things, so you don’t undermine all the hard work and preparation you’ve put into making this interview the best it can be.

Your interview starts the minute you walk in the employer’s front door. Keep the following tips in mind as you are waiting on your interviewer to get you for the interview.

Your Handshake Matters

Shake hands firmly with the people that you meet, but not too hard. It’s not a strength contest. Handshakes are important because they kick off an interview, so you want to start off on the right foot, so to speak. A good handshake conveys confidence and assurance. Shake the other individual’s hand two or three shakes and let it go.

People with weak handshakes frequently don’t realize they have a weak handshake. Practice shaking hands with friends who will give you honest feedback on whether or not you have a good handshake. Granted this sounds a little goofy, but it’s your future we’re talking about so it’s worth the effort.

Sit Up Straight

Sit up straight both in your interview and if you’re seated waiting before the interview. With today’s modern, low-slung office furniture, this can sometimes be a challenge. Sit on the edge of the chair or sofa, which helps you sit up straight and makes it easier to stand when you’re finished. Sitting up straight keeps you alert and makes you appear more confident and actively involved in the interview.


Attitude is very important in a job search and more important than many cleared job seekers realize. We’re not telling you to paste a frozen grin on your face throughout the interview, but being friendly, open and positive makes people want to work with you. And hire you. When speaking about positive things…smile.

Be Present

Look the interviewer in the eye when they speak, but don’t stare. Acknowledge what they are saying by nodding or otherwise affirming occasionally that you’re paying attention to what they are saying. Don’t be thinking ahead about points you want to make or reviewing things you’ve already said. Pay attention, concentrate and be present in the moment.

Sit Still

For some of us this can be really hard to do. Especially if you’re anxious and you feel like there is so much riding on the interview. Do your best to sit still and be calm. Don’t tap your foot, fidget, play with your hair, tap your pen – in general try to keep your nervous tics in check.

You want to appear comfortable and professional, someone who will be calm in the face of pressure. If you’re unsure of your nervous tics asks friends or colleagues for their input.

Be Open

Avoid crossing your arms or legs. Crossing your arms signals to the interviewer that you’re uncomfortable and unreceptive. Crossing your legs, particularly for men, tends to make you slouch.

An interview is a two-way street. Both you and the interviewer are there to gather information about whether there is a mutual fit for employment. Many times the person who is interviewing is just as uncomfortable as you are.

Anything you can do to help put the interviewer at ease and demonstrate that you are a calm, confident and competent cleared professional, will improve your chances of being hired.


This entry was posted on Monday, January 25, 2016 9:07 am

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