How to Perfect Your Body Language During a Job Interview

body language during interviewA job interview is a short window of time for a hiring manager to get a general idea about you.  You want to make sure you are able to show the knowledge and skills you will bring to the position, and leave a positive and lasting impression.  But some of the telltale factors that will lead to the conclusion your interviewer draws about won’t require you to say anything; it will be in your body language during the interview.  If you have improper body language, it can take away from the quality of what you are saying, and likewise, having impressive body language in an interview can make up for what you are lacking in other areas.  Here are some important aspects of body language that hiring managers pay attention to during interviews, and how to perfect them:

1)      Posture

When you are walking into the interview, have your shoulders back and your neck elongated.  When you are sitting, have your back straight, and make sure your shoulders are not hunched and your arms aren’t crossed.  You want to appear open, not closed off.  Having proper interview posture goes a long way in making you appear confident and professional.

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2)      Hands and Feet

Keeping your hands hidden can be a dead body language giveaway in an interview that you are nervous or untrustworthy.  Hand gestures are encouraged while you are talking in interviews, but keep them below the shoulders to appear more in control.  Avoid hand motions that can come across as awkward, such as touching your face and biting your nails.  Also, take some notes on to how to sit properly during an interview.  Have your feet firmly planted on the ground, and don’t cross your legs (cross your ankles instead if need be, as it will be more subtle if you want to uncross them).

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3)      Awareness of surroundings

You want to avoid seeming too caught up in yourself, and appear open and adaptable to the environment around you.  If you encounter other people at any point after you arrive on the interview premises, pay attention to see if they smile or gesture towards you, and reciprocate.  These could potentially be people that play a big part in the interview or hiring process, so you want your body language towards them during the interview to be positive.  When you are listening, be engaged in the nature of what the interviewer is saying, by nodding and smiling at appropriate moments.

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4)      Handshake

Believe it or not, the quality of your handshake is a body language factor that can have a huge impact in the interview on whether or not you get the job.  It sets the tone for the beginning of the interview, and leaves an impression when you exit.  You want the handshake to be firm, but relaxed.  Be sure to make contact with the entire hand of the interviewer, not just the fingertips, and let their hand cover yours, as a sign of respect.  Pump the hand 3 times, so the handshake is engaging but not too lingering and awkward.

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5)      Eye contact

Similar to interview posture, eye contact is a simple yet often challenging aspect of body language that makes all the difference in how you present yourself during an interview.  Nothing portrays confidence and interest more than direct eye contact, particularly while you are talking, listening and shaking hands.  If it becomes too difficult to maintain eye contact the entire time, at least remain focused on the general facial area of the interviewer.

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Jessica Cody

Jessica Cody, a native of Fairfield County, Connecticut, has a background in online marketing and public relations. She is a graduate of the University of Connecticut, where she studied Journalism and Political Science. She is also an avid runner with a passion for the outdoors.

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