How your body language can affect the interview process

Did you know your body language during the interview process is almost as important as what you say? The way you carry yourself will impact the impression that the Interviewer has of you.

Your interview starts before you get into the actual room. This is something you must remember from the moment you approach the building as you have no idea who could be walking in behind you or who could be observing from the office. Make sure to carry yourself with confidence and keep your posture in check.

Your handshake will set the tone for the interview to come. Studies have shown that it makes a significant impact on first impressions and therefore you want to make this count. A firm handshake will demonstrate confidence and create a bond with your interviewer. Make sure you strike the balance and do not crush their hand as this is not something you want to be remembered for.

When you are offered a seat, sit in a straight backed chair if it is offered. Softer seating can be less graceful to sit in and tend to lead to slouching. If you slouch in an interview, the impression that you give is that you are not interested in the open position or that you are not taking the interview seriously. You should lean slightly forward when in the interview to show that you are engaged with what is happening – make sure you don’t go too far though and lean into the interviewer’s personal space!

Make sure that your arms and legs are uncrossed. When crossed, you can appear defensive and guarded, which is not ideal at interview. Consider keeping them open at your side, a position which is far more approachable. If you are someone who uses their hands when speaking, make sure to be controlled in your movements. You do not want to put off the person you are speaking with by becoming too enthusiastic with your movements.

It is important to make eye contact throughout your interview, but that does not mean you must lock eyes with the interviewer for the entire time. This can be disconcerting for the person conducting the interview and can be perceived as aggressive. On the other hand, not making eye contact can make someone think that you are untrustworthy. The main aim is to strike a balance. Maintain eye contact when you are listening and responding to a question but allow it to break every now and again. Don’t overthink it – it is just like speaking to a friend.

Try NOT to fidget. This can be really hard for those of us that are nail-biters and knuckle crackers but the nervous energy of these motions is distracting to the interviewer and appears unprofessional. Just focus on the questions and the conversation that arises from them.

Demonstrate that you are interested throughout the interview by nodding your head while listening. This shows you are engaged and that you understand what has been said. However, as with everything, excessive nodding can be off putting.

Finally, smile and enjoy the process. While job interviews are daunting, you could be working alongside these people one day.  Use this opportunity to get a feel for the company and consider whether you would be the right fit there. If you are nervous before your interview, check out our interview preparation guidelines


For more information on body language, check out this Ted Talk by Amy Cuddy, Social Psychologist.