interviewee demonstrating positive body language in an interview

Beyond the Handshake: 9 Interview Body Language Tips

During a job interview, what you say and how you answer questions are instrumental in helping a company determine if you’re a good fit for the job. But, did you know that your interview body language is just as important and your non-verbal cues often say more than the words that come out of your mouth?

Body language impacts the way that you are perceived by a potential employer, so read these interview body language tips before you have your next interview.


1. Give a solid handshake.

Your handshake is the first impression you make and can be a great start or a fast ending to your job interview. Make sure that your grip is firm – a limp handshake is a big turnoff for a hiring manager and can communicate lack of confidence. Conversely, too tight or aggressive of a handshake can make you come across as overbearing.


2. Make eye contact.

Eye contact communicates confidence, likeability, and trustworthiness. Further, lack of eye contact shows disinterest or may be perceived as you having something to hide. But, be careful not to go to the other extreme and stare down your interviewer. Taking notes can give you a reason to naturally look away from your interviewer (and it also makes you look conscientious!). In panel interviews, or interviews where you are meeting with multiple people at one time, remember to make eye contact with each person in the room.


interviewee answering a question during a panel interview


3. Be mindful of your posture.

Your body language for a job interview should show that you are interested, yet still relaxed. Slouching may communicate disinterest, yet if you are too erect, you may appear tense and nervous. Changing your posture during the interview is fine and will help you maintain your comfort. Leaning in, turning your shoulders, and tilting your head also shows interest in what your interviewer is saying. Remember not to cross your arms, as this puts a barrier between you and your interviewer and can make you seem defensive.


4. Be careful of fidgeting.

Touching your face, licking your lips, twirling your hair, and squirming in your seat are signs of nervousness, which is perfectly understandable during an interview, but can communicate lack of confidence and preparation. It can be difficult to control your nerves during an interview, so before your meeting you should avoid caffeine and sugar and practice breathing techniques to help you relax. During the interview, gently cross your hands in your lap.


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5. Use hand gestures sparingly.

One way to harness your nervous energy is by using occasional hand gestures. This can help you express yourself and emphasize points when responding. Be mindful of your gestures to ensure that they aren’t too grand or distracting.


female interviewer showing a document to interviewee during an interview


6. Turn off your device!

In our increasingly casual world, it’s not uncommon for a job candidate to respond to a text or answer a phone call during a job interview. Checking your phone is a form of interview body language that sends a negative message. It’s terribly unprofessional and tells the interviewer that you have more important things to do. Avoid the temptation by leaving the phone in your car or turning it off and storing it out of sight.


7. Nod and smile.

In addition to enabling you to break the monotony of your facial expressions and eye contact, this will also make you appear to be calm, cool, and collected. Additionally, it’ll help to express interest and enthusiasm.


8. Mirror your interviewer.

Matching your interview body language to that of the interviewer will help you establish rapport because this subconscious feeling of similarity will enable your interviewer to connect and feel comfortable with you. Make sure that you mirror only positive body language, posture, and mannerisms.


interviewee shaking the hand of an interviewer with colleagues smiling in the background


9. Align your words and interview body language.

If you are fidgeting while talking about your “extensive” experience on a key aspect of the position, this can raise a red flag to your interviewer. When your words and body language don’t agree, this may cause a credibility problem, which may result in the loss of the job because savvy interviewers will pay more attention to your non-verbal cues.


Positive body language will help you make the right impression during your interview. And, just like you would practice your responses to frequently asked interview questions, it’s a good idea to practice positive body language for a job interview too. Plus, this preparation will leave you feeling more confident, which will also impact your non-verbal cues. Follow these interview body language tips so that you can ace your next interview!

by: Lisa Shuster
March 05, 2018

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