Body language and job interviews: What (not) to do

By Courtney Jones

body language interviewSome say that people may not always tell you how they feel, but they’ll show you if you just pay attention. And we think it’s a pretty fair fact to state-- because as far as our world works, actions speak louder than words.

Your body language will tell a tale even if your tongue won’t, so here are some mannerisms to lose if you want to gain the candidacy advantage.

Shifty eye contact

A lack of eye contact can come across as insecure or untrustworthy, and shifty eyes – well, no one trusts the person with shifty eyes. It’s important to look the interviewer in the eye, but know when to break away after a few seconds. An effective way to ensure you’re looking interested and engaged is “direct face contact.” Try looking at different parts of the interviewer’s face every two seconds; rotating from eyes, to nose, to lips, so you’re never just drilling into the interviewer’s eyes.

Heedless head nodding

When you’re trying to craft a selling response, it’s best to listen before you answer. Aside from keeping eye and face contact, nodding your head while listening is an additional way to show attentiveness. It’s an indication that you’re enjoying and understand what’s being said. However, avoid fanatical nods that could mistake you for a puppet. Overzealous nodding can also indicate that you’re not on the same page, so limit the action to once or twice whenever relevant to the conversation.

Crossed arms

The arm cross is fluent in any language for feeling defensive or uncomfortable. And neither trait is co-worker conducive. Crossing your arms can also tell your interviewer that you’re anxious or hiding something. Try to keep them separate by placing one hand in your lap and another on the table—at the ready to gesture naturally during the conversation.

 The aggressive fragrance

Aggressive fragrances have a tendency to overpower anyone’s nostrils, which could give the hiring manager the impression that you don’t have any common sense when it comes to office scents. You want to leave the interview with a lingering impression as to why you’re the right fit, not a cloud of perfume or cologne—so leave it off.

A weak handshake

Only the strongest candidate will win the job search, and a weak handshake isn’t going to help your cause. To a recruiter or hiring manager, it comes across as unimpressive, unenthusiastic and untrustworthy. Instead of offering a limp fish, firmly grip his or her hand while making eye contact and squeeze as you pump three times.


Poor posture can be seen as a byproduct of low self-confidence, but adopting a powerful, upright position can increase the interviewer’s perception of assurance. So you want to sit with both feet planted on the ground in front of you with your back straight and one arm casually on the arm rest or on the table.


Remember, body language is one that everyone can understand. Let yours tell the tales of success.

by Courtney Jones

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