Job Interview Body Language Tips

If you’ve ever spent an awkward blind date across from a slouching, shrugging, uninterested pasta dinner companion, you probably know the importance of body language for communication.  Sure, the human species may have developed a pretty sophisticated system of language over the years, but that limp handshake, failure to make eye contact or otherwise out of the norm body positioning can tell you just as much, or more, than what comes out of a person’s mouth.

With that in mind, candidates preparing for job interviews would be remiss if they overlooked the importance of nonverbal communication during their one on ones with hiring managers.  Just like researching prospective employers or sprucing up a resume, practicing good posture and control of body language is essential for those looking for interview success.  On board with our advice but not sure where to get started?  We’ve got a few tips and tricks to help nail that job interview body language.

Posture

For every person who ever listened to their mother say “don’t slouch”, this one’s for you.  Poor posture isn’t just bad for your back health, it also can convey a lot more than you’re intending to prospective employers.  Whether sitting or standing, you should aim for your shoulders to be back and straight and avoid humping over or slouching.  When sitting at the interview table, plant two feet on the floor and ensure your back remains in contact with the chair or that you’re sitting up straight in your seat.  When in doubt, roll your shoulders back a few times to limber up those muscles and get your body used to that foreign, but correct, posture position.

Smile

Unless you’re one of those permanently grumpy types, this body posture tip should come easily and naturally and will go a long ways towards making you appear professional, relaxed and confident.  A sincere smile upon greeting your interviewer and throughout your meeting will help keep the conversation flowing and can also put the hiring manager at ease, building their opinion of your soft skills and approachability.  Practice smiling in the mirror to ensure you’re not throwing up a cartoon-esque grin and you’ll be well on your way to a job offer that has you humming along to “don’t worry, be happy”.

Handshake

With as many advances in technology and communication modern interviewers face, it’s important to know that some things just don’t go out of style when it comes to human interaction.  A firm, well-practiced handshake is still an essential part of greetings and deal-making, worldwide.  Practice proper handshake technique and ensure you have a firm yet polite grip.  And as far as that “power handshake” goes…just don’t.  Regardless of the job field, no one wants to start off introductions with their hand being crushed.

Eye Contact

An often overlooked form of non-verbal communication, eye contact is essential for candidates looking to practice good body language habits during their interview.  Rather than engaging in an all-out stare down with the interviewer, candidates should practice making eye contact during appropriate times in the communication.  This is especially important when interviewing with multiple people at once.  Solid eye contact will help you appear attentive and engaging, big plusses for those doing the hiring on the other side of the table.

Hand Gestures

If you’ve ever spent time along the eastern seaboard, you have probably witnessed the art of “talking with your hands.”  While natives of New York and New Jersey may work this into their conversations smoothly, for most of us it’s a habit that’s more distracting.  When in the interview room, keep hand gestures to a minimum.  Avoid pointing, clapping, or throwing your arms up in the air as these can all come across as agressive or sudden when conversing with a relative stranger.  In need of a crutch?  Try clasping your hands lightly in your lap to avoid giving the appearance of a Mozart impersonating conductor at a high school band rehearsal.  

Our final word when it comes to body language during your interview is: relax.  Take a deep breath, show up early and prepare for your interview for greater confidence and more focus on both body and mind.  Prepping for your interview in all aspects, including body language, will help you appear professional and calm, increasing your chances of landing that all-important offer.

Article Updated from the Original on November 13, 2017