The Power of Body Language in a Job Interview

Interviews can be nerve-wracking – there’s no denying it. However, what your body language conveys in an interview could make or break your chances of getting hired. Many people practice how they’re going to answer questions in an interview, but few think of what their body language conveys. With a little practice, you can show off your confidence and professionalism, leave a more positive impression on your interviewer and have a better chance of landing the job.

Research shows that messages and meaning are communicated 55% by your body language and facial expressions, 38% by your tone of voice, and only 7% by what you actually say. This means that how you present yourself can make a better impression than what you say in an interview. To make a great first impression in a job interview, follow these body language tips.

  • Greet your interviewer with a firm handshake and direct eye contact. A firm grasp shows confidence but make sure not to shake too hard so you hurt the person. And don’t forget to make your goodbye handshake equally confident!

  • Even if you don’t have perfect posture, sitting up straight during the interview and relaxing your shoulders convey confidence.

  • Speak clearly in a controlled voice, and vary your tone and pitch. Speaking monotonously shows a lack of enthusiasm.

  • During the interview, avoid fidgeting such as tapping your finger, shaking your leg, playing with your hair, etc. Too much movement can convey nervousness and can be distracting to your interviewer.

  • Avoid folding your arms across your chest. This position closes you off to the interviewer, and indicates a defensiveness and discomfort.

  • When answering a question, look directly at your interviewer and make eye contact. Don’t stare creepily at the person, but hold eye contact with the person while you or they are talking.

  • As for your hands—if you normally gesture as you speak, do so in the interview. However, keep gestures to small movements. If you don’t know what to do with your hands, keep them loosely folded on your lap or on the table.

  • Show enthusiasm through facial expressions and head nods, but be careful not to go overboard. Too much head movement may give off a bobblehead vibe.

  • Finally, be aware of the interviewer’s body language. It can signal whether they are interested in what you are saying, if you’re talking too much, and can help determine their level of formality, so you can match.

So in your next interview, prepare not only what you’re going to say but how you say it to give off a sense of confidence, openness and enthusiasm for the position. It could make or break your chances of landing the job!

What other body language tips can you share? Are you able to judge an interviewer’s reaction to you through their body language? Share your experience in the comments!