Job Interview Body Language

by Waller Jamison

When you go for an interview, you must make sure you understand specific job interview body language. This applies both to using body language yourself to help create a good impression and also being able to read the body language of the interviewer.

In fact, body language is so important that getting it wrong could mean the difference between success ad failure in your interview. 

If the person interviewing you is aware of the meaning and importance of body language, he or she will be able to tell a great deal about you just from the way you hold yourself and use your body. So don't think that it's just what you say that counts!

Job Interview Body Language Before and After the Interview

You should also be aware of your body language on the way to the interview. If the interviewer is looking out the window, he'll see you arriving and you might be a little surprised by this, but some interviewers do just that to get an idea of what you are like when you are off guard.

The same applies on the way out. so if you are dying for a cigarette or want to kick off your uncomfortable shoes or let your hair down, wait till you are well out of sight of the building..

Job Interview Body Language During the Interview

A good interviewer will have the ability to work out if you are about to tell the truth, will be a good team player and if you are a confident person - even before you open your mouth. So it pays to be aware of your own body language and to work on it if necessary.

So, before you have another interview, let's take a look at a few of the basic steps you need to take to improve your body language. Remember that you could be watched as you arrive. So make sure you are standing up straight, aren't smoking or chewing gum or doing anything which might give an employer the wrong impression.

Who Will Notice Your Job Interview Body Language?

Not just the people interviewing you! So don't underestimate the role of that receptionist. As I said, she might be asked for her opinion and if you have been rude, dismissive or constantly interrupted her with annoying questions, this could go against you. Just behave in a polite way, explain who you are and why you are there. Unless she isn't busy and actively engages you in conversation, keep your comments to a minimum.

Ask where the bathroom is if you need it, but otherwise keep quiet. If she does start a conversation, be careful what you say. Keep it very general. If she asks about your present job, stick to a few facts, don't make any negative comments about your employer or coworkers.

The same applies to anyone you bump into from the cleaner to the CEO.

Job Interview Body Language During the Interview Itself

Once the interviewer comes out to invite you in, take his or her lead - shake hands if a hand is offered. either way, smile and make eye contact. Be sure that you sit properly - nice and straight, as slouching will make you look as if you aren't interested, are lazy or wish you were somewhere else.

When you are being spoken to, you should lean forward just a little to show interest and this also indictes that you are listening carefully. It is important to keep making eye contact during the interview, but don't overdo it, as this can feel very uncomfortable.

You should make just enough eye contact to maintain a connection, remebering that this isn't someone you know and so you do need to respect boundaries.

So just remember to be as natural as possible. You know yourself that it can be really intimidating if someone is staring hard at you for a long time. If you are being interviewed by a panel, you should make some eye contact with them all.

So when someone is asking a question, make eye contact, you might look away while you consider the answer, then make eye contact with the questioner again and then briefly with one or two other panel members.

Don't worry too much about this, if it makes you nervous just make sure you make some eye contact with each person.

General Tips for Job Interview Body Language

You should keep your arms and legs uncrossed as crossing them can come across as your being defensive or it can give the impression you are tense.

You can use gestures, but keep them fairly limited and appropriate to the situation. If you put your hands behind your head, you could give the impression that you feel superior. So that's one you definitely don't want in your repertoire.

You also need to avoid things like fidgeting, clicking a pen or tapping with your foot. these are signs of nervousness and extremely annoying. Of course, the interviewer will know that you are bound to be a bit nervous, but you should try to be as natural as you can in the circumstances.

So make sure you are confident in your use of job interview body language and this will help a great deal towards creating a good impression in your interviews.