Body Language is Integral to Interviewing

by Ron Kness on August 3, 2012

Many job-seekers don’t realize the importance of body language when interviewing for a job, but experienced interviewers are experts at reading what you are not saying with words. Eighty-five percent of what you “say” during an interview is not spoken.

Because interviewers form an opinion of you during the first ten minutes of the interview, make sure your body language communicates what they want to “hear”. Use the seven tips below to “speak” volumes about yourself.

 1. Be genuine

When you greet your interviewer, smile a real smile, make direct eye contact, and offer a firm but not bone-crushing handshake. Say something positive and engaging such as “I’m pleased to meet you”. Focus your eye contact on the area of the face from the left eyebrow across the bridge of the nose to the right eyebrow. Avoid staring at the forehead, lips or mouth of the interviewer.

2. Controlling Nervousness

Be aware of fidgeting. It is a sure sign of nervousness and instantly recognizable. Also, do not touch your face, throat, mouth, nose or ears during an interview as that conveys messages you don’t want your interviewer to “hear”.

 3. Hands and Arms

Project a confident, receptive and unguarded image by laying your hands face-down, open and relaxed on the table or arm of the chair. If you have neither, then lay them flat on top of your legs. Projecting an open image translates trustworthiness.

 4. Legs

Don’t cross your legs. Crossing them creates an invisible wall between you and the interviewer. It also becomes a distraction if you keep switching from one crossed leg to the other. Crossed ankles also send mixed signals. The best position for your feet is flat on the floor.

 5. Posture

A straight posture or even leaning slightly forward is imperative during an interview. Sit straight with your shoulders back. Not only does this allow you to breathe deep, it will help you reduce stress and nervousness.

6. Fingers

Avoid playing with your fingers and never ever point at the interviewer. It is a sign of aggression.

 7. Facial Expressions

Show your enthusiasm by keeping an interested expression. Nod occasionally and make positive gestures in moderation at the appropriate times.

If you are uncomfortable interviewing, either practice in front of a mirror or have a buddy mock interview you. The more you do it, the easier it gets. Controlling what your body says support the words you speak leaving your interviewer with a positive view of you as a whole.

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