Body Language

The DOs and DON'Ts of job interview body language

28/11/2013BY: Tracey Mesken

​We've all heard the saying "actions speak louder than words". This cliche is especially prevalent when it comes to job interviews.

Most people will devote a significant amount of time and energy to practicing what they will say in an upcoming job interview. But we should also spare a thought for what we convey with our mannerisms and poise as this can speak volumes to a potential employer.

How aware are you of your own body language in the office, with friends or in job interviews?

Here are some basic tips to help you use body language to your advantage.

Body Language No-No's...

Fidgeting
Many employers associate this with a lack of self-confidence, and it can be extremely distracting. It's best to keep your hands in your lap, or on the table in front of you.

Touching Your Face
This is often interpreted as a sign that you're lying.  In particular, there's a position known as the "mouth guard" - covering your mouth and putting your thumb on your cheek - that is associated with dishonesty.

Orientating Your Body Away From Your Audience
This displays little interest in the person you are speaking to.  It will make you look impatient and desperate to leave the interview room.

Avoiding Eye Contact
If you don't look at your prospective employer in the eye enough, you will appear self conscious or disinterested in what they are saying.  Traditionally "shifty eyes" has also been associated with lying however it is now commonly known to be linked to anxiety. Either way, try your best to hold your audiences gaze as it will go a long way in creating a positive impression.

Folding Your Arms
This can make you seem closed off, disengaged and unfriendly.  It can present as a barrier between you and the person you are speaking to.

Body Language Do's...

Sit Up Straight
This will not only make you look confident and prepared for the job interview, but can also increase testosterone levels and decrease cortisol (the primary stress hormone) levels.

Mirror Your Audience
This technique helps build a rapport with your potential employer, and makes them feel comfortable in your presence.  This doesn't mean you copy your interviewer, you simply reciprocate their body language.

Gesture
This is often taken as a sign that you're enthusiastic about a particular subject, and can also help your brain access information more easily.

Maintain Eye Contact
The rule of thumb is to acknowledge every question you're asked with appropriate eye contact. You may want to pair this with a simple nod to indicate that you're listening and understand the what your interviewer is saying.

Smile
A great, genuine smile is a force of nature.  By smiling at someone, you have the capacity to ignite a chain reaction of other smiles and good feelings. Smile when relevant, show your genuineness to your potential employer as the results can be surprising.

Are you ready?

Remember, practice makes perfect. Set aside some time to walk through your job interview - literally. This will boost your confidence and help you avoid making body language mistakes.

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