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10 Body Language Tips for Interviewing

10 Body Language Tips for Interviewing

Your body language could help you land your dream job.  From eye contact to posture to the way you fix your hair, avoid these 10 physical slip-ups in your next job interview.

Watch Your Posture

Leaning back is lazy or arrogant, leaning forward is aggressive and slouching is just lazy. Instead, experts say to aim for a neutral position, sitting tall as if a string were connecting your head to the ceiling.

Breaking Eye Contact

“Hold eye contact one extra eyelash,” says charisma coach Cynthia Burnham. She says we tend to feel uncomfortable holding eye contact once a personal connection has been created. Don’t stare, but try to hold your interviewers gaze for one extra second before breaking away. “Do this especially when shaking hands,” she says.

Avoid Chopping and Pointing Gestures

Cynthia Burnham, a California-based charisma coach, says chopping or pointing motions can”cut up” the space between you and your interviewer in an aggressive way.

Never Cross Your Arms

“Arms crossed over your chest signal defensiveness and resistance,” says Karen Friedman, communications expert. “When they’re open at your sides you appear more approachable.”

Beware of Excessive Nodding

“Sometimes we undermine how powerful or in focus we are by nodding like a bobble-head doll,” says Burnham, a habit that’s particularly common in women. “Nod once or twice with a smile of agreement. But find your still center and stay there.”

Stop Fidgeting

The nervous energy will distract the interviewer. You want [him or her] focused on what you have to say, not the coins jingling in your pocket or the hangnail on your finger.

Control Your Hand Placement and Movement

It’s important to appear approachable and open, so don’t try to control gestures or fidgeting by keeping your hands still. This is especially important when you begin to speak, says Friedman. “Keeping your hands in your pockets or behind your back inhibits movement and makes you appear stiff.”

Manger Your Facial Expressions

“If your tone isn’t matching your facial expression you could find yourself in hot water,” says communications coach Matt Eventoff. “If someone asks what you’re most passionate about and your face is in deadpan while you answer, it’s not going to translate well.”

Shifty Eyes

Friedman says distracted or upward eye movements can suggest someone is lying or not sure of themselves. “It’s important to look someone directly int he eye to convey confidence and certainty.”

Avoid Constant Staring

It’s important to be confident and look the interviewer in the eye.  But then break away. Locking eyes with someone for an extended period of time can be interpreted as aggressive, not to mention creepy.

Guest Author

Barbara Pachter




About Barbara Pachter

Barbara Pachter


  1. Good stuff! People DO notice your gestures, whether in a job interview or in a sales presentation. It’s OK to be a little nervous! Particularly for younger people, who may be new to the interview process, it’s completely understandable. A good interviewer will normally set you at ease. But nervousness is a far cry from excessive fidgeting. Try to come across as genuine as possible. Show that you are not only sincerely interested in the position, but also sincerely listening. That should come across in your body language. Good luck out there!

  2. After reading those 10 great suggestions, I may be afraid to even go to an interview for fear I will break one of those rules. I guess it should just come down to being natural and if that means breaking some of those suggestions, it is much better to be you than try to act unnaturally.

    That being said, in the interview do keep the basics of what is suggested above in mind and if you are nervous, just say so. That will put you at ease as well as your interviewer(s).

  3. The suggestion “never cross your arms” is impossible for someone like me. I have a large stomach, and the most comfortable thing to do with my arms is cross them over my belly. I think these suggestions are good, but if you’re concentrating that hard on body language its possible to forget to simply relax and talk about what you know and how you would contribute to the company.
    The best thing I’ve ever done in an interview is the mental trick of telling yourself you already have the job, and the interview is your first day of work, so ask questions and make suggestions as if you were going to get out of your chair and walk over to the work area to start work. What would you need to know? What would you contribute to the process? Body language is an empty shell if that’s all you have to offer a company.

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