It begins before you even start talking: the first impression. As you can imagine, your body language in interviews can make or break your application. You’re trying to impress your (potential) future employer and show that you’re the ideal candidate for the vacancy – no pressure! Unfortunately, we can't give you a failproof plug-and-play formula to land the job. All situations are different, and the same goes for appropriate body language for an interview. Luckily, we know a thing or two about the topic. So, sit back, relax, and go through this article to learn all about body language in interviews.
What is good body language in interviews?
Before we dive into the how-to’s, let’s go over the basics: what is good body language in an interview? In a nutshell, it boils down to making a positive impression without speaking. That doesn’t mean you should avoid talking. It’s just an added layer to your communication that many people aren’t aware of. Non-verbal cues can be distracting, like tapping your feet, twirling a pen, or a lack of eye contact.
With that in mind, it’s time to go over some examples of good body language in an interview:
- Sit straight and plant your feet at shoulder width to show confidence;
- Uncross your arms for an open posture to stay calm and open-minded;
- Remain eye contact to come across as genuine, honest, and interested;
- Subtly mimic the interviewer’s posture to bond and build a connection;
- Use your hands to emphasise a point with clear yet calm gestures;
- Avoid facing the exit, as it might seem like an attempt to escape.
Curious how to apply the examples above? No worries, we’ve got you covered! Check out our interview body language tips below.
7 Body language tips to impress at your next interview
Whether purposely or not, your interviewer will judge you before you even utter your first word. Crossing your arms across your chest. Touching your fingertips. Offering a limp leaf. Bad body language in an interview could be a one-way ticket to the rejected pile, no matter how impressive your CV is. But, it’s not all doom and gloom: there are plenty of things you can do to avoid that. To help you out, we collected 7 easy-to-follow body language tips to impress at your next interview.
Tip 1: Eye contact in an interview
We now know it’s crucial to maintain eye contact in an interview (or any conversation, for that matter). It shows that we’re interested and care about what the other has to say. But, you don’t want to seem like you’re staring into their soul, unblinking and crazy-eyed – it’s not exactly a good look.
So, where’s the balance? And, how much is too much? Try to keep your gaze fairly fixed on them when they’re speaking, but when it’s your turn, you have a bit more room to move around. Paired with leaning forward, you’ll find a good middle ground for eye contact in your interview to show you’re engaged and interested.
Tip 2: Posture in an interview
You know how your teacher was constantly nagging you to sit up straight? Well, we hate to say it, but they were right. Your posture in an interview will tell your future boss a lot about how much you want the job. If you’re slumped over or too laid back and chill, how enthusiastic can you really be?
Try finding a neutral posture where you’re both comfortable and engaged, and your hands and feet can fall in a relaxed manner. Having solid body language in interviews will leave you feeling more at ease, and you’ll be able to focus more on your questions and answers.
Tip 3: Hand gestures during an interview
Using expressive and animated hand gestures during an interview helps emphasise how interested you are in the topic you're discussing. And as a bonus: it'll add value and clarification to your words.
You don’t want to overdo it, though – you’re not trying to look like you’re swatting flies! Keep it calm and collected, and the body language you use in your interview will speak for itself. It’s especially important to use gestures when doing a video interview to maximise the amount you connect with the interviewer.
Tip 4: Handshake in interviews
Speaking of your hands, clammy palms are usually a sign of nerves. But don't sweat it! While confident body language could be beneficial, interviewers are usually trained to see through your nervousness. After all, you're probably not the first applicant they meet, and definitely not an exception to that.
As a rule of thumb, you should give a firm hand without crushing the bones of your (potential) new employer. The best advice? Just follow their lead when shaking hands, and you should be fine! Need a hand to help ease your nerves? Explore our tips to calm interview nerves.
Tip 5: Active listening
Many candidates get so caught up in the body language they use in their job interview that they forget to take part and listen. You can combine the two though, by using some clever mind tricks.
Try making certain movements in particular circumstances, like nodding when you understand or frowning when you’re confused. You can practice these in your day-to-day conversations so that when your interview rolls around, it’s become second nature.
Tip 6: Prepare body language in interviews
As the old saying goes, ‘preparation is key’, and that couldn’t be more true for your body language in interviews. While reading this article and memorising the information will certainly help, we highly recommend putting your newly found knowledge into practice. Why? Knowing how to sit in an interview is one thing, actually doing it is another.
Stand in front of your mirror and practice keeping a straight back. Not sure if you’d feel comfortable practising with someone else? Or would you prefer to do it alone? No problem at all. In an era with cameras everywhere, you could simply record yourself. Watch your movement closely, zoom in on facial expressions, and go through the list of tips on this page.
Tip 7: Believe in yourself
As corny as it may sound, the list wouldn’t be complete without this tip. Body language in interviews may be vital; the CV you created is what landed you the invite in the first place. And while actually getting hired takes more than that, you’ve already passed that stage. Keep that in mind!
Practising facial expressions and staring at your reflection is smart, but that isn’t all there is. Facial expressions and other non-verbal communication in interviews aren’t all there is. Don’t get so caught up thinking about your body language during an interview that you forget the other work you can do before the big day. Need some input? Scan through our article full of interview preparation tips.
Body language in interviews: in short
Done reading this article? Then you’ve got quite a solid basis to practice your body language in interviews. Are you feeling a bit overwhelmed? No worries. These are the three main takeaways to remember:
- Practice good body language during interviews in front of a mirror, by doing a mock interview with someone, or record yourself.
- Stay calm, remain eye contact with interviewers, and try to mimic them subtly.
- Your non-verbal communication is only one element to consider, so check out our other tips and tricks to shine in your interview.
Need a break from all the body language interview hoo-ha? Or feel like you’ve got the topic covered? There are plenty of other things you can do to become an interview expert. How about practising your STAR technique for interviews?
Not quite there yet? Take a step back and create your CV (it’s free!).
FAQs about body language in interviews
What kind of body language is appropriate for job interviews?
Why is body language important in an interview?
When it comes to appropriate body language for job interviews, professional behaviour is the way to go. The best things to keep in mind are to refrain from fidgeting your hands, practice posture before the interview, and maintain eye contact with the interviewer.
Body language in interviews can make or break your chance of landing a job. Think you messed up? No worries. There are plenty of jobs out there for you, so just remember: practice makes perfect. Explore our 7 body language tips to impress at your next interview.