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Body language at job interviews

Everyone communicates in three basic ways:

  • Using words
  • By the way we say those words
  • Through what our bodies say.

What your body language says should not be underestimated. Unfortunately, many people pay little attention to this and often present mixed messages to a potential employer who may interpret your non-verbal communication negatively.


How to manage your body language

Suppress mannerisms
Don’t fidget or display nervousness by using excessive or irritating mannerisms – these might include twiddling your thumbs, sweeping back your hair or picking and biting nails. Instead, comfortably rest your hands together in your lap.

Leave your face alone
Don’t put your hands up to your face. Research has shown that we tend to think that a person who is touching their nose, ears or eyes whilst they are talking is lying. This may not be the case at all, but it could give the interviewer the wrong impression.

Do not fold your arms
Don’t fold your arms across your chest or stomach, this can make you look defensive and may make you appear as a person who will not be moved or has something to hide.

Use your hands positively
Don’t be frightened to use your hands and arms to make gestures if you would normally do this to emphasise a point, although be careful not to go overboard and become a human windmill.

Make your eyes work for you
Try to maintain good eye contact without staring. Don’t worry if you find your eyes temporarily drift away from the interviewer, this is perfectly normal.

Be enthusiastic
When someone approaches you or engages you in conversation remember to smile and nod, this demonstrates that you are actively listening. You should also try to smile and be enthusiastic when you speak.


The interviewers’ body language

As well as paying attention to your own body language, it is also important to see how the interviewers are behaving. They will also subconsciously display postures and movements that are an indication of how you are coming across to them. This can serve as a warning that you might be doing something wrong that you are not aware of.

For example, if the interviewers think that you are talking for too long, they may show their irritation at first through their body language. If the interviewers shake their heads, sigh or fold their arms and lean back, you can take this as a sign of displeasure. Usually it is not yet too late to change this. However, don't wait too long because then their irritation will transfer to their consciousness.

Contact the team today

If you require a mock interview, or need any further help or advice, please contact the careers and employability team.

Call now on 01623 413325

Available weekdays 8.30am-4.30pm (4pm on Friday).

Send an email

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