Body Language Matters: Job Interview Best Practices
How you act in an interview can be just as important as what you say. Your body language wordlessly conveys the right message to your interviewer. It can make the difference between a great interview—and landing the job—or an interview that’s just OK.
Five essential body language best practices
You can perfect the unspoken message you deliver through several key body language techniques. Try any of the following:
- Make sure you have a good handshake. The quality of your handshake is important. It shows your confidence and approachability. Both things will help an interviewer feel comfortable talking with you. Your handshake should be firm—not too hard and not too limp. Look the interviewer in the eye, give one pump of the hands and say hello.
- Sit up straight. Never slouch or sprawl in your seat during an interview; sit up straight. It helps you appear interested and engaged.
- Maintain reasonable eye contact. Too little eye contact, and you appear as if you’re hiding something—too much and you may come across as a little creepy. Make eye contact when it makes sense, such as when you’re listening to what your interviewer has to say. It can help to nod your head in agreement as you listen. Some people may find they need to glance away from time to time while speaking to maintain focus and think about their words. This is OK, and allows a natural break in eye contact.
- Lean in. By leaning in slightly at the right times—such as when your interviewer is talking about something in which you’re particularly interested—you can show your engagement in the conversation.
- Steady your limbs. This means your arms, hands and legs. You might be nervous during an interview, but don’t let it show through your body movements. Try to keep your legs still and uncrossed. The same goes for your arms. If you’re someone who frequently uses your hands when you speak, that’s OK—but try to avoid over-exaggerated movements. If you’re not sure you can keep your hands under control, just find a place for your hands to rest, such as in your lap.
Take a practice run
Before your interview, practice your body language techniques in any situation. You could practice actual interview questions with a family member, or simply work on your body language techniques while meeting a friend for coffee. It never hurts to appear confident and interested during a conversation!
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