What Kind of Body Language Is Appropriate for Interviews

“I can do everything with my language but not with my body. What I hide by my language, my body utters. I can deliberately mold my message, not my voice. By my voice, whatever it says, the other will recognize "that something is wrong with me". I am a liar (by preterition), not an actor. My body is a stubborn child, my language is a very civilized adult”

― Roland Barthes,

Sometimes, it comes down to little things that can ruin your chance of getting that perfect job. Body language is one such essential thing. It tells the truth. It gives the interviewer some information that is not conveyed by the words used. It reveals whether the candidate is focused, confident, or goal-oriented – deciding whether the candidate is right for you.

You don’t want to appear nervous, insecure, or bored. People have physical habits that they overlook. These traits get noticed by the interviewer. They observe if you’re under stress or if your nervous ticks off. All these kinesics pay the price. Instead of focusing on what you’re saying or your experience on the resume, there is a possibility that the hiring manager observes if you are twirling your hair, shaking your legs, or biting your nails. The scariest thing? You might not even realize that you are doing it.

Poor body language can send messages that you’re not confident, unhappy, incapable, and nervous. All the adjectives that you do not want to hear from an interviewer. Any interviewer will not mind if you haven’t given the perfect answer for the 6th question but will not forgive the body language that you are using. They realize that you are not confident of the abilities or work under pressure. Your poor habits will undermine your qualifications. It is why you have to practice avoiding the typical moves before you get rejected in your next interview.

Things to avoid during a job interview: 

  • Slouching: Remember all those times when your mom asked you to stand straight? Because she knows that slouching is not nice. Slouching makes you think that you're disengaged or bored. Do not lean forward so that you don't make the interviewer feel crowded. By standing straight, you can instill some ownership. You not only project confidence but will impress the employer. It also makes you look self-assured, capable, and as well as taller in life.
  • Slumping: Think of the gathering that you have attended where you haven't known anyone. Did you put the pockets in hand? Did you hunch over by crossing the arms? Did you not realize while you're doing all of these things? All these movements make you look insecure. Even when it is incredibly comforting to fold the arms in front of the chest, the movement can signal that you're unapproachable or uninterested. Sometimes, you might even appear aggressive. In an interview, you don't have to be all these things. You shall be approachable, open, and friendly. To stop yourself from hunching, keep your arms relaxed by your side. Hold the resume in the hands as a way to stop slouching. Make sure you maintain a good posture during the interview. Look comfortable and confident. Avoid tapping the feet, touching the face, tucking the hair behind the year, and performing nervous gestures. 
  • Smirking: You would want to avoid giving signs or rolling eyes to show that you are frustrated or nervous. That doesn't mean you shall not remain serious through the interview. You should try to showcase the type of person you're in this interview. The easiest way of breaking the ice is through a smile. By doing it, you can tell the manager that you are normal. You shall make sure that they understand you are fun to work with daily. Importantly, a smile helps you in relaxing so that you can be the best version of yourself during the interview and your job.
  • Fiddling: Whether it is tapping the feet, tucking the hair behind the ear, touching the face, or other nervous gestures, you shall not fiddle. Doing all these things will make you look worse distracted. It is important to be aware of all these things so that they display insecurity. Place the hands on the table or the armrest if you are not sure how to act. A way to instill the trust is by mimicking your movement during the interviewer. Without being a copycat, you can even try to mirror the body language of the interviewer. If your employer is leaning forward in the conversation, you can also lean forward to show that you're interested in the discussion. This technique will tell you that you are the same team by finding a happy medium that demonstrates your confidence and emotional intelligence.  
  • Handshaking: A perfect handshake sets the whole stage for the interview. All you need to do is find the right pressure. A firm handshake might show that you are trying to overcompensate for the lack of skills. A light handshake hints that you lack confidence. If you are giving a weak handshake during a huge pressure situation, the employer will wonder if you would be capable of meeting good stakeholders. Practice makes things perfect, so you can try giving mock introductions with family and friends to get things right. Do not be the first person to extend the hand. A strong handshake is an intricate element to touch people in a corporate setting so that you can get the warmth and kindness right.
  • A word on eye contact: Think of the conversations that you have had in all the job interviews that you have attended. Did you stare at someone for too long and look away? What's your gut reaction about the person? Maintaining eye contact with the employer shows that you can hold a conversation. But staring too long can make you feel unnatural. Your initial gut reaction will tell you whether to look away or to look for a decent time. If the interviewer finds yourself averting his/her faze, you are giving them signals not to trust you.  

Together, poor body language can say that you're not capable of all the tasks in hand. When you have a dream job looking for you, you don't want to lose out by crossing the arms, smirking, or slouching. You shall be able to create a canvas to give yourself the best start possible and grab an excellent opportunity in life. 

Things that you need to be aware of:

“Body language is leadership at first sight”

― Janna Cachola

A consistent body language gives opportunities to convince the employer that you are worthy as an employee. 93% of the whole communication is conveyed through body language. Additionally, gestures, posture, facial expressions, tone, and volume can also play a role. Only 7% of the attention is given to the content.

  • You are your clothes: It is a good fact that clothing says a lot about the confidence and attitude concerning the position you are applying to. It is important to look based on what you are applying for. Every job role has a dress code designated based on business roles. In case if you are not aware of the dress code, google it and know what you shall wear. Apart from the outfit, it is important to look groomed. Grooming involves clean shows, clean clothes, combed hair, shaved face, and good fingernails. A sloppy outlook can create a bad taste in the employer's mouth even before the interviewer starts the conversation.
  • Right greeting: Every small thing in the interview says a lot of things about you. All of them are good reasons to say that the first impression matters the most. Along with the visuals that you give, a handshake and eye contact matter the most. However, the first greeting that comes with a handshake and posture also says a lot about you as a potential employee Accompany your greeting with a friendly smile. It will help you give the impression that you are the most confident person and can meet new people and handle new situations. Use words like please to meet you, it's good seeing you and thanks for the opportunity to sound humble.
  • Communicate with the eye: Eye contact signals that you are open and interested in the other person in the interview. You shall not avert the gaze so that there is no signaling of a lack of interest. In simpler words, you shall show that you are giving the utmost attention to your eyes. Do not intimidate the interviewer by always staring into his eyes. The thumb rule of the interview is maintaining a successful eye contact to hold the gaze for at least a second and not more than three seconds. If you are in a group discussion or engaged in conversation with multiple people at a time, make sure to maintain eye contact with the person who has primarily asked the question. However, it is also important to throw a few glances to all the people in the room for healthier interaction. You should maintain eye contact with other people showing interest in helping you with attention.
  • Upright postures: Most interviews are held in seating positions, but the posture is often criticized. An interviewer observes your posture as he knows that the posture shows how you perceive the job. By adopting a posture and sitting upright, you are throwing a good impression. A twisted body can project a negative effect on the audience. You shall not use the whole surface of the seat as it appears that you are making yourself more comfortable than needed. Sitting on the edge, on the other hand, shows that you are unsure of yourself. In a face to face interview, you need to take a proper seating position. It may sound paradoxical to say that the posture also creates an impact in a telephonic interview. It determines your voice. The rules are the same as in a traditional interview. You have to sit upright and engage in a face to face conversation to concentrate on life. Even a small smile can create a good influence and make you likable.
  • Say Goodbye: This is your last chance to win people over. Reach out for their hand and greet them at the end. Make sure to maintain eye contact while you are doing that. Goodbye with a smile is a symbol of self-confidence. It also says that you are okay with the result of the interview. Be sincere about what you want to say and end it with a warm gesture. Walk out of the building in a straight posture by keeping the taut body intact until you are out of sight. It is only then you can relax with your body language, and it won't be evaluated anymore. From posture to gestures to rituals to facial expressions like handshakes and goodbyes, all the nonverbal cues communicate as much as the verbal cues in an interview.

To conclude, body language is the most important trait in the competitive world. The corporate sector gives you good value if you have a positive body language. You can use it to break deals, increase sales, and deliver presentations. It helps in the growing network. As the old saying goes, the action does speak louder than the words. The posture and body movements play an important role in letting the feelings and emotions out.

A positive body language helps the person to be assertive about life. All you need to be is confident about what you know and show it in the body language. An interviewer will likely observe how good you’re with your body before deciding to hire you. He/She will not only judge your dressing sense but grooming skills and kinesics to know if you can handle the roles and responsibilities well. Read all the points that are mentioned above to create a good impression.