Body language in a job interview - part 2: extra tips for success!

Application tips

06 Aug 2019
In our previous article, we shared advice about body language in job interviews. We described the importance of the first handshake, your overall posture and the movements you make with your head, eyes, arms and hands. In this article, we share 14 extra tips to control your body language in job interviews. We discuss what to do with your shoulders, torso, back, legs, face and voice.

WHAT IS YOUR BODY SAYING?

The tips in this article are based on scientific research, practical experience and guidelines from organizations such as the FBI. You will find some interesting references at the end of this article. They are all well worth reading!

WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR SHOULDERS, TORSO AND BACK

1. Maintain a natural position

Try to keep your shoulders relaxed during the entire interview. Pulling your shoulders up or pushing them forward reflects uncertainty. Hanging your shoulders reflects indifference.

2. Don’t hang in your chair

If you don’t have side rails or a table to lean on, it can be tempting to hang in your chair. Try to avoid this because if you do, you may come across as indifferent.

mind your posture during job interview3. Loosen up (but not too much)

It is important to keep your back straight, but try to do so in a natural way. Try to move gently and naturally during the entire interview. Otherwise, you may come across as nervous and insecure.

4. Lean towards the current speaker

Leaning towards the current speaker is a sign of respect. It indicates that you listen intently. Don’t change your position too fast or too obvious when someone else starts speaking though, or you may come across as a human robot.

WHAT TO YOU DO WITH YOUR LEGS?

5. To cross or not to cross?

This depends on your personality. If you are confident by nature, crossed legs can confirm your comfort but then can also reveal arrogance. If you are uncertain by nature, crossed legs will reflect and confirm your uncertainty.

6. Relax!

Put your feet firmly on the ground, even when you are in a chair. Try to avoid the ‘restless leg syndrome’ (bouncing your leg up and down) at all times. Shaking your leg(s) will make a nervous impression.

Are you ready for a job interview?
Check out our opportunities

IS YOUR FACE AN OPEN BOOK?

7. It is amazing what a smile can do

As we wrote before: Be the person you want to hire. Everybody likes a natural smile. A natural smile will make you seem friendly, confident and approachable.

8. Don’t force your smile

Don’t force your smile. And please don’t smile during the entire interview. You can smile when the conversation is light-hearted, but aim for a more serious look when you are discussing serious things.

9. Don’t try to be funny

Don’t turn your interview into a stand-up comedian act. And please don’t laugh at your own jokes! It is embarrassing to laugh when the others are not. Only smile when there is a clear reason.

hands during your job interview10. Don’t frown

Don’t frown during your job interview. If you do, it may seem as if you don’t understand or trust your interviewer. If you frown when your are speaking you may come across as complacent or unreliable.

11. Don’t squeeze your eyes

If you squeeze your eyes, it may seem as if you don’t trust what’s being said. So don’t squeeze your eyes during job interviews; it will make you look incredulous and/or unreliable.

12. Don’t look away when you answer a question

Always look your interviewer in the eyes when you answer a factual question (e.g. a question about your previous work or studies). If you first look to the left or to the right, it will seem as if you are crafting an (unreliable) answer.

13. Never look down when you answer a question

Maintain eye contact when you answer a question. If you look down, it may seem as if you don’t feel confident about your answer, or that you are giving an unreliable answer altogether. If you maintain eye contact you will seem confident and reliable.

LAST BUT NOT LEAST: YOUR VOICE!

14. Keep your voice under control

Your voice can reveal more about you(r feelings) than you think. Therefore, keep your articulation, intonation, rhythm (not too fast!) and especially your breathing under control. Good breathing will calm down your nerves and it will make the conversation much more enjoyable.