The Power of Body Language in a Job Interview

Body language experts agree that subliminal cues, like posture and hand gestures, convey almost as much about a person as what they say. Thus, demonstrating confidence and excitement through non-verbal cues is one of the most important elements of a job interview.

What should your body language say? The following are tips about how to position yourself – literally – for success.

Stride confidently into the interview room. With interviewers often making a first impression of you within the first 10 seconds, make your entrance count. Pull your shoulders back and walk directly towards your interviewers to shake hands. Make eye contact, but be sure to look away occasionally so that it doesn’t seem like you’re staring them down.

Sit up straight. Though you may be nervous at a job interview, a tall, neutral position is the best way to convey confidence. Be sure to sit naturally, though; you don’t want to look like you’re holding books on your head!  

Don’t cross your legs. Keeping your feet on the ground not only stops fidgeting and makes you look more confident, but it also helps you think more clearly. Experts say that having your feet planted on the ground helps you draw better connections between creative and rational thought.

Gesture normally or rest your hands on the table. Even if you’re thrilled to be at the interview, don’t overdo it with wild gesticulations. Instead, gesture with your palms up to signal trustworthiness and interest. What’s more, always gesture below your collarbone, too, in order to signal your calmness. Lifting your hands any higher could make your interviewers think you’re frantic.

Nod to demonstrate you’re listening. We all know how much better it feels when someone nods while listening to you talk. Do the same for your interviewers. While they’re talking, nod occasionally to demonstrate that you’re listening and admiring what they’re saying.

Be authentic. If any of these body language tips don’t come naturally to you. For example, if it stresses you out to gesture – or if gesturing isn’t natural for you – you’ll be better off just folding your hands or simply resting them on the table or in your lap. Don’t adopt a new behavior just for the interview.

Concerned about the messages your body language conveys? CareerMoves can offer advice about how to make your best possible impression in a job interview. With almost two decades of experience helping finance and accounting professionals land the positions they want, we can offer tailored insight into how you can best impress a hiring committee.