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. Do you like what your body is saying about you?
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. The are all well worth the 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.
3. 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 to 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.
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.
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.
10. 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.
Questions or suggestions?
Do you have questions or suggestions regarding the content of this article? Do not hesitate to share them with us through the contact form below. Did you like this article? Then please do not hesitate to share it with your friends.
On Lichaamstaal.be you will find a lot of information and tips on body language. The books Gezichtlezen of Chi An Kuei and What Every Body is Saying of ex-FBI agent Joe Navarro will also give you lots of practical information and a good basis to use your body as a means of communication.
More job interview tips?
Would you like to receive more job interview tips? Then please press the red button below to receive our future articles in your inbox automatically and free of charge.
PS. If you follow us on LinkedIn you will see our articles, interesting job openings, industry news and more valuable content in your LinkedIn timeline. Find out why hundreds of others decided to follow us by clicking the button below.
If you are following us and if you have suggestions for us to further improve our services and/or the info we share, please feel free to let us know by phone (+32 9 320 70 80) or by email. We look forward to receiving your feedback!