Career Advice, Interviews

Body Language Do's and Don'ts In A Job Interview

You’ve perfected your résumé and cover letter. You’ve practiced your answers to frequently asked job interview questions. You may have even bought a new, professional outfit for your interview. So why aren’t you getting an offer after interviewing? It could be due to your body language – those nonverbal cues you unconsciously give off during a conversation.

Some body language cues can add to the interviewer’s positive perception of you, while others may make you seem nervous, defensive or even untrustworthy.

Let’s start with the positive ones:

  • Smiling
  • Unbuttoning your coat when sitting
  • Open hands
  • Leaning forward in your chair
  • Chin up
  • Firm handshake
  • Good eye contact

Now, here are some negative non-verbals you want to avoid during an interview:

  • Fidgeting
  • Pulling on your skin or ear
  • Clenched hands
  • Hands touching or covering part of your face
  • Chin down
  • Playing with your hair
  • Looking down or never making eye contact
  • Crossing your arms

It’s hard to pick up on these cues you give off because they’re things you do everyday without thinking twice. (Plus, you can’t see yourself doing them!) Some you may do because you’re nervous, while others just come naturally.

A great way to objectively evaluate your non-verbals is to participate in a recorded mock interview. This way, you can observe yourself from how the interviewer will see you—you’ll be surprised on the cues you can pick up on right away.

If you’re a student or recent alumni, head over to your campus career center to schedule a mock interview. If you aren’t, ask a friend or family member to ask you interview questions and record yourself with a webcam or digital camera. In both cases, ask for feedback about not only your interviewing skills, but your body language, as well.

What toxic non-verbal cues are you trying to kick? What strategies have worked for you in the past?