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Master Job Interview Body Language

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Some studies indicate that over 8% of communication is non-verbal and further some research reinforces that if there is a discrepancy between verbal and non-verbal communication most people trust the non-verbal communication. So where does this leave us?


The first thing we will cover today is about the handshake. It’s about body language, so don’t try and break the interviewer’s hand. It’s not a competition. This also means not to give a handshake that is too soft.  There’s nothing more an interviewer hates more than a limp handshake.  If you have a limp handshake you may as well kiss that job good bye.


If you’re sitting down, as you probably will be, don’t slouch. I’ve seen people, mature people in management positions, come in to an interview and they sat back and they slouch. It looks really bad and sitting up straight shows confidence.

Show Interest And Openness

Other people are sitting with both their elbows on the desk leaning forward. Now, it might be appropriate to lean forward on occasion just to show you’re interested, and indeed this stuff should really become second nature, but don’t overdo it. Please don’t sprawl all over the desk. It’s not as if we’re in the fourth year of school doing double chemistry, looking out the window.

This interview effectively, may or may not secure your future career. Please think about the way that you come across. Don’t slouch, sit upright, keep your arms off the table, use a decent pad for taking notes, ask questions, and think about the way you cross your arms.

Now, I tend to, when I’m sitting down, talking to people. I will tend to cross my arms. But it’s not because I’m not interested, it’s actually because I’ve got a slightly bad back. I’m going to move my arms forward it pulls my back forward, and it relieves some tension. Are being interviewed and somebody’s doing that, it doesn’t mean they’re not engaged, it just might mean that it’s more comfortable for them. This is what you need to remember, their perception may well be if they don’t know about your bad back, or they’ve not read the books, that actually, folding your arms could imply you’re not interested.

I would suggest that for the most part, unless there’s a physical or medical reason why you do that, keep your arms open. In fact, you can use your hands to express your opinions and your views and ypantamimeour enthusiasm.

If you look at our folks from some cultures where  they tend to use their arms a lot more. We know when they’re passionate. In the North America, we’re a little bit more reserved, although when you look at fans at a football match or a pop concert, you wouldn’t believe that. Let’s use our hands in the appropriate manner.

Don’t Forget Crossing Legs

Let’s also think a little bit about crossing your legs. Now, for some people, crossing their legs is natural. But when you cross your legs when you’re sitting on a chair, it kind of pushes you back, you probably have to move back from the desk a little bit, and to do that, you might seem to be overly confident. So I’d be inclined not to cross your legs. Unless, again for any reason. I’ve met guys that maybe they’re into such sports, they’re cyclists or rugby players, and for them, crossing their legs is more comfortable than not crossing their legs. Just think a little bit about that.

No Gum

Also, please, please, please don’t chew gum. I’ve had people come to interview for me, even mature people, they’re in their 4s, 5s, chewing gum. Yeah, does that mean that they’re already less capable or less able of doing a specific job? Of course not. But to me, I don’t know, maybe it’s because I’m middle-aged, but to me chewing gum is the lack of respect. So please, if you’re going to chew gum, do it before. Get rid of it, in the car park. Remember, CCTV, don’t chuck it on the floor, just wrap it up in a wrapper, leave it in your car, put it in your pocket.  I once knew of a person who urinated in the side of the building before his job interview only to discover he was on camera.

Smoke After The Interview NOT Before

I just think a little bit about, from the body language point of view, and this is a bit of a side, but it’s worth talking about, if you do smoke, please make sure you haven’t smoked heavily before you go to your interview because it’s probably going to be clinging on to your clothes, and it’s probably going to make your hair smell even if you had a lot of mints beforehand, the interviewer might well smell that.

Now, does that in any way affect how you can do the job? Probably not, but you’ve got to remember, you’re dealing with somebody who’s a human being, maybe have a prejudice about that smoke, maybe he was a heavy smoker himself and doesn’t like to be reminded of the pleasure of smoking when he smells nicotine, so try to make sure that there’s no evidence of smell on your body.

Body language is a big subject, and just being aware that when you scratch your ear or nose or  eyebrow, guess what, it doesn’t actually mean that you are lying or making stuff up. It might mean that you have an itchy ear. But if you’re interviewing, it might affect how the employer is viewing you, just consider that that is how they may view you.

Photo by jyjou