Body Language – How Important is it During a Job Interview?
Believe it or not, your body language during a job interview can be just as, if not more important than what you say. If you don’t believe us, imagine this scenario – a well-dressed, well-educated individual who is qualified and available for the role, who slouches, picks their teeth, and looks around the room during the interview. Put yourself in the shoes of the interviewer. Although they may be qualified, does that kind of attitude sound like somebody you would want to represent your business?
Of course, understanding and maintaining your body language is something that many people struggle with during a job interview. This is why we’ve decided to highlight some of the key areas to focus on, explain what you should be doing, and why. From head to toe, every part plays a role, which is why it’s called body language and not head or arm language.
Although this list has been created with an in-person job interview in mind, it can also be used for video interviews – which have become more popular in recent times.
So, without further ado, let’s get on to how important body language is during a job interview, starting with:
Shortly after the job interview has commenced, chances are you’ll be taken into the interview room and asked to take a seat. So, the first thing to do is to sit back fully in the chair, with your feet placed firmly on the floor. Sitting back fully doesn’t mean slouching, however.
When you’re sat back fully, the rest of your body language will naturally follow. You’ll find yourself becoming more relaxed and less tense. Not only this but sitting back properly shows your interviewer that you are both ready and professional. Sitting forward often says “I’m nervous or anxious”, which is something you want to avoid during your job interview. And, of course, it’s natural that your body may want to move as the interview goes on. However, it’s important to remember to always re-centre yourself back to sitting back fully in your chair. We’re not saying don’t move, but remember to sit back into the chair, fully upright when you do.
Eyes and Face.
Many guides will tell you about the importance of eye-contact, and this is true. However, what they don’t mention is how creepy and intense it can be if you refuse to break eye-contact during the interview.
From eyes, nose, and mouth, your eyes should rotate from place to place, without fixating in one place for too long. If your eyes stay locked with your interviewer, your body language can become tense, and your inability to look elsewhere says that you’re nervous. So, rotating your gaze to and from a few different focal points says that you’re confident, without saying that you’re trying to remember to keep eye-contact. Of course, if there’s more than one person interviewing you, try to move your gaze from one individual to the other, but always to the person that’s speaking to you.
You’ll also want to avoid touching your face too much during an interview, as this is another body language sign that you’re nervous or anxious. Of course, there will be times when you genuinely need to touch your face. An itch, or a hair, something along those lines. And in these cases, touching your face is fine. However, constantly touching, scratching, and rubbing your face is a no-go zone. Avoid it like the plague.
To help with not touching your face, we advise putting your hands on your lap as a re-set point, much like sitting back fully in your chair.
When using your hands to emphasise your point during the job interview, you’ll want to show your palms when possible. This is a nice little trick to improve your overall body language, and combined with using your hands when speaking, will tell your interviewer that you’re confident in what you’re saying.
One last body language mistake you’ll want to avoid is folding your arms during the interview. Doing this says you’re bored or uninterested – even if you’re not, that’s what your body language tells the interviewer. So, don’t do it.
Legs and Feet.
Much like your arms and hands, you’ll want to give yourself a reset point for your legs and feet. This is because most people will feel the urge to fidget and move during an interview. If you don’t believe us, try it now. For the next half an hour, try not moving your legs and feet, keeping your feet flat on the floor the entire time. It’s more difficult than you think.
Our advice is to try and avoid folding your legs – getting cramp during an interview can be extremely awkward.
So, keep your legs straight and your feet flat on the floor whenever possible. This will also reduce any noise that your shoes may make when coming in contact with the floor, especially if you’re prone to tapping your feet.
Fidgeting is something else that many individuals struggle with during interviews. From pens and hair clips, to the anxious leg bounce or picking your nails, these are all practices you’ll want to avoid. Of course, some individuals require some kind of fidget device to help their performance, so, if this is the case, we suggest you take something with you into the interview. This is important as, if you’re seen taking something like a pen from the desk and continuously click it, this can become a focal point during the interview. Of course, this is something you want to avoid, as your abilities and skills should be the only highlight during the interview.
If you don’t currently have a fidget device, there are plenty of great options online, many of which make minimal noise when used, and are proved to help individuals to concentrate. If this is the case, you may want to highlight that you have such a device before proceeding with the interview – most interviewers will understand. Combining a fidget device (if needed) with your reset points (feet flat on the floor and hands on your lap), you’ll find yourself moving less, giving you better body language overall.
To avoid any extra unnecessary fidgeting, you’ll want to ensure any long hair is tied up neatly, and your beard is trimmed/appropriate for the interview. For more information on how to dress for your interview, click here.
There you have it, everything you need to know about your body language during a job interview. If you think you’re ready to start applying for jobs, click here to check out our vacancies. Or, if you’re looking to brush up on your interview skills, check out our blogs section.
Thanks for reading, and good luck at your next interview!