Nonverbal Communication: The Importance of Body Language in Interviews

HR Revealed

by Judith Marshall, President, Human Resources Consulting Services


The Importance of Body Language in Interviews 


So you’re not stoned and you’ve made the effort to comb your hair.  Good work!  Your appearance certainly says a lot about you, but your body language can still let you down.  Research has shown that a first impression is based 7% on the spoken word, 38% on tone of voice and a whopping 55% on body language.  Many candidates focus on polishing their verbal skills for an interview, but few give much thought to their body language, and that’s a mistake.


Here are some tips:


1)  Start with an equal handshake.  Mirror the grip of the interviewer and look him/her in the eye..

2)  Relax in your chair.  Don’t flop down like it’s your recliner, instead take a moment to comfortable. Crossing your legs is fine, but don’t waggle your leg or wiggle your foot.  It suggests nervousness.

3)  Bring a notebook to take notes.  It doesn’t matter what you write down.  It just looks like you’re conscientious and interested.  Makes a good impression.

4)  Maintain eye contact and remember to blink so you don’t look like a stalker.  Make sure your gaze doesn’t drop below eye level.  You don’t want the interviewer to think your hitting on him/her.

5)  Use your hands to be expressive.  It shows confidence in what you’re saying. 

6)  Smile, when appropriate.  If the interviewer makes a joke, laugh, even if it’s lame.

7)  Try not to rub the back of our head or neck as it suggests you’re bored by the conversation.

8)  If the interviewer is interrupted by a phone call, busy yourself by taking or reviewing your notes.
Remember, a bad first impression is difficult to overcome, no matter how solid your credentials.  It’s worth a little work and practice to be sure your body language doesn’t sabotage your chances of nailing that interview.  

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