Body language in a job interview

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Body language in a job interview, the importance of nonverbal communication

We often hear how nonverbal communication is very important in a job interview, however, it’s rarely given the attention that it needs. After all, before pronouncing a word, your body language already gave other people the first impression of you.

Your body language in a job interview says as much or even more than your verbal communication. When you verbally speak you can talk about your education or your labor experience. You can also talk about the knowledge you have and respond to questions clearly. But within this, your nonverbal communication will also be telling people who you are.    
Just by watching someone’s body language you can see if they’re confident or not. You can even see if they’re likely to get frustrated, stressed or nervous easily.

It’s important to say that body language can be helpful to show things that verbal communication can’t, and if it could it wouldn’t be very relevant. For instance, with body language you can see if a person is enthusiastic, kind or has a good sense of humor. The interviewer will ask you questions, and when you respond not only will he/she pay attention to what you’re saying, but also the way you’re saying it; meaning your body language.
Many recruiters agree that on the first seconds of an interview, body language on its own can give all the information needed about a person and can say if a person should or shouldn’t be hired.

Now that you know how important body language is, you have to find out how to take advantage of this nonverbal way of communication.

Body language in a job interview
Body language in a job interview

Greetings and Handshake

  • Wait for the interviewer to make the first move, you don’t want to come on too strong.
  • Make sure you’re hands are clean, warm and dry before saluting.
  • Only use one hand and give a firm yet gentle handshake.

Face Gestures

  • Have a warm and natural smile.
  • Be careful with your eye contact. Look at the interviewer straight into its eyes but don’t stare for too long.
  • Avoid pursing your lips, pretend to cough, frown or look askance. By doing this you’re indicating that you are nervous or a little arrogant.
  • Calmly nod. If you agree with something don’t be too eager to answer it, take it slowly and analyse what the interviewer is saying.

Sitting Position

  • Wait for the interviewer to tell you to sit down, if this doesn’t happen you may ask: “Where should I sit?”
  • Sit with a straight position, and with your head looking forward.
  • Women should avoid sitting with their legs crossed and men with their legs too apart from each other.

Body Posture

  • Move calmly and with liberty. Don’t rush your movements.
  • Keep your shoulders back, smile, and keep a constant eye contact whenever it is required.
  • Don’t lean too close to the interviewer as it might seem a bit invasive.


  • Avoid sending negative messages with your hands, for example, excessively touching your hair or biting your nails.
  • If you’re a man avoid fixing your tie. It indicates nervousness.
  • Don’t touch your face, nose or rub your neck. All these signals show nervousness and lack of confidence.
  • Use your hands only to reinforce your words (without moving them excessively).


Now that you know the power of nonverbal communication, don’t hesitate to put it into practice. Always pay attention to what your body is transmitting to others and try your best to improve your body language in a job interview & at all times.

Image courtesy of Ambro/

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