Less than 10% of communication comes from the words we actually say. Really. The rest is all down to how we move, how we sit and how we hold our bodies. Slouch and keep your arms crossed and you look defensive and uninterested. Sit up straight and lean slightly forward and you look like you’re listening. Get it?
Follow our simple tips to positive body language and you are sure to give a good impression.
Of course, we don't mean that so long as your smile is wide and your posture upright you can recite a nursery rhyme instead of answering difficult job interview questions, but if you can master positive body language, it’ll help distract your interviewer from the odd fudged answer.
Body language to avoid
- Don’t wait in reception with your legs stretched out, feet crossed and hands clasped behind your head… this can signal a casual, ‘am I bothered?’ attitude!
- Are you sitting comfortably? Lounging with arms and legs dangling will suggest you’re a little TOO relaxed about an interview you should be taking seriously.
- Try not to show how tense you are. Tightly clutching a handbag or briefcase suggests a nervous candidate, not a confident, cool-headed character.
- You’ve heard this one before but it’s worth repeating: crossing your arms can be interpreted as defensive.
- An iron grip can imply arrogance but a limp handshake might suggest weak character.
- Beware of moving your feet up and down repeatedly in a nervous manner - it’s a sign of boredom, even if you don’t mean it to be.
- Resist the urge to touch your face or play with your hair when you speak, this suggests you’re lying.
Body language to try
- Show them you know what you’re talking about – touch your fingertips together to convey authority.
- Your physical gestures should be open and expressive. You want to try to involve the interviewer in what you are saying. Keep palms up and open to suggest honesty, and avoid pointing or banging fists on the table to emphasise a point.
- Demonstrate curiosity and enthusiasm while your interviewer is speaking. Making direct eye contact and leaning slightly forward are two of the best cues.
- Imitate your interviewer’s positive body language to quickly build a rapport. Make sure you’re subtle though, or you’re more likely to cause alarm!