How to Impress at Job Interviews Using Body Language

By Elizabeth Kuhnke

Body language reveals a lot about how you are feeling. Before you’ve spoken at a job interview, interviewers will already have formed judgements based on your posture, gestures and facial expressions. There are a number of techniques you can use to make a positive impression and project confidence, commitment and credibility.

What you should do before the job interview

Send out a clear message that you belong in the organisation by projecting assured and confident behaviour.

  • Relieve yourself of clutter and carry only what you need.

  • Remain standing while you are waiting in reception. Chairs make you look small and can be awkward to get out of.

  • Make a positive entrance: move confidently, smoothly and purposefully to be perceived as someone with an upbeat and positive attitude. Hesitations and shuffles make you appear unsure of yourself

  • Instead of shaking hands across a desk, move around it so that there are no barriers between you and the other person. Return the same amount of pressure as the interviewer and let them decide when the handshake should end.

What to do during the interview for a job

  • Positioning: when invited to sit, try to ensure that your body is at a 45 degree angle from the other person. Facing the interviewer directly, especially if your chair is lower than his, can make you look like a child about to be reprimanded. Sit upright and don’t slouch.

  • Answering questions: portray a positive and serious attitude through your body language, Close your mouth and breathe through your nose. Remember to hold your head vertically as though your chin is supported. Place your knees directly over your ankles with your feet planted firmly on the ground. This will make you appear grounded and secure, giving your answers added authority.

Telltale signs of nervousness include fidgeting; picking at fingernails; scratching your face, head, neck or chest. They give the impression that you’re uncomfortable in this new environment and make it difficult for interviewers to have faith in your abilities.

Watch yourself on video to check whether you demonstrate any of these behaviours:

  • Replace a nervous gesture with another action. Let your hands rest on the desk or table in front of you. If there isn’t a surface, rest them in your lap.

  • Keep your fingers closed to demonstrate confidence and control

  • Use accessories to enhance your image: Decide what image you want to project and choose good quality accessories to project this.