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What does your body language say about you in an interview?

Posted on 27th November 2015

A staggering amount can be revealed about each and every one of us before we even open our mouths. Without saying a word, we can offer strangers an insight into what we're really thinking inside and what makes us tick.

How? Through body language. We give out countless non-verbal signals through how we carry ourselves physically - so it's perhaps not surprising that this can make a big difference in a job interview situation.

Yet have you really thought about what impression your body language might be conveying to the interview panel? If not, here are a few tips to make sure you send out all the right signals.
Make eye contact

There's no better way to show that you are confident and engaged with other people than looking at them straight in the eye. If you shy away from making eye contact, you might look a little too reserved and sheepish at best, or ignorant at worst. Either way, not making eye contact can be harmful to your chances of getting the job. But be careful and don't run the risk of staring at your interviewer too long - it can be a little unnerving and possibly makes you seem a bit weird!!
Give a firm handshake

You'll shake your interviewer's hand the moment you enter the room - and you'll be judged on that accordingly. A firm handshake will again portray you as a confident and self-assured person, while a weak handshake implies you're unsure of yourself - and possibly not 100 per cent committed to the job you're going for.
Sit up straight

You'll obviously be sat down during an interview. Sounds simple doesn't it? But there are many different ways to sit. Leaning too far forward can make you look a bit full-on, while slouching back says you're not taking it seriously and don't really care what happens. And an unnaturally rigid posture can be just as off-putting to interviewers. The best option is therefore to subtly mimic how they are sitting - if you are doing what they are doing, they can't criticise you for it!
Don't fold your arms

Nothing says you're closed off and defensive better than folded arms - and this is certainly not the impression you want to convey when you're up for a job. So keep your hands on your lap when you're sat down talking to your interviewers so you appear friendly and approachable.
Match your expression with what you say

Your words will only seem plausible if you wear an expression to match. So smile when you're introducing yourself, look eager when you're talking about why you want the job and sincere when you're discussing your skills and capabilities.

Don't fidget

If you're nervous, it's easy for this to physically manifest itself in many different ways, like brushing back your hair, playing with a pen or shuffling around in your chair. This can be very distracting to interviewers, so even if you're there saying all the right things, you might be stopping it from sinking in!
Of course, many of these traits and quirks are involuntary and you might not perform at your best if you spend your interview being too pre-occupied with your body language. But working on being a bit more self-aware in the days and weeks leading up to an interview could be invaluable if you want to project yourself as someone who is cool, calm and collected - and ready to embrace any challenges a prospective employer is ready to offer you!

For more advice on how to conduct yourself in an interview, why not speak to our specialists here at The Maine Group?!