Job Interview Body Language


Your future employment depends not only on what you say during the job interview, but also on how you behave. What is a “gesture of openness” and which handshake is the best one?


How to behave during a job interview with a potential employer? We all know that we need to get dressed properly for a job interview. A less obvious question is how to behave in front of the interviewer. What are the hidden signals that you can apply?

A handshake

The first contact during the interview is almost always a handshake. Your interlocutor’s impression of the ritual usually determines the course of further conversation, so treat this handshake seriously.

Similarities between people are the key to a positive first contact. Shake the interviewer’s hand with the same force with which he shakes your hand, or respond to another form of greeting in the same manner. Thus you will show that you are ready to talk on equal terms. But remember that a strong handshake points to a sense of superiority over the interlocutor.

Personal space

Whatever culture we may represent, our personal space is divided into four zones: public, social, personal and intimate. During the job interview, you must be sensitive about the boundaries of these zones. The most important thing in communication between people takes place in personal and intimate areas. At the interview, it is certainly impossible to use the intimate zone, so if you want you get the job you will need to get into the interviewer’s personal zone.

Reduce the distance

Although the handshake introduces us into the personal zone (that is the purpose of shaking hands), the location of the interviewer and the interviewee usually creates a distance between them. It becomes easier for the interviewer not to give us the job if we do not meet the requirements. This distance also makes it more difficult for us to make a favorable impression on the interviewer. Try to find a tactful way to get into the interviewer’s personal zone. For example, you can slightly move the chair or sit down closer if you sit at a round table.

Be open to your interlocutor and do not hesitate to show it

When you are already sitting, try other ways to reduce the distance. For example, lean forward slightly. Try to do it quietly and unobtrusively. It’s worth doing so. When we get even slightly closer to another person, it increases our credibility.

Gestures of openness

It is important to use non-verbal signs that will show your “openness”. Most likely, you will be nervous at the interview; you will unconsciously clench your fists and cross your arms on the chest. Such gestures give a sense of safety and comfort, but they also alienate you from the interlocutor.
Crossed arms can be interpreted as a sign of closeness, hostility or lack of interest in what is happening. In addition, this position will not allow you to lean forward.

Eye contact

Eye contact is very important. If you neglect it or, conversely, if you maintain it too obtrusively, you can spoil everything.

It is not always easy to calculate the best amount of eye contact, but it is possible to rely on the interviewer in this matter. If you talk to a few people, it is necessary to look at each of them, giving all of them about the same amount of time. Every time someone asks a question, address the reply to that person and look into his/her eyes. A look that is wandering around the room is a sign of boredom; if possible, try not to behave this way.

Some people often overdo with eye contact and always look the other person straight in the eyes, but this strategy is also wrong. From time to time, look away during the conversation – it is okay because you need to think about the interviewer’s questions.

But do not lose concentration when the other person speaks. After answering the question, look the interviewer in the eyes and listen carefully to what he/she says. Eye contact will let him understand that you are serious and focused on the conversation.

Do not forget to breathe deeply

The more people are worried, the sooner they begin to breathe. At the interview, it can lead to unpleasant consequences.

Rapid, shallow breathing reduces the capacity for rational thought. You may find it difficult to answer questions quickly and concisely.

Practise deep breathing with your lower abdomen. You will feel your head getting clearer, and you will be filled with energy and confidence. Practice slow breathing using the diaphragm, abdomen, chest and lower spine.

Of course, it is not necessary to do this during an interview. But use this method every time you feel excitement and, of course, just before the job interview.

Below you will find interesting videos on how to behave during a job interview.