StarMed: Think Differently About Finding Talent

Actions Speak Louder Than Words: Body Language and The Interview

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

July 27, 2015

Recent studies have shown that employers will form an opinion of you within the first 10 minutes of the interview. It’s not always based on what you say, but on something we term “body language.” For instance, 85 percent of what you communicate is not with words. It’s through the tone of your voice, the way you sit and a wealth of other messages that your body involuntarily sends.

With this in mind, here are six dos and don’ts on the art of non-verbal communication to give you a winning advantage in a job interview.

1. Be genuine from the start

When you greet your interviewer, smile a real smile that engages your eyes, and offer a firm handshake. Say something like, “I’m pleased to meet you” to provide a positive anchor. Maintaining good eye contact shows respect and interest.

2. Watch the excess energy

The more energy you have, the more will need to be vented. This often results in mannerisms termed as “adapters.” What this means is that excess energy gets dissipated into fidgeting, a definite sign that you’re nervous or ill at ease. Never touch your face, throat, mouth or ears during an interview. The interviewer may think that you’re holding something back, typically, the truth. Although this may be a false assumption, to try to establish credibility, it’s necessary to avoid touching your face.

3. What to do with those hands and arms

To come across as confident, receptive and unguarded, have your hands open and relaxed on the table. When your body is open, you project trustworthiness.

Clasped hands are a signal that you are closed off. A palm-to-palm gesture with one thumb over the other thumb sends the signal that you need the interviewer’s reassurance.

Avoid crossing your arms over your chest. When you do, you signal that you are close-minded, defensive or bored and disinterested.

4. Crossing legs

Don’t cross your legs. This posture creates a wall between you and your interviewer. It can also become a distraction when you keep crossing your legs back and forth. Crossed ankles are a “no-no” because you are signaling that you want to be elsewhere.

5. Posture

A straight posture is imperative during an interview. Pull your shoulders back and sit up straight. You’ll give yourself a burst of confidence and allow for good breathing. This can help you to avoid, or at least reduce, feelings of nervousness and discomfort. Sit on the front edge of the chair so you do not have the opportunity to lean back in your seat.

6. Finger gestures

Steepling your fingers make you look arrogant. She also says to never point your index fingers like gun barrels. These are the types of aggressive messages you want to avoid sending.