interview body language

Interviews — 8 Big Body Language Mistakes

Your interview body language can make or break your opportunity for a job offer. Thus, it’s good to do a quality pre-check on yourself.

A recent infographic from SOAP, a professional presentations company, called out body language mistakes people make while speaking to groups. Many items on SOAP’s list also apply to job interviews.

8 Interview Body Language Fails

So, if you want to connect well with your interviewers, don’t:

  1. Cross your arms or legs or splay your legs.
  2. Avoid eye contact with your interviewers.
  3. Stare at a single spot.
  4. Talk too much.
  5. Repeat gestures over and over.
  6. Fidget.
  7. Forget to smile as you engage with your interviewers.
  8. Talk “too fast, too slow, or too low.”

Rehearse Your Interviews

If you think you might be committing one or more of the 8 Body Language Fails, then rehearse.

It’s a good idea to walk through a test interview with a friend, or even better, an experienced interviewer or a career coach.

Ask your test interviewer to watch for problems and give you feedback at the end of your conversation. It’s better to feel awkward in a low-risk test run than it is to fail an important interview.

BTW, if you expect to have video interviews, be sure to practice on that platform too.

5 Tips to Avoid Interview Body Language Fails

You can avoid fails by:

  1. Greeting your interviewer with eye contact and a pleasantly firm handshake (ask how you did).
  2. Sitting up straight and keeping your legs together.
  3. Maintaining eye contact throughout your interview (keep it comfortable, don’t stare).
  4. Checking your interviewers’ body language for insight on how they’re reacting to you.
  5. Adjusting your behavior based on how you think your interviewer feels.

SOAP’s Video

With all those tips in mind, you might also enjoy this video on public speaking from SOAP:

Image: Fotolia/Bits and Splits
Updated May 2019

© 2014 – 2019, Donna Svei. All rights reserved.

Comments 4

  1. I taught 7:38:55 Communication Ratios since the 1990’s in my interview training classes to about 150,000 people. That was until back in 2012 when Albert Mehrabian, Ph.D. said that was not what I meant. Google it to learn more. Woops! I had always wondered why words were such a small component (7%)… well a communication expert who was quoted by other experts could not be wrong and I just went along with the crowd and doubted my objectivity.
    As a psychology major and a person who devours all that I can learn about communication so that I could provide my customers with the latest and greatest information on all things related to the job acquisition process, I felt duped. I realized that I needed to pull the interview process apart and start with the very basics of starting out with strong scripts that could be adjusted easily on the spot, the delivery of the information with an open face, smiling, eye contact, body language and the entire delivery concept (orchestrated communication). My mentor was the great Arch Lustberg (one of my former professors) who has trained millions of salespeople/politicians and speakers on the best way to deliver information.

    So my lesson has been learned – Seek New Information – Analyze the New Information– Understand the Information and then Design the Way you need to deliver the information to your specific audience’s needs.
    The manner you speak and the way you write is always an attempt at getting your message across to another person (s) so that you can influence or corroborate their ideas with yours. It is mind control… when I provide you the vocabulary to think with there is a good chance if I am well prepared that you may come away agreeing with me, sound manipulative doesn’t it. When is spoken language not manipulative?…..

  2. Such a useful checklist before attending interviews. A combination of #5 and #8 can be disastrous. I would like to add, after friend’s feedback, practice it again until you are rid of the Evil Eight- at least suppressed it enough to pass the interview successfully.

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