Using Effective Body Language to Ace the Interview

Q: What is body language?

A: Body language refers to the message you send with your facial expression, hand gestures, eye contact, posture and physical bearing.  It is a large part of your communication style and speaks volumes about you, even before you say a single word.

Q: How do I make a positive impression using effective body language?

A: As a recruiter, I’ve had candidates provide excellent responses to interview questions while slouching in their chairs, failing to make eye contact, looking distracted or fidgeting in their seats.  The message communicated by this type of body language is drastically inconsistent with what is being said.

Be sure to make a positive impression by focusing on the following:

  • Offer a firm handshake the sends a message of strength and self-confidence.
  • Maintain eye contact, which will help you establish rapport with the interviewer.
  • Smile, nod and use hand gestures, when appropriate.  The conversation will feel more natural and relaxed.
  • Avoid fidgeting, toe-tapping, nail biting, etc.; these nervous habits reveal your anxiety and can be distracting or annoying.
  • Sit straight, leaning slightly toward the interviewer.  This sends a message that you are attentive and interested in what the other person is saying.
  • Do not slouch in the chair or appear overly casual.
  • Express enthusiasm when discussing the job and your experience.  Interviewers want motivated candidates who are excited by the challenge of the role, not just the paycheck.
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