Body Language at a Job Interview

You’re excited – you’ve passed the first difficult stage, and now you’ve been invited to a job interview. You’ve probably already started planning the course of the conversation and how you’re going to win the interviewer over. You’ve even practiced presenting yourself and describing your experience and abilities. It’s important to know that it is not just your words that might land you the job, but mainly your body language and what it is conveyed to the interviewer.

“First impressions are determined, in 93% of cases, by our body language and appearance. Verbal content that we wish to convey only has a 7% effect in most cases”,  Haim Toledano Body language expert.

This figure is even greater as many interviewers and employment agencies analyse body language in identifying the interviewees’ personality and suitability for the role.

First impressions are true to their name – they give us one opportunity in an extremely short time frame. An interviewer’s opinion is usually made within the first 30 seconds.

Studies on this subject indicate that 38% of first impressions are based on a person’s voice, tone and rhythm of speech.

To improve your body language, it is important to be ready and prepared for difficult and uncomfortable questions.

When an interviewee fails in getting the job, it is usually because there is no correspondence between the verbal message they want to convey and their body language. In such cases, the interviewer mainly focuses on the non-verbal messages, causing them to doubt the interviewee’s capabilities.

Being aware of this important matter is a good way to start in preparing for your interview.  You can also follow these tips that promise to open doors for you.

Standing –  The way you stand at the door is one of the first things the interviewer looks at. Make sure you stand straight.

If you find this difficult, stand in front of a mirror and look at yourself. Do your shoulders tend to slump?

Does the person looking at you from the mirror express confidence?

Hand Shake – It is important to have a strong, firm handshake that conveys confidence. Don’t crush the interviewer’s hand but definitely do not offer a limp or weak handshake.

It is important to wait for the interviewer to reach out their hand first to not appear invasive. You are in their space, let them lead the way. You do not want to seem arrogant or aggressive.

Sitting –  After waiting patiently for the interviewer to tell you where to sit, allow them to lead you to your chair and make sure you are sitting comfortably without trying too hard. Look attentive and focused and make sure you keep eye contact during your conversation.

Your hands should preferably be visible on the table, without invading the interviewer’s space. Visible hands convey trustworthiness and frankness.

Additional Key Rules – Dress respectably according to the dress code of the work place. Every appearance at any employment agency or sorting centre throughout the recruitment process requires the same dress code.

Perfume and a good smell is an important and well-known rule in job interviews so try to take another shirt with you in case you get dirty or perspire more than usual on your way to the interview.

To Conclude – Success at an interview is due to many different factors that you need to be aware of, emphasize and practice. Your body language is one of the most powerful means of conveying your message loud and clear.

In order to express credibility, you must feel as comfortable and as natural as possible. Any fake behaviour or attempt to be someone who you’re not will be easily noticeable by a skilled interviewer.


Haim Toledano Body language expert, personal and organizational consultant and group facilitator for the past ten years..













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