Weekly Topic: Body language and nonverbal communication in Job Interviews

Yes you heard correctly. When you hear or see the word job or interview in the same sentence it can be a little intimidating for anyone. When you go to interview for a position you are desiring, body language is VERY important. So important that, if you do not handle your nonverbal communication appropriately, it can very well cost you the job.

Some of the simplest actions truly make a difference.

  • Sit up tall and straight
  • No gum chewing, in fact no gum at all
  • Give a firm hand shake
  • Be polite and considerate
  • My favorite —>Be Confident!

Key factors such as those listed above, you should know, and if you don’t its okay, but remember them!

1. One might ask what is body language exactly. Body language is one of the main ways we communicate. People can see others emotions and actions through ways other than words. Thanks to Alex Rudloff’s blog post “A Quick Guide to Body Language, I took many key points that I found extremely helpful and interesting when it comes to body language and interviewing.

How to Read Body Language

Here is a handy list of body language signs. Given the proper context, these nonverbal cues can help you with interpreting body language.

Examples of Body Language

Body hunched – low confidence
Clenched fists – aggression
Crossed arms – shut off, uncomfortable
Dragging feet – lethargy
Dropped shoulders – lethargy or weariness
Fidgeting with objects, hands – nervous
Hands behind head – arrogance, superiority
Hands on hips – in defiance
Hands on table – in agreement
Head down – timidity
Head rested on hand – bored, disinterested
Leaning away – discomfort with the situation
Leaning in closer – interest, comfortable
Looking at watch – boredom
Looking away to the left – lying
Messaging temples – anxiety
Nodding – interest, agreement or understanding
No eye contact – lack of confidence, lying
Shaking of legs – a sign of stress
“Shifty” eyes – nervousness
Stroking of chin – thinking, in thought
Tapping foot – impatient or nervous
Wiping hands on clothes – nervousness

“There are different body language expectations for different circumstances. On a job interview, you want to appear calm, cool and collected. You want to come across as confident and in control. You do not want to come across as creepy. Prolonged eye contact, close talking — these may be appropriate on an intimate date, but not in a job interview!”

Tips to help improve your body language:

  • Smile and laugh – Laughter is contagious, it will also help put you in a positive mood. Your body language will naturally improve because of it.
  • Slow down, breathe regularly – Nothing will stress you out more than moving at full speeds. Don’t walk fast, don’t talk fast and remember to breathe. Not only will this help calm you down, it’ll calm down the people around you who pick up on stressful vibes.
  • Use your body with purpose – No fidgeting and keep your hands out of your pockets. Don’t be afraid to take up a little space. Show you are comfortable in the situation, not put-up-your-feet comfortable, but that you are in control and unafraid. Use your hands to expand on points or call attention to important statements.
  • Hold objects by your side – If you have a drink in hand, keep it to your side, not in front of your chest. Holding your drink in front of your chest can express the same feelings as if you were standing with your arms crossed. Relax.
  • Show your interest – Nod occasionally to let the person you are interacting with know that you are listening and are in agreement. Leaning in is another way to show your interest, just be careful not to lean in to soon or to often, or you may creep them out.
  • Eye contact is powerful – Make eye contact with the people you are talking to, just don’t stare. Breaking eye contact downward is generally more positive than breaking eye contact to the sides. If you have trouble looking people in the eye, try looking at their nose instead. They won’t be able to tell.
  • Mirror – This is a tough one because it can be hard to pull off. When two people have strong rapport, their actions and body language will naturally start to mirror each other. If you can, you can stimulate this by consciously doing it. Just be careful, as if you get it wrong, it will be really awkward for everyone.

 

2. Click here  for an interesting outline on what to do with your body during an interview. Frank van Marwijk, answers questions as easy as, “what do I do with my hands?” to “what type of person am I?”

3. If you are still unsure about the interview process, Mike Aguilera, communications specialist has some tips and techniques that might help the future job seeker.

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15 Comments

Filed under PR Practicum, Weekly Topics

15 responses to “Weekly Topic: Body language and nonverbal communication in Job Interviews

  1. matidmore

    This was a really good blog, with tons of good facts. The list was really helpful. I never realized what some of the body language signs read as, like the shaking of the leg meaning stress. I do that all the time. I guess I need to relax. I also like how you gave definitions to your tips on why, and the video was a great additions. It’s crazy to think people would go into interviews chewing gum but you know it has to happen pretty often. i like that your blog was easy to read and kept my attention. Great Job!

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  4. Jessica Cameron

    Your post was really intriguing. The examples of what certain body language cues mean are really interesting. I think I will be paying more attention to how I am acting to see if I am really feeling a certain way when I’m putting my hands on my hips or crossing my arms, etc. Really interesting.

    The tips for improving body language were interesting too. I have never really thought about ways to improve the way I conduct myself as far as body language is concerned before. I will definitely be referring back to your post when it comes time for me to go to a job interview (SCARY!)

    • Thanks Jessica. I told Meg the same thing. I knew body language was important and can do a lot when it comes to an interview, but I’m going to have to spruce up on mine before interviews, for sure!

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  6. I will definetly be coming back to this post before I go in for an interview. I especially like how you defined what each body movement is telling someone else!

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  8. allykup123

    WOWZAAA! That is all I have to say for this post! You did an amazing job going into so much detail to really explain what non verbal communication really is. Your post is the first one that I saw that had a of things you could use to improve your body language. I thought that was really neat and is something that I imagine EVERYONE could use at least a few times in their lives : ). Loved the video too! Overall Kati Ann, you did an amazing job with this post! You can definitely tell you took your time to make it worthwhile for us bloggers to read! Great job!

    • Thanks Ally! I try every now and then :). I agree though, I thought the definitions what each body movement was very interesting, and hopefully will come in handy for all of us in the next 6 months or so. Hope I get to see you around the building soon, miss you!

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  10. This post is really interesting! I enjoyed reading about what different body gestures say about you, such as poor confidence. This post was very helpful. Thanks, Kati Ann!

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