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Body Language in Interviews

06 Jan 2016

Brightwater Recruitment

We all know how important what you say in an interview is but never underestimate the importance of body language...... Read on.....

There are several studies showing that body language alone accounts for over 55% of the message you are delivering. That figure can be even higher in a stressful situation such as a job interview. Never underestimate the importance of body language in an interview. People tend to believe what they see over what they hear and as such, facial expressions, gestures, even simple things like the way you sit can portray an erroneous impression of you so here are some practical tips on using effective non-verbal communication techniques in interview.

Here are some practical tips on using effective non-verbal communication techniques in interview:

Walking into the Room

Get them at "hello" - The interview starts the minute you walk into the room. Everyone remembers the movie Jerry Maguire where the infamous line “you had me at hello” has now become part of movie lore. In a way, you have to get the interviewer at “hello” too, and that means coming into the room in a confident manner.

Create a positive impression - Walk in tall, with a smile on your face. That immediately creates a positive impression and depicts your mental attitude. A person walking in with their head down and stooping shoulders gives an impression of a dejected person with little confidence. Whereas someone with good posture, head held high and a positive smile, gives the impression of a confident and warm person.


A strong handshake - Gives the impression of a warm, friendly confident person.

A weak, limp dead fish handshake - The worst impression you can give, not only does it say you’re weak and ineffectual but it also says that you are not even interested in this job.

Make your handshake firm and confident without crushing any bones!

Eye Contact

This is another incredibly important and often underestimated factor. Even if you do school your expression to be neutral, eyes can reveal all sorts of emotions.

Keep eye contact - Always maintain eye contact with the interviewer. Do be careful not to glare/stare at them, but you should at least look at them directly.

Show interest - Movement of eyes towards point of attention (i.e. the person who’s speaking to you) is auto-stimulated by the brain so if you are not looking at them, does that imply to the interviewer that you are not interested or not thinking about what they are saying? If it’s a panel interview, include everyone in what you are saying, not just the person who asked the question but just make sure that you’re not giving your best impression of a spectator at a tennis match. Click here for more about panel interviews.

Chair Etiquette

Sit up straight - This may sound obvious but is often the one point that lets interviewees down. Rocking back in your chair or slouching may imply comfort on your part, but it certainly doesn’t convey professionalism. The way you sit conveys subtle information to the interviewer. Take the time to sit comfortably. Sitting on the edge of your chair also gives the impression of being tense and nervous. So sit back, sit upright and relax. Lean slightly forward towards your interviewer because this gives the impression that you are interested and engaging in the conversation.

Don't fidget - We have all done it – fiddled with our hair, twirled pens in our fingers, clicked pens up and down, drummed fingers against a desk etc. This is INCREDIBLY annoying for the interviewer. So just stop! Don’t fidget!

Feet and hands - The questions are endless! Will I fold my arms, will I cross my legs, will I put my hands neatly in my lap? Sit with your feet flat on the ground or your ankles crossed. Put your hands in your lap, if you need to, clasp them loosely but not tightly as you don’t want to give a final sweaty handshake. If you are a person who gestures whilst talking, that’s fine too. Sometimes if you are physically expressive, this shows both an interest and confidence.

For further advice on successful interviewing, talk to your Brightwater Consultant by contacting our office on: 

Dublin | +353 1 662 1000 | [email protected]
Cork | +353 21 422 1000 | [email protected]