Showing the right body language at an interview

Showing the right body language at an interview

In 1971, psychology professor Albert Mehrabian claimed in his book Silent Messages that only 7% of a message is conveyed through the words you use. 38% is conveyed via the tone of your voice and the remaining 55% via your body language. When attending a job interview it is therefore vitally important that you display the right body language as well as say the right things. Body language can include facial expressions, gestures and posture.

Stand tall as you walk into the room. Start your interview by giving your interviewer a firm handshake. If you are not confident yours is strong, try it out on family or friends and ask them to comment.

During the interview, remember the following:

Look at the interviewer when replying. If there is more than one interviewer, look primarily at the person who asked the question, but also take care to make eye contact with the others during your answer.

Sit as far back in the chair and lean forward slightly. This suggests you are engaged with the interview process. However, leaning forward too far could be seen as aggressive. An advantage of sitting back is that people who sit nearer the front of the chair can unconsciously find themselves recoiling backwards when asked a tough question, which can create the impression that a question has actually shocked you.

Nod your head a few times, but not excessively, when the interviewer is explaining something. This suggests you are listening attentively. Smile if they say something that is interesting or amusing.

Control your hands. Clasp your hands together or rest them on your thighs, and try and avoid using them to make expressive hand gestures. Also try and avoid folding your arms, which is a very defensive gesture.

Try and avoid fidgeting. There are also a number of smaller things you need to try and avoid doing, as although they can be a sign simply of natural interview nerves, they could also be interpreted as signs of boredom. They include touching your face or hair and jiggling your feet.

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