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Interview Tip #10: Watch your body language

Watch your body language
Watch your body language
Mary Sherwood Sevinsky

Interview Tip # 10

Watch Your Body Language

Review. Well, you probably have a little better understanding of what the experts mean when they say it is important to prepare for the interview. We are mainly covering the interview “soft skills” in this series. In the next series we will review the “nuts and bolts!”

So far in this series:

Practicing – Over Preparing

Taking Notes

Wearing Appropriate and Comfortable Clothes.

Visit the location the day before the interview

Relax – do try to cram for an important interview

Breathe instead of saying um

Strike a pose to communicate you are thinking


Ask Questions

Watch your body language.

Body language communicates more than we even think about. It goes beyond your face – whether you frown, smile or have a quizzical look send clear messages we all “read” from infancy. So do other body movements and poses.

Smile – you might have to remind yourself to do so during the actual interview, especially if you are nervous. Smiling is important because the interviewer will interpret this as you are pleasant. If you frown or bite your lip during the interview, the employer might come away feeling negatively about you.

Make good eye contact without coming across as staring and making the interviewer wonder if you might be an escapee of some sort. If you are interviewing with more than one person, make brief eye contact with all before answering the question to make them feel included.

Leaning forward shows that you are interested and alert. If you are interviewing, you certainly want to appear interested and alert! Practice sitting slightly forward in everyday conversations with friends. Start by sitting up straight then leaning forward just enough so that your head is a bit forward of your chest. Don’t lean too far forward. Not only will you likely be uncomfortable, but the interviewer might feel you are pushy!

Crossing anything sends the message that you are closed off and negative. Pay attention to your posture overall. Sit up straight and plant both feet on the ground with your arms relaxed in your lap or on the arm of the chair. Practice this now, rather than later. It is important that you feel comfortable during the interview!

Leaning back in your chair may give the impression that you don’t care or are arrogant. By and large, it is interpreted as sloppy in a business setting. You want to put your best foot forward to get hired so be mindful of slouching, even in the waiting room.

Be careful not to fidget, doodle or make faces while the interviewer is speaking or you are thinking. Many of us have nervous habits we are not entirely aware of. This is one of the best reasons to practice face to face for your interview. Start with a friend - Skype, Google Hangouts r FaceTime work great if you don’t have a friend nearby who is willing to assist you.

Be careful of wearing cologne’s or perfume. I would go so far as to recommend wearing none, actually. Many offices have adopted this as a general rule to avoid allergic reactions and to control, well, those who can’t control themselves.

So, to recap:

  • Smile
  • Make good eye contact
  • Lean forward
  • Don’t cross your arms or legs
  • Don’t lean back in your chair
  • Don’t make faces, fidget or doodle

So, you have practiced (see Interview Tip #1), prepared your notes (Tip #2), and have appropriate, comfortable clothes to wear (see Interview Tip #3), Interview Tip #4 shared the importance of visiting the location the day before, and Tip #5, was relax. They all addressed preparation and tips for before the interview. Tip # 6 (Breathe), Tip #7 Strike a pose, Tip #8 Smile, and Tip #9 - Ask Questions and Interview Tip #10 (Watch your body language) deal with that nerve racking During-The-Interview period.

Good Luck!

Here is a list of resources for possible interview questions and other resources:

Articles in my blog


Articles on the Web

Mary Sherwood Sevinsky

Mary is a CAREER AND OCCUPATIONAL CONSULTANT who is masters-prepared and certified. She is a business owner with nearly 20 years of experience in Corporate Management, Career Assessment & Counseling and in writing Career Articles and Educational Materials.

She has worked as a CORPORATE MANAGER experienced in hiring, firing and managing a staff of professionals with a multimillion dollar budget. She enjoys WRITING AND EDITING and has spent many years developing Marketing Materials and Presentations, Writing Proposals and Plans, and Conducting Staff Development Sessions in addition to working as a vocational consultant. Learn more about Mary and her services:

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