6 Tips For Job Seekers On Body Language

Body language speaks volumes at a job interview. Everything from your handshake, eye contact, and how you move your extremities when you talk, to your posture when sitting can reveal a lot about you to the hiring manager sitting across from you. Related: 3 Areas Job Seekers Make The Biggest Mistakes If you want to make the right impression, be aware of your own body.


1. Eye Contact.

Eye contact can help you build a personal connection with the interviewer. It is especially important at the time of the handshake and when the interviewer is speaking or asking a question. By giving eye contact, it communicates that you are confident, listening, and engaged. However, there has to be a balance with breaks in between eye contact. If you stare too long, it can come across as being overly aggressive and you may begin to look crazy and creepy.

2. Handshake.

The handshake is a professional point of contact, so how you do it sends a very important message. To come off as confident, you want to be firm, but not overpowering. And on the other end, if your handshake is limp like a dead fish, the interviewer may sense you lack confidence and interest. Women tend to overcompensate and shake hands too firmly so practice on you family members as this is where you make a first impression.

3. Expression.

No matter what you say, if your expression does not match the message, it will not come across. For example, at the time of the first handshake at the job interview, exhibit a smile when you say, “It’s nice to meet you.” When you are talking about one of the most exciting projects you were involved in, your expression should match that, otherwise you’re giving the hiring manager a mixed message.

4. Posture.

The way you sit can impact how others want to communicate with you. If you are leaning back all relaxed, you may leave the hiring manager thinking you’re lazy and not serious about the meeting. If you lean too forward and invade their space, it can come off as too aggressive. What you want is a neutral position – sit straight up on the chair with a slight lean forward to express you’re interested and engaged. You also don’t want to be stiff in posture. It’s unnatural and can make it hard for others to communicate with you comfortably. A good technique is to slightly mirror the interviewer’s posture.

5. Arms.

Many security guards have their arms across their chest. It signals that they are in defense mode. This is the same message that’s sent to the hiring manager when they see a job candidate with arms across their chest. You want to be viewed as approachable, so it’s best to leave your hands to your sides when standing or on your lap/knees when sitting.

6. Excessive Nodding Or Shaking.

Yes, you want to communicate agreement and understanding, but excessive nodding of the head can be seen as being overly agreeable, and you end up looking like a bobble head. One or two nods tagged with a smile is all you need. Along the same lines, be watchful of your extremities like leg kicking (often a result of nerves) or flaring arms as you talk. Maintain self-control of your extremities, keeping your feet flat on the ground and using your hands only when trying to make a gesture. To better prepare for the next job interview, consider doing a video recording of a mock interview. You’ll see habits in your body language that you can practice to correct before the next real job interview! This post was originally published at an earlier date.

Related Posts

3 Keys To Customizing Your Resume 5 Key Areas To Target When Branding Your Resume How To Match Your Skills To A Job With Your Resume

About the author

Don Goodman’s firm was rated as the #1 Resume Writing Service in 2013, 2014, and 2015. Don is a triple-certified, nationally recognized Expert Resume Writer, Career Management Coach and Job Search Strategist who has helped thousands of people secure their next job. Check out his Resume Writing Service. Get a Free Resume Evaluation.   Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a CAREEREALISM-approved expert. You can learn more about expert posts here. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

If you saw our first video, you might have heard about the awkward situation one of our viewers, Diane submitted. She has recently worked with a co-worker on a group project. When it came time to present the project at a meeting, Diane let her co-worker present. While it went great, the co-worker proceed to take credit for nearly all of Diane's work. Frustrating to say the least!

SHOW MORE Show less

In this week's episode of "Well This Happened", we want to know what you would do if your co-worker took credit for the work you did...right in front of your colleagues AND boss!

We want YOU to be the career coach and tell us which one is the RIGHT answer!

Think you know? Vote below, and stay tuned for later this week when we announce the right answer (and why the other ones are wrong).

SHOW MORE Show less

If you saw our first video, you might have heard about the awkward situation one of our viewers, Cam submitted. He's been working at a job for awhile, but recently overheard a hiring manager making fun of a candidate with autism right after an interview-not only awkward, but VERY unprofessional!

SHOW MORE Show less

In this week's episode of "Well This Happened", we want to know what you would do if witnessed a hiring manager at your organization making fun of a candidate who they had just interviewed who had autism.

We want YOU to be the career coach and tell us which one is the RIGHT answer!

Think you know? Vote below, and stay tuned for later this week when we announce the right answer (and why the other ones are wrong).

SHOW MORE Show less

Starting a family is one of the biggest milestones in a person's life. It's in those first few months when a parent can really bond with their newborn and make lifelong memories. However, for some new dads, it can be difficult to juggle being a new parent while remaining dedicated to their career.

Fortunately, some companies have generous paternity leave policies that give new dads the ability to take time off of work to stay home with their child.

SHOW MORE Show less

There are LOTS of questions around resume dos and don'ts. There's so much advice out there that it can be overwhelming to try and figure out what's the correct answer.

During our weekly live Office Hours on YouTube, two of our coaches, Ariella Coombs and J.T. O'Donnell, answer questions live from viewers related to their job search, career success, on the job situations and more.

We complied a simple list of what we find to be the most common questions our coaches get about resumes. We hope you find this helpful.

Let's start with the basics...

SHOW MORE Show less

Back in March, we made the hard decision to change our private Facebook group of over 37 THOUSAND members to a fee-based only platform.

SHOW MORE Show less

In this week's episode of "Well This Happened", we want to know what you would do if a recruiter called you a day EARLY for your phone interview (and you were NOT PREPARED!)

We want YOU to be the career coach and tell us which one is the RIGHT answer!

Think you know? Vote below, and stay tuned for later this week when we announce the right answer (and why the other ones are wrong).

SHOW MORE Show less