Here’s an interesting issue to consider: if the job candidate is a woman and the interviewer is a man, is it appropriate for her to cross her legs?
First of all, it’s important to understand something about fundamental comfort. Crossing of the legs during an interview is not necessarily a gender thing; men do it as well, and the reason is because it is much easier on the lower back when sitting if at least one knee is elevated above the hip. Let’s not forget that sometimes interviews are sometimes lengthy.
BUT, body language speaks!
For women during an interview, however, there are “body language” and cultural baggage issues associated with crossing one’s legs – and some of it in fact does relate to comfort.
When a man crosses his legs, he usually leans back as well, suggesting a “casual” attitude. This is probably not the best idea during a formal interview.
When a woman does this, she does not necessarily lean back, however. And, if she is wearing a skirt, the hemline will invariably ride up, displaying the limb in question in a more-or-less attractive – and in the opinion of many men, provocative – manner. (Many may remember the infamous “interview” scene in the film Basic Instinct in which Sharon Stone – always easy on the eye in any situation – seductively threw one shapely leg over the other to the delight of almost every heterosexual male in the audience.)
It’s a sticky situation for a woman…particularly one with attractive legs.
After all, despite the fact that men are what they are, an interview is a professional situation. One does not want to come off as if she is attempting to use sexual persuasion to get a job – and despite the way it is depicted in popular culture, this rarely works – and in any event, says more about a man’s character than it does a woman’s.
Solution? Eliminate the issue.
For women overly concerned about this issue, there is a very simple solution. She should wear a nice business pant suit or slacks to the interview, preferably something loose-fitting that downplays her sexual charms. Either that, or an ankle-length skirt or dress.
Provided she is sitting erect and looks as if she is alert and paying attention, in such an outfit the crossing of the legs should not be an issue, except insofar as it relieves pressure on the lower back by elevating one knee.
[This article was originally posted on an earlier date]
Teena Rose is a 11-year executive resume writer and job search strategist. She’s also the founder of Resume to Referral, a professional resume writing service.
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