5 Body Language Tips That Will Help You Succeed in an Interview

Published: Mar 01, 2017

 Career Readiness       Internships       Interviewing       Job Search       
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Proper body language is important, especially since approximately 93 percent of all daily communication is nonverbal. It’s particularly important in interviews, where the first impression you make can determine whether you land the job or not. Below, we’ve listed five of the most important body language tips for a successful interview.

1. Mirror your interviewer

You might not know that imitating someone’s body language can actually make that person like you more. Called the Chameleon Effect, this psychological phenomenon describes our natural tendency to imitate others’ speech patterns and physical gestures. Since people feel a greater rapport with those who mimic them, the next time you’re in an interview, you might consider subtly imitating the body language of your interviewer. Something as small as tapping your foot or repeating a phrase the interviewer used can cause the person to feel a greater connection with you and potentially advance you to the next round of the interview process.

2. Talk with your hands

Gesturing with your hands when you speak not only helps you express your thoughts more effectively but also makes others understand you better. Studies have shown that people who frequently use hand gestures are perceived as warm, agreeable, and energetic, whereas those who are less dynamic appear logical, cold, and analytical. The connection between gesture and speech stems from the brain; a region called Broca’s area is active both when we speak and when we wave our hands. As follows, gesturing can help you form clearer thoughts and speak more concisely. So, the next time you have an interview, make an effort to talk with your hands—in moderation, of course.

3. Try a power pose

Striking a “power pose” is an easy way to boost your confidence before an interview. According to social psychologist Amy Cuddy, power posing can be more effective than typical confidence-boosting exercises such as talking yourself up. She describes power poses as open stances, in which you take up a lot of space and hold your hands and legs away from your body. Cuddy recommends that before an interview you strike a pose such as “The Performer,” in which you throw your hands in the air and widen your stance, as if you’re accepting applause after a performance. By assuming the stance of a powerful person minutes before your interview, you will feel more confident in the interview itself.

4. Minimize fidgeting

You should try to refrain from making any nervous gestures over the course of the interview. Whether it be twirling your hair, picking your nails, or tapping your foot, anxious behavior will only hurt you in an interview. Fidgeting indicates that you are stressed, and it can make the interviewer uneasy as well. What’s more, nervous gestures can distract the interviewer from what you’re saying and even undermine your credibility. You should make an effort to remain still during the interview, to project an image of calmness and confidence.

5. Perfect your handshake

As both the first and last impression you give an interviewer, your handshake is extremely important. A bone-crushing handshake can make you seem overbearing and imply that you are trying to overcompensate for something. On the flip side, a weak handshake can make you appear frail and less capable as a job candidate. You should aim to strike a balance between the two by giving a firm handshake and looking your interviewer in the eye, which will make you seem credible and confident. A strong handshake can help you make a great impression, and who knows, it might even push you over the tipping point to land you the job.