Check Your Body Language for These Ten Mistakes

John Krautzel
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Your future boss scrutinizes every word you say during an interview. However, your movements and mannerisms also affect the way the people in front of you react to your interview. Your body language during an interview can determine your outcome just as much as your qualifications, experience and skills. Avoid these 10 mistakes in nonverbal communication while sitting down with your potential employer.

1. Failing to Make Eye Contact

Nearly 70 percent of hiring managers listed failing to make eye contact as their candidates' biggest body language faux pas. Making eye contact shows your engagement with your interviewers; failing to maintain it could make you seem unenthusiastic, disinterested or even disrespectful.

2. Forgetting to Smile

Even if you're nervous about the interview, don't forget to smile. Not smiling was listed by 39 percent of hiring managers as another body language mistake.

3. Fidgeting

Don't fidget with an object on the table or in your hands. That means don't pick up a pen, a paperclip, your car keys or your phone. Fidgeting belies your nervousness within the context of your body language. Keep your hands folded in your lap in front of you.

4. Displaying Bad Posture

Bad posture makes you uncomfortable, and it looks uncomfortable. In terms of your body language, bad posture shows that you might not be comfortable with your interviewers. Keep your feet on the floor, sit with your back against the back of the chair, and lean forward slightly to show you're paying attention to what people say.

5. Moving in Your Chair

Much like fidgeting with a pen on the table, constantly moving around in your chair also shows you're uncomfortable. Your interview represents your time to shine and show your comfort level with the position.

6. Playing With Your Hair or Face

Another sign of nervousness comes out when you play with your hair or face. Give your hands something else to do by keeping them folded in your lap. Pay attention to your body, and simply remember what you rehearsed over the past week to get past your fears.

7. Crossing Your Arms

Crossing your arms over your chest denotes a defensive stance that seems standoffish. Get past this habit by subtly mimicking the behavior of each interviewer as he speaks. Once you observe the behavior in the person in front of you, wait a few seconds, and then mirror the other person's movements. Again, this shows your engagement with others in the room.

8. Using Too Many Hand Movements

Hand gestures are fine as you try to illustrate your points, but don't wave your hands in the air as a constant movement. Always moving is a way to burn off your energy, but that's not appropriate in an interview.

9. Handshaking Too Gently

Don't display a weak handshake when you first walk into the room. This connotes a lack of confidence in yourself and your abilities.

10. Handshaking Too Firmly

Your handshake can also be too strong. You don't want to put your interviewers' hands in a death grip.

When getting ready for an interview, sidestep these 10 mistakes by practicing your body language beforehand. Make your nonverbal cues a part of your preparation.

Photo courtesy of imagerymajestic at


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