Job Seeker Blog - Spark Hire

Proper Body Language and Behavior For an Interview

You’ve searched through thousands of jobs, sent out hundreds of applications and have finally been asked to take part in an interview. This is exciting news and a great sense of accomplishment washes over you. You have finally caught the eye of an employer and all of your hard work has paid off. However, you’re hard work isn’t over yet.

Being asked to have an interview is a very large step towards employment, but it certainly isn’t the last one. Instead of preparing your resume and applications, now you have to prepare yourself for the interview. Whether it’s an in-person video or an online video like the ones conducted on Spark Hire, a lot of factors go into an employers decision process. You are no doubt preparing yourself for your answers to possible questions and how you will verbally portray that you are the best candidate, but what about your non-verbal communication?

What you do with your hands, how you sit, your eye contact and many other factors may not be on your mind before you walk into an interview, but they definitely should be. In fact, the majority of the message we send to others comes from body language and non-verbal communication rather than verbal communication. That said, take a look at some of these tips Spark News put together for you so you can have a good idea of the kind of body language that is expected of you in an interview. Keep in mind that these tips apply for both in-person interviews and online interviews. If you are engaging in an online interview, you may think that your body language is less important, but the interviewer can see you just the same and will pick up on your non-verbal communication messages just as they would in an in-person interview.

Greeting
As soon as an employer sees you, they are making an opinion of you. How you are dressed and how you hold yourself together are the first things they see. For a video interview, you want to make sure you are all ready and composed before you start. It’s a good idea to enter the interview 15 minutes before and fix your hair, tie or clothing before the interviewer enters. If they sign on to the interview and the first thing you are doing is fixing your hair or picking at your face, you didn’t make a great first impression. If you have an in-person interview, situate yourself before you even walk into the office. Fix your tie, brush or fix your hair and pull your stockings up outside of the office so the chances of them seeing you do this are completely eliminated. When you go to shake the interviewers hand, look them in the eye and give them a firm handshake. A dead fish handshake is by far the worst and often leaves the other person confused or annoyed. I can personally adhere to this handshake tip. When I interviewed for my last position, my editor greeted me and gave me the worst handshake I have ever received. She extended her hand but when I went to shake it, she just let it flop there, uninterested and uncaring. I was extremely confused and, quite frankly, a little angry. Why didn’t she shake my hand? I lacked a bit of respect for her after that, so please keep this in mind and stay far away from the dead fish handshake.

Eye Contact
Eye contact is so important because it is the best way to show the other person that you are fully engaged in the conversation and are giving them your full attention. When an interviewer asks you a question, look them in the eye as you answer for at least 10 seconds at a time before looking away. This shows that you are confident in your answer and sure of yourself. Failure to look the interviewer in the eye gives the message that you are uninterested or not paying attention. Even more, looking down at the floor or at your hands gives the impression that you lack self-confidence or are being insincere.

Watch Your Hands
As you sit there in front of the interviewer, either in person or online, you should be mindful of what you are doing with your hands. Certain gestures or habits can give the interviewer the wrong impression, so you’ll want to stay away from those.

Things not to do:
-Don’t rub your neck or the back of your head with your hand. It makes it look as though you are uninterested in the interview or what the interviewer has to say.
-Don’t slouch or sit hunched over.
-Don’t rub or touch your nose or face. It may sound odd, but body language experts will tell you that this is a tell-tale sign that you’re lying.
-Don’t cross your arms. This is a defensive stance and can throw off the interviewer.
-Don’t answer with head nods or shakes. This is clearly unprofessional and you want to show the interviewer that you care enough to use your voice.

Instead of the above, find a comfortable place to rest your hands- either on the table or in your lap. Don’t fidget or move around constantly as this is distracting and can give the interviewer the impression that you are nervous or uncomfortable. Sit up straight in your chair and keep your ankles crossed or both of your feet on the ground. If you rest your ankle on your knee it gives the impression that you are too casual and if you cross your legs at your thighs it’s defensive. Plus, moving your legs around constantly is very distracting. Leaving both feet on the ground is the best option.

For the best impressions, don’t chew gum or have a mint in your mouth while interviewing as it can be very distracting. Plus, it doesn’t help you look very professional, so leave the gum for after or before the interview. A lot of these things are common sense, but it’s very easy to forget about them. By reminding yourself of these tips before you go into an interview, you can greatly increase your chances of getting the job and it will help you to exude the best you possible.

IMAGE: Courtesy of Self Esteem Enhances Life

Nicole Nicholson

Nicole is the Content Editor for Spark Hire and mainly writes for and edits the work for the Spark News blog. She graduated in 2010 with a BA in Journalism from DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois. She has a passion for writing, editing, and pretty much anything to do with content. In her free time she frequents the Chicago music scene and writes reviews on shows for her own personal blog. Connect with Nicole and Spark Hire on Facebook and Twitter