The right body language for a confident appearance in interviews

August 04, 2021  •  Reading Time: 7 min.

How to master body language during the job interview

Body language is considered a mirror of the soul.

We all know the feeling: tension, nervousness and a slight uncertainty about what to expect in the upcoming job interview. Body language can certainly be seen as a mirror of our state of mind. Our interviewer can quickly tell how we are feeling by our facial expressions, gestures and intonation.

That’s why it’s important to take a look at your body language before an interview, so you can present yourself as confidently and calmly as possible.

Two men shaking hands sitting at a table, wearing a white button-down, confidence appearance, smiling confidently while mastering his body language during a job interview

This article will help you identify the connection between different states of mind and body language. This will allow you to consciously use your body language to your advantage in the future.

Body language: the most important form of nonverbal communication

ℹ️ Body language includes all conscious and unconscious signals of the body that provide information about a person’s emotional state or intentions. This includes all non-verbal gestures, facial expressions, posture and movement.

Anyone who interprets body language correctly has a great advantage when communicating with others.

He or she can adjust to the emotional state of his or her counterpart and more easily create a trusting conversational atmosphere. This has a positive effect in both private and professional life. At the same time, understanding non-verbal signals is the first step towards being able to use one’s own body language in a targeted manner. The aim here is not to intentionally deceive other people, but to underpin one’s own statements with an authentic and self-confident appearance.

How to use body language during an interview?

Not only what you say is important, but also your body language during the interview.

A confident appearance and a convincing presentation have a positive effect on the application and can give you an advantage over other candidates or help you to achieve the desired goal. Direct eye contact, a firm handshake, and smiles throughout the interview: positive body language has a big impact and shows the interviewer that you carry an openness to possible connections and want to make a great impression.

Two people sitting at the table during a job interview, one holding a resume, the other one talking confidently and showing confidence with his body language

What is the right posture in a job interview?

Crossed arms? Not a good idea! Open posture and passionate hand gestures? Go for it!

Admittedly: our body language is a spontaneous and not always easily directable expression of our inner life. Unconsciously, we send nonverbal signals to our interview partners through our body posture. However, you can learn to be mindful of your own body language during an interview and slightly adapt it to the specific situation.

Posture reveals a lot about character and mood

Posture, i.e. the way we walk or sit, reveals a lot about our character and our current mood.

A relaxed yet upright posture signals dynamism, composure and self-confidence. If, on the contrary, a person sits slumped and restless in their chair, this is a clear sign that they are not feeling well and are not quite sure of themselves.

The breaking away of the voice is also a clear signal of strong nervousness and insecurity. A calm, yet accentuated tone creates confidence and gives the interview a pleasant framework. Since, in addition to professional statements, a job interview also depends considerably on how you present yourself to the outside world, you should pay particular attention to the following aspects during your next interview:

Two people sitting in chairs, wearing business clothes and holding paper in their hands

7 body language tips: what you should keep in mind during the job interview

Legs, feet, hands, fingers, head, hair, face, chin – even the way of breathing: there are so many things you could possibly watch out for.

Many candidates find it difficult to control their movements, make eye contact and practice active listening at the same time. And then, of course, you are the person being interviewed. So you should not just move your lips but also pay attention to what comes out of your mouth. But don’t worry too much, we have some tips for you on how to master the interview with confidence!

1. It’s okay for the interviewer to sense some tension

Despite all your efforts to keep your body language under control, the person you are talking to is allowed to sense a certain amount of tension. This shows him or her that you are seriously interested in the position and that you are by no means indifferent to the outcome of the interview.

2. Do not cross your arms

Everyone knows it: What should I do with my hands? The biggest mistake would be to cross your arms in order to avoid the “hand problem.” Your counterpart could interpret this posture as rejection. Place your hands either calmly on the table or on your legs.

3. Watch your feet

The same applies to your feet. Shoving them under the chair makes you look very timid. On the other hand, outstretched feet can also send the wrong signal, namely that you are overly relaxed. So place your feet as vertically and steadily as possible on the floor.

4. Maintain balanced eye contact

During the interview, you should also make sure to maintain balanced eye contact with your counterpart. Continuous staring can have a very unpleasant effect. Constant avoidance of the gaze, on the other hand, conveys great insecurity and possibly a lack of self-confidence. Find a healthy balance between direct eye contact and occasionally shifting to other landmarks.

5. Wild gesticulating creates restlessness and distraction

Avoid incessant, wild gesturing with your hands to emphasize your verbal statements. This creates uneasiness and, in the worst case, distracts from your professional conviction. Gestures such as a clenched fist or an extended index finger could indicate an aggressive or overly dominant personality. In contrast, open palms and calm movements give the impression of competence and inner balance.

6. Your voice is an important tool

Your voice with all its facets is one of your most important tools to convince your counterpart of yourself. Therefore, try to consciously control and use your pitch and tone. Calm abdominal breathing will give you the necessary composure and a pleasant tone. Nervously gasping for air makes your voice break away and creates restlessness. Take your time when speaking and don’t rush your counterpart through the conversation.

7. Practice makes perfect

Now you’re probably thinking, “These tips sound all well and good, but once I’m sitting in a job interview, I might toss them away anyway out of nervousness and tension.” That is why you should practice job interviews with friends or family. Familiar settings with well-known faces are often better for rehearsing the above tips than with strangers. If necessary, videotape them and then analyze your behavior in specific situations.

Woman dressed in black with glasses smiling and showing a thumbs up in front of a beige background

Conclusion

Once you walk through the door on your job interview, the stage is yours!

The first thing the interviewer will pay attention to is your handshake, then to whether you make eye contact. After sitting down on a chair, your legs should be uncrossed and please keep them at rest. A suggestion for your head: you can tilt your head slightly when the recruiter is talking and you are listening. Maintain eye contact. Show an open expression on your face and it is not forbidden to smile! When it’s your turn to speak, you can use your hands to accentuate your points.

If you use our body language tips above, you will definitely impress the interviewer and outperform the other candidates!

Above all, don’t forget the two things that are most important during any interview:

authenticity and honesty.

FAQ

How important is body language in an interview?

It certainly plays a decisive role in the job interview. Only when the nonverbal signals match the applicant’s statements does a coherent image emerge and thus credibility and authenticity, which are key factors in the application process.

What are common interview body language signals?

Eye contact and smiling in particular are important factors in body language and nonverbal communication. Anyone who maintains eye contact signals interest and open-mindedness. The smile, in turn, is the perfect icebreaker and radiates sympathy.

How do you control body language in an interview?

First of all, you can’t impress the interviewer by absolutely “controlling” all your gestures and putting a forced smile on your face. Simply check your posture from time to time. If you feel comfortable during the interview as a whole, it will definitely show!