10 Body Language Don’ts for Job Interviews

body language

A successful job interview is more than just getting the answers right. Hours of studying job interview questions are wasted if your body language sends the wrong message. You may think body language isn’t a big deal, but it’s crucial to making a good first impression. Therefore, you should be aware of bad body language and know how to avoid it. Read our list of body language you should avoid during job interviews.

 

Crossed Arms

Crossed arms signals lack of openness and interest. Your interviewer could interpret this as disinterest or even hostility. Keep your arms in your lap or at your sides to appear more welcoming and positive.


Fidgeting

Fidgeting often accompanies nervousness. Playing with your pen, tapping your feet or shuffling papers are actions you should try to avoid during the job interview. Fidgeting distracts your interviewers and tells them you can’t handle pressure well.

Avoiding Eye Contact

Socially anxious people often have trouble making eye contact. Although you may understand why you don’t make eye contact, other people interpret it as lack of interest. Practice interviewing with a friend and be sure to keep your eyes on the other person while talking. Also, be sure to look strangers such as salespeople or cashiers in the eye when interacting. It will feel more natural once it’s become habit.

Not Smiling

You don’t have to smile the entire interview, but not smiling at all makes you look angry or uninterested. Smile when meeting your interviewer and when saying goodbye. Also try to avoid frowning or looking sad. Use a mirror to practice and pay close attention to facial expressions. You may even want to record yourself practicing questions to see how you actually look to another person.

Slouching

A good posture goes a long way in showing professionalism. If you slouch in your chair or get too relaxed, the hiring manager will see it as an indicator of your overall attitude towards work.

Yawning or Sighing

You may not be conscious of yawning and sighing, but your interviewer definitely will notice. No matter how tired or bored you feel, suppress the urge to yawn or sigh during the interview. These habits not only signal boredom but also a lack of respect and almost guarantee you won’t get the job.

Gum Chewing

Chewing gum has benefits – it can help improve concentration and it freshens breath. The problem is that chewing gum is distracting and unprofessional. If you’re concerned about bad breath during the interview, brush and floss well before the interview. Save the gum for studying or working alone.

Touching Face and Hair

Touching the face and hair not only shows that you’re unsure of yourself but it also looks unprofessional. As with fidgeting, it distracts the interviewer and can negatively impact a hiring manager’s impression of you.

Weak Handshake

A weak handshake shows lack of confidence. When it comes to job interview handshakes you want to hit a happy medium – firm but not to strong.

Excessive Hand Gestures

We all talk with our hands sometimes, but too much hand gesturing appears unprofessional. Try to practice answering interview questions without using your hands.

Don’t ruin an otherwise great interview with body language mistakes. Try mock interviewing with friends and in front of a mirror so that you’re aware of bad body language habits you tend to make. With enough practice, you can learn to control your body language and make a great impression.

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