Watch for these body language “don’ts” to avoid coming across poorly in an interview.
by Erik Folgate
A few weeks back, I was meeting in a meeting with a customer, and I found myself giving off bad body language. Granted, the atmosphere was casual. We were outside in his patio, sitting on patio furniture. But for some reason, I decided to slouch in my chair and rest my foot on the leg of the table. When I realized that I was giving off unprofessional body language, I slowly corrected myself, sat up straight and leaned forward. Slightly leaning forward in a conversation is a great way to show someone that you’re listening and interested in what they have to say.
It made me think about all of the other times that I am in a work setting and how my body language gives off the wrong signals and/or impression. Your first impression with a company is the interview. Your body language WILL speak louder than the garbage coming out of your mouth. A good interviewer or panel of interviewers will read into how you react to a question rather than what you actually say. So, based on my past failings and total stupidity of how to act in a professional manner, here are five body language signs to avoid giving off when you go out for an interview:
- Slouching in your chair. It tells someone that you not interested in the conversation or even in being there.
- Wringing your hands. I do this all the time. Imagine you have a car wash sponge in your hand and you’re wringing it out. If you do the same thing with your hands, it’s a tell-tale sign that you’re nervous.
- Never making eye contact. You don’t want to stare at someone like you’re a psycho, but you also don’t want to stare at the ground the whole time. Appropriate eye contact shows confidence in what you are saying and who you are.
- Crossing your arms. I always tells girls that if they want to attract men, they should stop crossing their arms! It’s a huge turn-off when a girl has her arms crossed the whole time. It makes people think you’re either not interested or you’re not comfortable being around them. If you can’t figure out what to do with your hands or arms in an interview, just fold your hands and put them in your lap.
- Interrupting the interviewer. If you do this, you’ll come across as arrogant and over-confident.
These are only five signs to avoid, but there are many others. If you have one to add, please post in a comment below. It’s important to be aware of your body language in an interview, but you also don’t want to be TOO aware of it. Then, you’ll come across as not being yourself, and you won’t look natural. I know; it’s complicated. But in the end, taking a deep breath and being yourself is the best remedy for making an interview go well.