Interview success tips: body language

Up to 80% of what we communicate comes from how we come across visually, not what we say. This seems unfair if you feel nervous at job interviews, but you can use it to your advantage.

Here are some tips on using body language to look confident and professional at interviews and help your succeed:

1. Shaking hands: wait for the interviewer to offer theirs to you (to show that you know they are in charge) and shake their hand firmly.

2. Shutting the door: try to do it without turning your back on the panel, and then sit down without turning away.

3. Smile while you shake hands - and make eye contact.

4. When you sit down, make sure your chair is where you want it to be. Sit directly opposite the interviewer so that you don't need to twist in the chair to see them.

5. Sit up straight, with your back against the seat (unless this means your feet dangle). Don’t be casual or look too much at home; you will seem over-familiar and unprofessional. Slouching can make you look bored or rude.

6. Try to sit reasonably still; try to avoid tapping your foot or shuffling around in the chair. If you’ve brought your CV, make sure you don't fiddle with it.

7. Hands: put your hands on the table if there is one, and in your lap if there isn’t. Use them for emphasis only. Avoid pointing as this can appear aggressive. Crossing your arms looks defensive. Don’t put your hands in your pockets.

8. Engage with all the members of a panel. Look everyone in the eye, not just the person who’s asking the questions; the others are listening. And sometimes the most important person may decide not to ask any questions.

10. Stay in control of your facial expressions, even if the question is a tough one. Avoid eye rolling, frowning, pulling back to indicate dislike.

For more information, see these websites:

Body language at interview: How to send the right signal

Body language: Interview dos and don’ts

Body Language Can Make or Break a Job Interview

How body language affects your interview technique

And some fun... Job interview body language