Does body language during a job interview, matter?

October 20, 2017

Picture this; you are running late for an interview and reach your destination panting, full of anxiety. As soon as you meet your interviewer, you drop your files and then make things awkward with an equally awkward handshake. During the interview, you keep tapping your fingers, looking here and there, with a standard smile plastered on your face. Post the interview, you don’t get the job, and you think that you are maybe not qualified enough.

 But is that what it is?


“Body language is a very powerful tool. We had body language before we had speech, and apparently, 80% of what you understand in a conversation is read through the body, not the words.” – Deborah Bull


The power of nonverbal communication should never be underestimated. Your body language will have a profound impact on how you are perceived by other people. At a job interview, the interviewer will judge you through your body language as soon as he/she sees you, even before you’ve uttered a single word.  Employers would always want candidates who look confident and seem genuine.

 Let’s look at some of the things that you need to keep in mind about your body language that will help you make a positive impression in front of the interviewer:


Making eye contact

“Your eyes show the strength of your soul.”


One of the best ways to inform the interviewer that you are attentive is through eye contact. If you are looking away too much from the interviewer, it shows that you are not confident about yourself and also portrays you as an untrustworthy person. However, that does not mean that you should stare blankly at your interviewer. That will give the impression that either you are aggressive or simply weird.

 Maintain eye contact as naturally as you can. Also, if there are more than one people taking your interview, you must make eye contact with all of them.



“You are never fully dressed without a smile.”


A warm smile can add a lot to your personality and is a very important body language feature for any conversation. When you smile, it shows that you have a pleasing personality and someone that people would like to be around.

Smiling and nodding at the right time, along with laughing when the interviewer laughs is also a sign that you are paying attention to what he/she is saying.

One thing to remember is that your smile should seem genuine and natural. Do not plaster a fake smile on your face for the whole time or a tensed one. It should be a spontaneous and genuine one, in the same manner, that you smile when you meet someone for the first time – warm and welcoming.


Shaking hands

An interview should always start by shaking hands with your interviewer.



“A firm handshake allows you to demonstrate yourself as a confident person, creates a bond instantly and ensures that your interviewer will remember you. All of this in just 3 seconds!”


Shake your hands firmly, but warmly with your interviewer. Do not squeeze too hard in a bid to make a firm handshake. Moreover, make sure the handshake is a brief one. A long handshake is a very awkward thing to happen in an interview.



In your whole interview process, your objective should be to show that you are a confident candidate.  Sit and stand straight without slouching. Do not cross your arms and sit, as it makes you look defensive.

If it is possible, instead of sitting in a position straight across your interviewer, try sitting at an angle to make it feel less confrontational.

Overall, you need to be respectful and maintain a professional distance. Ask your questions in a conversational and friendly manner. And ensure that your goodbye is as graceful as your hello.


While on a telephonic interview

A telephonic interview means that the interviewer cannot see you. So if you think you can lie down in the bed in your pyjamas during the process and that won’t affect the interview, you should think again.

Maintaining a good body language is equally important in a telephonic interview. Remember to –


      Stand up – You will sound more energetic and confident, which is very important when you are giving an interview

      In case you are sitting, sit straight – When you sit up straight, you generally tend to take full breaths, which makes your voice sound better

     Have a relaxed posture – Remember that if you are tensed, it will definitely show in your voice. You may think it will not affect your conversation, but there are full possibilities that it can have a negative impact. Keeping yourself calm and relaxed will project you as a confident and friendly person.

       No unnecessary noises – Refrain from tapping your foot or the pen on the table. These sounds are audible over the phone and the interviewer will know that you are nervous.

So the next time you schedule a pre-screening interview or take a telephonic interview on you know the precautions to take when it comes to body language.

There are a few things that are a certain no-no when you are in the middle of a job interview:

  1. Slouching – You should be relaxed during an interview process, but your body language should not portray that you are too relaxed with a ‘not bothered’ attitude. Make sure you are not sitting in a hunched position, or in a lazy manner with your hands and legs spread in every direction. It is important to keep your posture perfect.

  1. Touching your face – It is believed that touching your face too often or playing with your hair in the middle of an interview makes you seem untrustworthy and dishonest. Apart from that, rubbing your head also gives out the signal that maybe you are disinterested or bored in the whole process.

  1. Fidgeting – Putting your leg up and down, tapping your fingers or drumming them on the table, shifting too much in your place etc.  are signs of impatience and show that you are bored.  This is definitely not something that you would want your interviewer to think about you in the first meeting.

When you are focused and interested in your conversations, and keep your posture confident, be assured that you have reached a step ahead in cracking the interview and bagging the job. Download the interviewfox mobile app and start taking telephonic interviews to find the job that you’ll love!