You’ve landed an interview with a great company, and now it’s time to prepare. You’ve probably already looked up common interview questions and created your answers, practicing them in the mirror until they fall out of your mouth without sounding too forced. But have you put any thought into your body language strategy?
Body language is commonly ignored, but it makes up 93% of communication. As your job recruiters might tell you, he right body language exudes confidence and intelligence, setting you apart from other candidates—and the wrong body language can ruin that all-important first impression.
Here are 10 body language tips to remember during your next interview:
1. Keep your back straight
Some people recommend leaning all the way back in your chair, others think you should lean slightly forward to show interest, but everyone agrees on one thing: you don’t want to be slouching during a job interview. Slouching gives the impression of laziness, and “lazy” is the last word you want to be associated with.
2. Go for face contact, not eye contact
Staring directly into somebody’s eyes is a little disconcerting for everyone involved. Instead, aim to keep your eyes on their face, only occasionally making actual eye contact. This shows that you’re engaged without making anyone uncomfortable.
3. Nod along
Nodding when your interviewer completes a sentence shows that you’re paying attention and that you actually understand what they’re saying. Just make sure you aren’t nodding the entire time, or the interviewer will know you’re only doing it because a list like this one told you to.
4. Keep your feet grounded
Keeping both feet firmly planted on the ground during a job interview improves your circulation and focus. It’s also important not to cross your legs, as this could damage blood flow during a long interview and switching legs may be considered fidgeting.
5. Fight those nervous habits
The instinct to fidget—whether it’s nail biting, foot tapping, or hair twirling—when you’re nervous is natural, but it doesn’t look good to an interviewer. You want to appear calm, cool and collected. That means absolutely no fidgeting.
6. Use hand gestures
Your secondary impulse might be to hide your hands or fold them in your lap, but both of these can be mistaken for distrustful or defensive behavior. Using hand gestures while you speak prevents both of these behaviors, prevents you from fidgeting, and gives you an air of authority.
7. Keep your palms visible
Making your palms visible is a subconscious signal that you trust your interviewer and that you’re being honest with them. Your hand gestures should also be open, with movements away from your body, to make you appear more confident.
8. Consider taking notes
Nothing makes you seem attentive more than note-taking. It’s also a great way to keep your hands busy when you’re fighting the urge to fidget. Of course, you want to make sure you don’t get so engrossed in taking notes that you don’t look up at the interviewer. Face contact is near the top of this list for a reason.
9. Breathe deeply
Breathing deeply keeps you calm and helps you seem more confident—and it gives you lots of air for answering those questions you’ve memorized. Most experts recommend inhaling when you’re asked a question and answering on the exhale.
10. Always accept water
If you’re offered water at the beginning of an interview, take it! The last thing you need is a parched throat halfway through, and many people consider it rude to decline an offered drink. As an added bonus, a cup is one more thing you can use to keep your hands from fidgeting.