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    10 Body Language Mistakes to Ditch For Your Interview

    10 Body Language Mistakes to Ditch For Your Interview Want to speak volumes to a hiring manager without saying a word? Be self-aware and avoid making common body language mistakes that can send the wrong message. Your body language is constantly communicating something during an interview, and it may not be positive.

    10 Body Language Mistakes to Ditch For Your Interview

    Want to speak volumes to a hiring manager without saying a word? Be self-aware and avoid making common body language mistakes that can send the wrong message. Your body language is constantly communicating something during an interview, and it may not be positive.


    “There are so many ways body language can either make you sink or soar during an interview,” said Kathryn M. Partan, principal at Partan Communications LLC. “The main idea here is to release your energy instead of keeping it trapped inside. When released, you’ll look and feel confident. When trapped, anxiety and nerves abound!”


    Your body language is one piece of your overall interview performance, and sometimes it can have an outsized impact. As humans, we’re naturally conditioned to pay attention to visuals. Making the most of your body language during your job interview can help you leave a great impression with a potential employer.


    Below we’re going over 10 body language mistakes you should ditch if you want to put your best foot forward during the job interview.


    10 Body Language Mistakes to Avoid During Interviews-

    1. Slumping

    Don’t give the impression that you’d like to curl up into a ball and be anywhere else! Instead, sit as if there’s a string tied from the top of your head to the ceiling. Similarly, watch your posture when standing. Push your shoulders back, keep your chin up, and stand with your feet slightly apart.


    1. Wandering Eyes

    Do your eyes dart around the room while listening and speaking? Are you guilty of looking at the ceiling or floor rather than people? Such actions make you appear apprehensive and distracted.


    “Make direct eye contact with your interviewer, both while listening and speaking,” Partan said. “You develop immediate rapport, and the interviewer will see you as a confident and competent candidate. Practice this by sharing a story with a friend without breaking eye contact.”


    1. Fiddling With Objects

    An interviewer who witnesses you playing with your jewelry, picking at your fingernails, or twirling your hair may assume you’re bored or impatient. Luckily, this is a body language mistake with an easy remedy. Simply eliminate the source, whether that means leaving your bracelets at home or pulling back your hair. Another trick is to press the fingertips of your hands together to form a church steeple. You’ll display confidence while keeping your nervous digits under control.


    1. Clenching

    Hang tight to a chair’s armrest or glue your hands to the desk’s edge, and you’ll run the risk of looking like a roller coaster rider having second thoughts. Such white-knuckle grips also can lead your pent-up energy to come out in other undesirable forms, such as toe-tapping or chair swiveling.


    A better choice is to use your hands to gesture while speaking to make answers more engaging. As Partan notes, “This makes you look open and interested and allows you to use your energy in a positive way.” Just make sure you don’t overdo it.


    1. Looking Unhappy

    A simple but often overlooked body language mistake is not looking happy to be there. Instantly up your approachability and trustworthiness by smiling. People are naturally drawn to a happy face, and the feel-good chemicals smiling releases into the body will help you stay calm and upbeat.


    “Smiling tells an employer so many things about you, but when we’re nervous, we naturally stop smiling. Practice answering interview questions while reminding yourself to smile. If you don’t smile sometimes during a job interview, it may wrongfully tell them you’re not a positive person, or you’re just not excited about the role or the company,” said Reynolds.


    1. Defensive or Aggressive Body Posture

    Crossing your arms across your chest. Leaning forward a bit too assertively. Invading the interviewer’s personal space. What do these gestures have in common? They all risk coming off as being too, shall we say, “in your face.”


    Probably the last thing you want in an interview is to indicate that you’re one to constantly question or challenge everything at every turn. So, rest your hands in your lap, on the arms of the chair, or anywhere that conveys a sense of calmness and an even-tempered disposition.


    1. Wild Hand or Arm Movements

    You may be super excited about the prospective job, but wild gestures with your hands or arms can seem, well, a bit wacky. Even though you’re enthusiastic, this can still be a body language mistake. But used sparingly and with precision, hand gestures can be a powerful way to make a point, or engage your interviewer in a moment of shared humor, frustration, or camaraderie related specifically to the discussion.


    “The last thing you want to do is distract an employer away from your answers, but using big gestures or talking a lot with your hands will do just that. Some movements and gestures are great and can add to your overall interview performance. But try not to go overboard, or the employer may stop listening to your words because they’re too distracted by your movements,” said Reynolds.


    1. Shrugging

    Shrugging isn’t a good look for any job seeker since it means that you might be indifferent or unhappy with what your interviewer is saying. But shrugging just one shoulder can also indicate that you’re lying, so be careful not to shrug—at all.


    1. Stiffness

    Of course, you’re nervous…it’s a job interview! Many people get a little stiff when nerves are getting the best of them. And of all the possible body language mistakes, this one is the least offensive. Being stiff automatically equates with nervousness, which hiring managers expect.


    But being too stiff can make you appear uncomfortable or unfriendly, so try to loosen up a little before your interview. Smiling as you’re talking is a great way to feel more relaxed!


    1. Sitting Directly in Front of Your Interviewer

    If you’re doing a phone or video interview, you don’t have to worry about where to sit. But when you enter an office for an in-person interview—and there are three chairs to choose from—you might not always know where to sit. A rule of thumb is to sit in the chair at a 45-degree angle from your interviewer’s chair. Being on an angle is more collegial and less combative, which can help make you both feel more comfortable.


    Speak Without Saying a Word

    Body language mistakes can hurt your chances of getting a job. So, study up on these tips to ace your next interview with positive body language that shows you’re the right candidate for the position!


    And if you want some expert feedback on your body language during an interview, consider scheduling a mock interview with a StartWorkNow career coach. You’ll get detailed, personalized feedback that will help you ace your job interviews! Schedule your appointment today!