Using Body Language to Your Advantage During an Interview

This blog post was written by Intern Queen Campus Ambassador Kevin Loder from the University of Oregon.


Hold on a second - How is your posture right now? Take a moment to audit your body language. Now imagine you're in an interview. What would you do differently? Your nonverbal communication during an interview can be just as important as what you say. It's natural to make judgments and assessments when people first meet. Those first impressions can significantly affect decisions about who gets hired. The goal is to display postures that show confidence, but do not out-power the interviewer.

Here are five body language tips to present yourself as best as possible:

Rehearse your gestures. In addition to practicing how to respond to questions, also practice your body language beyond the handshake. Check with your campus career center for practice interviews with staff members. Stay off your phone. Don't check your phone while you wait to be interviewed. Looking down at it creates a low power pose first impression. It can also cause you to fumble the handshake as you put it away. Out of sight, out of mind.

Don't create barriers. Minor detail, but avoid placing objects, such as a pen or folder, between you and the interviewer. Place the items to the side. Also remember to keep your hands at your sides or behind you, not crossed.

It's rude to stare! The absence of any nonverbal communication at all is uncomfortable; a blank stare typically means anger or disinterest. Nod and shake when appropriate and maintain eye contact.

Look them in both eyes. If you're only looking a person in the eye, literally just one eye and not both, you're probably nervous and feel unprepared. Take a deep breath, ask for clarification if needed, and remember that it's fine to occasionally break eye contact.

You've got this! Your written communication in your resume and cover letter got you the interview, you know what to say, but practice your nonverbal communication too. Remember that your eyes show a true smile.

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