Tag Archives: body language

Body Language: When You Ruin Your Interview Without Opening Your Mouth

In an ideal world, interviews would purely be about your skills and accomplishments. An interview would consist of placing your resume in a machine and watching it match you to the perfect position.

But we aren’t just our resumes. We’re people. Each one of us has our own personality, culture, and worldview. Those differences are what make successful teams.

However, your personal quirks are being reviewed in an interview just as much as your resume. An interviewer wants to know who you are as a person and how that fits into their particular team dynamic.

Unfortunately, there are certain habits or body language that can immediately dissuade an interviewer from hiring you. And you’ll never know what they are without someone to tell you. Luckily we’re here to do just that, using information from a CareerBuilder study.

Failure to Make Eye Contact

This was number one on CareerBuilder’s list of the biggest body language mistakes. And it makes sense—failure to make eye contact means three things to interviewers:

  1. You’re not confident in your skills. You might be meek or afraid to take on challenges.
  2. You aren’t a people person. Most jobs require some degree of human interaction, and not being able to handle an interviewer’s gaze doesn’t bode well for interacting with customers or other employees.
  3. You might be easily distracted. Lack of eye contact can sometimes come across as not paying attention.

Here’s how to know if you struggle with eye contact:

  • Go somewhere with someone in authority. It might a meeting with a professor, dinner with the in-lawws, or an appointment with your doctor. Challenge yourself to maintain eye contact with them during an entire interaction. If you can’t, you might have a problem.
  • Hold mock interviews with your friends or family. Have them ask hard questions, and try not to look away too often.
  • It’s important to note here that good eye contact is not constant eye contact. You don’t want to make your interviewer uncomfortable by staring at them constantly.

Failure to Smile

Here we have number two on CareerBuilder’s list. It’s easy to tell why this one is a problem. Your interviewer might think:

  1. You don’t like interacting with others and might be a problem on team projects or in customer service positions.
  2. You don’t really want the job in the first place. (Why are you here?)
  3. You dislike your interviewer.

If you’re a person who doesn’t smile very often, you’re probably aware of it. Friends might bring it up from time to time, saying you need to smile more often. And honestly? It’s ok if you’re not a super smiler. Some of us just aren’t.

But in an interview, you do need to smile. For all of the reasons stated above. Remember, your interviewer doesn’t know who you are as a person. They’re basing their entire approximation of who you are based on a 40 to 60-minute interview. So, you need to do everything you can to show them you’re right for the job.

Playing with Something on the Table/Fidgeting Too Much in His/Her Seat

These came in at third and fourth, respectively, on CareerBuilder’s list. We’re including them in the same section since they’re similar types of behavior.

An interviewer is here to speak with you. They expect to be your main point of focus. You should answer questions promptly and succinctly. If you’re engaging in the behaviors outlined above they might think:

  1. You’re bored and don’t want to be in the interview.
  2. You won’t be able to focus on projects if they hire you.
  3. You won’t be able to handle the pressure of the job in general.

Also, you shouldn’t touch anything on the desk unless prompted by your interviewer.

This is another behavior you might not be aware of. Next time you’re watching TV or talking to someone that outranks you, check how long you can stay completely still. If it’s an issue, take a few moments each day to meditate or sit still.

Not Quite Sure How to Up Your Interview Game?

Express Employment Professionals can help.

We have a video about interviewing in our Job Genius educational program.

And, if you’re looking for a job and more interviews in general, call your local office. Our recruiters will work with you to figure out your interview strengths and weaknesses.

Check out our online office locator to find a location near you and schedule an in-person visit, or apply online.


Ted Talk– Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are

Have you ever heard the saying “actions speak louder than words?” Amy Cuddy, a social scientist and associate professor in the Negotiation, Organizations, and Markets unit at Harvard Business School, firmly believes that saying to be true. Cuddy‘s research on non-verbal body language reveals that we have the ability to change other people’s perceptions and our own body chemistry simply by changing our body positions.

In fact Amy has pinned the saying, “Our bodies change our minds, our minds can change our behavior, and our behavior can change our outcomes.” Changing your body language can take time, but it is worth it. Amy believes as your posture and body language improves, your thoughts will soon change for the better as well. Our body language affects how others see us, but it can also change how we see ourselves.

Amy is well known for coining the term “power posing,” which means standing in a posture of confidence, even when you don’t feel very confident. This stance can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain and can potentially have an impact on your chances for success.

“Don’t fake it till you make it. Fake it till you become it,” is a motto Amy lives by and it’s great advice for job seekers to live by as well. Whether you’re searching for a job or preparing for an interview, your body language can make or break you.

What are some mottos you live by? Share with us in the comments section below.



What Your Body Language Could be Telling Your Boss

BodyLanguage_May2011_web There are countless ways to communicate, yet not all forms require verbal interaction. Body language is an admittedly subjective way to judge what a person is feeling or thinking. Whether you want others to know what you’re thinking or not, we all give signals as to what is going on in our mind with simple gestures throughout the day. Learning to master this unspoken language will improve your communication skills and possibly your relationship with employers and co-workers as well.

Watch Your Arms.
When you fold your arms during a meeting or when talking to a co-worker, you could be demonstrating disinterest or disagreement. While folding your arms may be out of habit rather than disinterest, it could give the wrong impression to whomever you are speaking with. If you fold your arms out of habit, focus on clasping your hands in your lap instead. This small adjustment can improve your poor body language and help you display the right message to your audience.

Watch Your Audience.
Eye contact demonstrates attentiveness and confidence. Holding eye contact during an important discussion will reassure him or her that you are indeed listening and confident in your responses. When focusing on maintaining eye contact, make it as natural as possible. Rather than staring at one member of your audience, allow your eyes to occasionally shift from person to person so everyone feels included and a part of the conversation. Good eye contact is perhaps one of the most difficult traits to practice, but one of the most noticed.

Watch Your Mouth.
Smiling is the simplest nonverbal signal of all. Smiles come in grades from ecstatic to content. Know the importance of smiling, and when to use which smile. Interacting with co-workers is an important time to smile in a friendly, joyful manner. However, during a meeting, displaying a calm, interested smile will confirm your interest in your job and its requirements. Often we become so caught up in our work that we forgot to smile, forcing others to question if we are truly happy while working. Smiling is an easy yet effective way to improve your body language immediately.

Understanding your body language is something that is learned over time. The key is self-awareness and a willingness to change. Understand that despite our mother’s advice, the majority of us initially judge a book by its cover and you are certainly no exception.  Choose wisely when making your next nonverbal statement, and your career will thank you.