How The Wrong Body Language Can Hurt Your Interview

Chelsea Lawler

Throughout the job interview process, you may be faced with questions that may conjure up negative thoughts you longed to suppress. Did you have an overbearing, rude boss? Were you terminated from your last position? Regardless of what the negative experiences may be, it is imperative you keep your body language neutral. The way you carry yourself, in regards to your posture or facial expressions, will send an immediate signal to the interviewer that you are uncomfortable or upset. So, how do you handle your body language when faced with a difficult or negative question? We will explore two areas of negativity and how to handle your body language like a professional.

1. Are You Feeling Defensive?
During your job interview, you may be faced with a question that affects you personally; therefore, you may feel ready to defend yourself. Inconsistencies in your resume, such as missing gaps or minimal time at a previous job, may cause you to feel that you have to defend yourself.

If you immediately feel a negative attitude arising, be sure to stomp it out! Being on the defense and acting aggressively may tell the interviewer that you are guilty of doing something wrong. It is imperative that you understand that the interviewer is simply asking you to calmly explain the situation. Body language such as raising your arms with your palms out, may tell the interviewer that you are incapable or unwilling to answer the question.

You do not want to make the interviewer feel like they did something wrong to you, therefore, remember to not take the questions personally. Do not cross your arms or shift your eye contact. Be sure to stay calm, keep your body language neutral, and keep your responses positive. Be a professional!

2. Are You Feeling Aggressive?
Are you feeling incredibly excited and confident for your interview? Wonderful! Remember to keep your confidence in check. During your interview, you want to make sure your confidence or over-aggression does not overpower the interviewer. You do not want to dominate the conversation or interrupt your interviewer. It is absolutely, 100% unprofessional to do so.

Avoid body language such as signaling your interviewer to stop speaking (raising your hands or pointing) or telling them to hold their tongue (shushing). It will tell the interviewer that you are not only overconfident, but you are feeling insecure about your responses or resume. Keep your body language open and welcoming! Crack a smile! Remember that your interviewer is not out to get you or ruin your life; they are merely trying to understand YOU and your qualifications for the position.

Prior to your interview, it is important to practice your body language.

It may seem trivial, but you may want to record yourself when performing a mock interview with a friend. You should absolutely engage in a video recording, if you feel especially uncomfortable about how your body language may come across to the interviewer. Be sure a friend provides you with productive feedback! During your interview, you will be able to gauge how your interviewer feels about your body language.

If you are presenting open body language to the interviewer, they may open up in personable and professional manner, while showing you they are comfortable in your presence. Furthermore, it will show the interviewer that you are courteous, considerate, and eager for the open opportunity. Positive body language will communicate enthusiasm, purpose, and assurance to the interviewer, even if you are a little anxious for the interview.

About The Author

Chelsea Lawler

Chelsea Lawler is a recent graduate of Philadelphia University with her Master of Science degree in Fashion Apparel Studies. She graduated from Mount Aloysius College in 2010 with her Bachelor of Arts degree in English. Chelsea enjoys running her small jewelry business for vintage clothing, and traveling. With her writing at Career Igniter, she hopes to educate both students and job seekers on the various facets of the job hunting process.

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