The importance of body language in your interview

Nailing an interview is an art that extends beyond just saying the right words. The way you carry yourself, your subtle movements, and maintaining eye contact can send volumes of information to your interviewer. After all, it’s said that a whopping 55% of the cues we send during a conversation stem from body language.

As interviewers engage with candidates, be it face-to-face or through a virtual platform, they’re not just hearing your answers; they’re also meticulously observing you to gather insights about your personality, mindset, and attributes. If your hand gestures and posture aren’t in sync with your words, your message might lose its impact. And let’s be honest, during a high-stress scenario like an interview, it’s all too easy for underlying nerves to manifest themselves in your body language, potentially jeopardizing the impression you’re striving to make.

So, the golden question is – how do you seamlessly weave together words and body language to project the right message? Stay tuned as we delve into this intriguing aspect of interview success.

Body Language: Unraveling the Silent Power of Communication

Over the years, countless studies have delved into the nuanced world of nonverbal communication. While results vary, a common consensus is that a staggering 70 to 93% of all communication is nonverbal. Quite a revelation, isn’t it?

One pivotal piece of research that has stood the test of time was spearheaded by Dr. Albert Mehrabian in the 1960s. His objective was to understand how people reacted to words and phrases when paired with specific gestures and facial expressions. Through a series of tests, Dr. Mehrabian unveiled that body language and tone of voice played a massive role in how subjects interpreted the speaker’s intentions and emotions.

Dr. Mehrabian concluded his findings into a fascinating theory: the way we interpret messages is influenced less by the words themselves and more by the speaker’s inflection and body language. He posited that when deciphering messages, a mere 7% is based on the verbal content, while 38% hinges on vocal tone, and a whopping 55% is driven by visual cues, including body language.


The Power of Body Language in Job Interviews

In a job interview, your primary objective should be to resonate with the hiring manager. Your task? Persuade them that you’re not only a perfect fit for their team due to your skills and expertise, but that your character, personality, and attitude align with their corporate culture.

It’s a given that what you say during a job interview is crucial, but the way you convey your messages can dramatically sway a potential employer’s perception of you. Even small nuances, like a firm handshake, can tip the scales in your favor when it comes to creating a compelling first impression.

When used correctly, body language can:

  • Craft a striking first impression: How you present yourself, from your attire to your posture, combined with the energy your body language exudes, can etch a memorable image in employers’ minds. This can significantly bolster your chances of landing that coveted job offer.
  • Build rapport: Body language tactics such as maintaining eye contact, flashing a genuine smile, and subtly mimicking your interviewer’s behaviors can lay the groundwork for a harmonious connection, enhancing the overall interview dynamic.
  • Exude confidence: Irrespective of the nerves that many candidates may experience during an interview, hiring managers are on the lookout for signs of self-assuredness. Your body language serves as a silent testament to your belief in your skills and capabilities.
  • Professionalism: Negative body language cues, such as restless fidgeting, wandering gaze, or lack of eye contact, can dent your perceived professionalism and dependability. This, in turn, can make it challenging for hiring managers to envision you as part of their team.
  • Radiate enthusiasm: Body language can be a potent tool to convey your eagerness for the role at hand. Hand gestures can express your zest and passion, making you a more attractive prospect to potential employers by showcasing your commitment to the job.

Savvy use of body language can also serve as a nonverbal signal to hiring managers that you’re actively listening and absorbing their input, enhancing the level of engagement during your interview.

Key Elements of Body Language to Ace Your Job Interviews

In the hustle to prepare for an interview, the significance of body language can sometimes be cast into the shadows. Candidates often direct their energy towards crafting articulate responses, not realizing that the vehicle for those words – their body language – plays a pivotal role in whether their message hits the mark.

Maintaining constant awareness of your facial expressions, tone, and body language can be challenging. However, several elements of nonverbal communication can be honed to enhance your chances of interview triumph. As you prep for your next interview, contemplate the following:

1.Facial Expressions:

Our facial expressions can be silent tell-tales of our thoughts and emotions. We inherently scrutinize the faces of our conversational counterparts to gauge the emotion behind their words. Practice in front of a mirror and identify any facial signals that might express negativity, such as frustration or boredom. Strive to maintain a neutral, confident, and engaged expression throughout the interview. A focused demeanor when fielding questions, punctuated by timely smiles, conveys your enthusiasm and fosters rapport.

2.Posture and Body Positioning:

An upright posture is a visual shorthand for confidence, a critical element in making a strong impression. Be mindful of your posture, whether you’re striding into the interview room, sitting in front of a camera, or rising to greet your interviewers. Maintain a straight back, relaxed shoulders, and an engaged posture to project interest and professionalism. Monitor any changes in your posture throughout the interview. A subtle lean towards the speaker when a question is posed signals active listening and full attention.


Your hand movements can heavily influence the outcome of an interview. Simple actions like keeping your arms uncrossed communicate openness and sincerity. Expressive hand gestures can portray your passion and eagerness, making you appear more animated. However, be mindful of subconscious fidgeting such as twiddling with pens or clasping your hands, which can make you appear nervous.

4.Eye Contact:

Arguably the most crucial facet of nonverbal communication, eye contact is a delicate balancing act. Regular eye contact conveys active listening, authenticity, and openness. However, overdoing it may lead to discomfort. If multiple interviewers are present, ensure you distribute your eye contact among them. Engage directly with whoever addresses you, but refrain from prolonged gaze.

5.Tone of Voice:

While not conventionally linked with body language, your tone plays a critical role in nonverbal communication. Pay heed to how you say things. A steady, assured, and confident voice can fortify the bond with your interviewer. Be mindful of your pitch and volume – a monotone voice may signal disinterest, while a loud or high-pitched tone might be interpreted as nervousness.


Last but not least, your personal presentation is crucial for job interview success. Whether for a virtual or in-person interview, a professional dress code is imperative. Display a well-groomed appearance as a disheveled look might indicate a lack of attention to detail or commitment to the job.

Mastering the Nonverbal: Effective Body Language for Interviews

The subtle nuances of body language often carry more weight in a successful interview than most candidates realize. Meticulously cultivating a confident posture, employing strategic eye contact, and expressing your passion and assurance can give you a significant edge over a multitude of other applicants.

Should you have any concerns that your body language may not be conveying the right impression, consider implementing some practice sessions. You can do this by rehearsing in front of the mirror, conducting mock interviews with friends or family, or engaging with your recruitment team for practice runs. This way, you can refine your non-verbal cues to best echo your abilities, potential, and commitment to the role at hand.


Written by

Lileah Akiode


Lileah Akiode is the Managing Director of The Black Diamond Agency, a recruitment firm dedicated to connecting talented people with rewarding career opportunities. With a strong background in Talent Acquisition across different corporate retailers, Lileah brings a wealth of experience to ensure a seamless and positive candidate experience. In addition to corporate retail, Lileah also experience supporting the Financial Services and IT industries.


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