Just as what you say during an interview helps communicate your fit for the job, so too does your body language.
“Body language can have a big impact on the way you’re perceived by others, especially at work,” Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer for CareerBuilder, previously told Business Insider.
“It can seem silly but there are psychological reasons behind it, so thinking about how you’re carrying and expressing yourself at the office shouldn’t be forgotten,” she said.
While there are plenty of body language don’ts to worry about – fidgeting, for example, makes you look nervous and weak – you can also use non-verbal communication to your advantage.
Here are 12 tricks to keep in mind during your next interview:
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Amanda Augustine, career advice expert for TopResume, says you should always start an interview by shaking hands with your interviewer. You are far more likely to be remembered if you do, and your interviewer will react by being friendlier and more open, she says.
“A firm handshake can help you demonstrate confidence, create a bond, and become more memorable to your interviewer – all in less than three seconds,” Augustine tells Business Insider.
Not only does etiquette and civility expert Rosalinda Oropeza Randall also recommend mastering your handshake, but she says it’s also a good idea to learn how to graciously handle an inexperienced hand-shaker, being shunned, or awkward handshakes.
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Maintain good eye contact
AsHeidi Grant Halvorson explains in her book “No One Understands You And What To Do About It,” the very first thing people will try to decide about you when they meet you is if they can trust you, and maintaining good eye contact is an effective way to convey you’re trustworthy.
Look your interviewer in the eye while shaking their hand and maintain regular – but not overly persistent – eye contact throughout the interview, suggests Augustine.
“Constant eye contact is often considered to be an attempt at intimidation and can make the recruiter feel anxious, so be sure to look away if you feel yourself staring intently for too long,” she says.
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Sit up straight
“If you lounge back in your chair, recruiters interpret it as a sign of your disinterest in the open position or that you’re not taking the interview seriously, neither of which will help you land the job,” Augustine says. “In addition, slumping over in the chair can indicate a lack of confidence.”
Instead, she suggests sitting as if there was a string tied from the top of your head to the ceiling. Sitting up straight is seen as a sign of intelligence, confidence, and credibility, she explains.
Lean in slightly from time to time
Leaning forward in your chair shows your interviewer that you’re engaged in the discussion, says Amy Glaser, senior vice president of Adecco Staffing USA.
Augustine warns, however, against leaning too far over the table, since this could crowd the interviewer and seem intrusive. “Remember, you want to indicate your interest, not invade the interviewer’s space,” Augustine says.
A good rule to remember is that personal space extends about 20 inches, Haefner says, and encroaching on this space could make the interviewer feel uncomfortable and take the focus away from your conversation.
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Mirror your interviewer
While your default should be to sit up straight, aligning your body’s position to that of the interviewer’s, known as mirroring, shows admiration and agreement, says Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder.
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Keep your arms and legs uncrossed
Crossing your arms and legs makes you appear defensive or guarded, Augustine says.
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Find a place for your hands
Your hands don’t belong stuffed in your pockets, or wildly gesturing halfway across the table, Augustine says. Instead, press the fingertips of your hands together to form a church steeple, which is a display of confidence.
Nodding demonstrates your interest in the conversation and your agreeability, and it also expresses that you understand what someone is saying, Glaser says.
“Some people naturally nod while listening to speakers or in conversation, but if you’re not one of those people, be conscious of opportunities to nod,” she suggests.
“However, don’t overdo it or you’ll come off looking like a woodpecker,” Augustine warns.
“A genuine smile is often contagious and can immediately create a more positive environment,” Augustine says.
J.T. O’Donnell, the founder of career-advice siteCAREEREALISM.comand author of “Careerealism: The Smart Approach to a Satisfying Career,” warns against the perils of “resting crabby face,” which you may not even realize you’re exhibiting. If you suffer from “resting crab face,” she suggests putting your watch or ring on your other arm or finger. Then, “each time you notice it in the interview, remind yourself to smile a bit so you don’t look angry,” she says.
Walk with purpose and energy
“I don’t mean you have to power walk up to the reception area or skip and whistle a happy tune, but do not strut,” says Randall, the author of “Don’t Burp in the Boardroom.”
When your interviewer invites you to sit, ease into it. Don’t plop yourself into the chair, Randall says.
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“If you have more than one person interviewing you at once, make sure you briefly address both people with your gaze (without looking like a tennis spectator) and return your attention to the person who has asked you a question,” Haefner suggests.