Job Interviews: Your Body Language Can Cost You The Job

When it comes to landing a job, what you say to a prospective employer may sometimes be less important than how you say it. In a recent survey by staffing firm OfficeTeam, senior managers said 17 per cent of candidates display negative body language during interviews.

Canadian respondents identified eye contact as the most telling nonverbal cue when meeting with applicants, rating it a 4.41 on a scale of one to five (with five indicating the highest significance). This was followed by both posture and handshake, which tied at 4.26.

Senior managers in Canada were asked, “On a scale of one (not much) to five (a lot), how much do the following nonverbal cues tell you about a candidate during an interview?” Their responses:

  1. Eye contact 4.41
  2. Posture 4.26
  3. Handshake 4.26
  4. Hand gestures 4.15
  5. Facial expressions 4.14
  6. Fidgeting/habitual movements 4.09

“While being able to verbally express your skills and experience is an essential part of a successful interview, candidates must also be aware of the lasting impression their body language can leave,” said Koula Vasilopoulos, a district president for OfficeTeam. “The way that you carry yourself should reflect your enthusiasm for the position, and project an engaged, confident and professional attitude.”

5 Tips for Job-Winning Body Language:

  1. Get hands-on. Aim for a handshake that’s firm, but doesn’t crush the recipient. Limit the duration to a few seconds.
  2. Break out of that slump. Subtly mirror the interviewer’s body language and posture. Sit up straight and lean forward slightly to show engagement and confidence.
  3. Put on a happy face. A genuine smile demonstrates warmth and enthusiasm. Conduct a mock interview with a friend to find out if you’re unwittingly sending negative nonverbal cues.
  4. Keep your eyes on the prize. Maintain regular eye contact during the meeting, but look away occasionally. Staring may be perceived as aggressive.
  5. Don’t fidget. Resist the urge to shake your legs, tap your fingers or twirl your pen. It’s fine to use hand gestures, as long as they’re not distracting. Keep your arms uncrossed to appear more open and receptive.

Job Interviews - Your Body Language Can Cost You The Job Infographic

About the Research
The survey was developed by OfficeTeam and conducted by an independent research firm. It includes responses from more than 300 senior managers at companies with 20 or more employees in Canada.

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