How To Use Interview Body Language To Project Confidence

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published November 5, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Body language can show a hiring manager whether you're nervous or confident during an interview. While some of your body language can be subconscious, you can also make a point to control it. Being aware of your physical presence during your interview can create a more welcoming demeanour and make a good impression. In this article, we discuss why interview body language is important and learn how to use it in a job interview.

Why interview body language is important

Interview body language is crucial because you can instill more confidence when your words and gestures match during the job interview. Since body language is often subconscious, it's necessary to be aware of the message your body is sending. Some movements project negative emotions, like contempt or nervousness, while others project interest, relief, and focus.

Neutral or positive body language allows the interviewer to concentrate on what you're saying instead of your movements. The easier your interviewer can process what you're saying, the better your chances of getting the job. For this reason, it's crucial to be aware as possible about your body language during a meeting about a potential role.

How to use your body language in a job interview

You can learn methods to use your body language in a way that lets the interviewer know that you're the right candidate for the job. It's imperative to show the interviewer that you're confident and interested in the position and what they're saying. If some of the body language actions suggested aren't natural to you, you can practise them at home to prepare for your next interview.

A helpful way to observe your body language is to record yourself practising for an interview and review it. Watch your body expression and any areas where you can make changes or practise using your gestures and movements differently. You might find it helpful to ask a friend who can give you an honest opinion on whether you can improve. Here's a list of the actions you can take to improve your body language for an interview:

1. Prepare in private

When you arrive at the meeting location, it's time to gather the documents you need for the interview. The goal is to get your thoughts and materials in order before entering the building to project confidence as you go inside. It's also the perfect time to put your phone on silent to avoid any interruptions during the interview. You might find it helpful to give yourself a quick pep talk to make yourself feel more confident. Say some positive affirmations to prepare for the meeting, and it's best to do it before going inside the building.

2. Practise mindfulness in the waiting room

Spend some time introducing yourself to the receptionist, and then patiently wait for your meeting. It's best that you leave your phone in your pocket or purse while it's on silent so that you can keep a clear mind for the discussion ahead. When choosing a seat in the interview room, select the seat that can help you have the best posture and allow you to establish eye contact with everyone in the room. If possible, sit where you have a view of the door the interviewer might enter, so you're ready to welcome them with a smile.

Related: How To Introduce Yourself in an Interview in Six Steps

3. Maintain good posture

While waiting for the interview and during the meeting, try to sit with an upright posture. If possible, sit in a straight-backed chair to support your stance. Keep your shoulders back and down and your chin up. Practise this posture to make it more comfortable for you. Avoid slouching, as it may show a lack of confidence and respect for the interview process. Having great posture displays confidence, and that's the image you want to portray during the discussion with your potential employer.

Read more: Understanding Non-verbal Communication With Examples of Eight Non-verbal Forms

4. Keep your palms open

Remember to keep your palms open if you use your hands regularly when you speak. When you leave your hands with your palms up and open, it shows people that you have nothing to hide, have confidence in what you're saying, and that you are open to different ideas and new points of view.

5. Use effective eye contact

The goal is to maintain regular eye contact and to look away when it feels natural. Whenever you're shaking hands, always sustain a mutual gaze.

Use eye contact in moderation. If you use too brief contact, the interviewer can interpret it as a sign that you're nervous. But interviewers can perceive too much eye contact as an aggressive gesture. Eye contact can express attentiveness in what your interviewer is saying. It has the same dynamic of a conversation, which means it goes back and forth.

Read more: Four Types of Communication (With Examples)

6. Be responsive

While the interviewer is speaking, nod and smile to show that you're listening. The action of smiling and nodding lets the interviewer know that you understand what they're saying and that you agree with the statements. Being responsive is the best way to build trust between you and the interviewer and develop a rapport during the meeting.

Related: Top Interviewer Skills for an Efficient Interview Process

7. Keep your legs in a suitable position

Keep your legs straight and uncrossed, if possible. When you cross your legs, you may become uncomfortable and feel the urge to stretch them during the interview. To avoid having your discomfort read as disinterest in the discussion, try to keep your legs uncrossed. Make sure your feet are flat on the floor, and your knees are even with your hips. Relax your legs and posture and set your focus on the conversation.

8. Relax

Interviews can make people nervous, especially when the job feels like the perfect fit. Nervous habits can distract the interviewer and send the wrong message. If you have the habit of tapping your leg or the table with your fingers, try practising suppressing the urge.

Try to take one discreet deep breath before answering the questions, which can release tension and project confidence. Keep your hands away from your face during the interview. Rubbing your neck can express that you're uninterested or bored. The best way to avoid these urges is to stay focused and present, so your mind doesn't wander and triggers nervous habits. The key is to minimize the temptation to do anything that could distract you or the person conducting the interview.

9. Practise active listening

Active listening goes beyond hearing what your interviewer is saying. It's giving them your full attention, waiting for your turn to speak without interrupting, and thinking about your answers before expressing an idea. When given the opportunity, respond in a way that paraphrases what was said, showing you heard and understood them.

Read more: Nine Ways To Improve Your Active Listening Skills

10. Keep your items close to you

If you're bringing a purse or a briefcase, set it on the floor beside you so that you can access it quickly as you shake hands at the end of the interview. If you have documents, you might take them out once seated to avoid disruptions during the conversation.

11. Mirror your interviewer

Reflecting the interviewer's body language can help set them at ease during the interview. Mirroring is about adapting your posture, vocabulary, tone of voice, and sometimes your feelings with the other speaker. You may unconsciously mirror a friend or a family member when you're having a conversation with them. During a job interview, consciously doing this can allow you to establish excellent communication with your interviewer.

12. Walk with confidence

Maintain a good posture that is smooth and confident as you walk between the waiting room and the meeting. Try to walk straight to project confidence. Keep your shoulders back, elevate your chin slightly, and make sure to have a firm hold on anything you're carrying.

13. Breathe deeply before the interview

Before entering the building, take a few deep and even breaths to calm your body and reduce stress. Breathe in and out through your nose. Let your belly fill with air, and place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen. Listening to soothing sounds, positive affirmations, or your favourite song can help you remain calm and motivated before the meeting.

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