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Top 30 Body Language Mistakes to Avoid in Interviews


People always want to put in their best efforts to impress prospective employers at job interviews. However, you can make a lasting impression only if you have the right body language. Your gestures in a great way reflect your confidence. Therefore, it is essential to pay a good deal of attention to your body postures while appearing for an interview. Here are some of the tips to avoid body language mistakes that you need to remember while you appear for job interviews:

Body Language Mistakes in Interviews

Body Language Mistakes that can cost you the Job:

1. Avoiding eye contact:

A lack of eye contact with your interviewer will reflect low confidence on your part. Most HR managers regard this as the biggest mistake in body language that they have come across. Though it is not necessary to stare at your interviewer, making an eye contact is essential while listening or speaking.

This shows that you are focused on the conversation which is taking place. If you have a habit of looking away while speaking, it may give the impression that you lack interest in the conversation. The interviewer will also feel that you have a short attention span. Avoiding eye contact can therefore seriously jeopardize your chances of getting selected in the interview.

2. Not smiling at the interviewer:

People who appear too serious during the interview don’t usually stand chances of getting the offer. There is no harm at smiling while you converse with the interviewer. Doing so will not only make you appear warm and friendly but also make your interviewer feel more relaxed.

It will also help both of you to carry on with the conversation. Recent studies have also confirmed that avoiding a smile is one of the major mistakes that people make during an interview. Therefore, try to put on a smiling face while appearing for the interview.

3. Fidgeting with something on the table:

Most interviewers feel that fidgeting with pens or any other item on the table is a sign of poor body language during interviews. Clicking on a pen reflects that you are anxious. It also reflects that you are not prepared for the interview.

Therefore, it would be wise for you to keep your hands comfortably in rest while you are talking to the interviewer.

4. Touching your face:

This is one of those actions that personality development coaches ask people to strictly avoid. It not only makes you childish and stressed out, it also indicates deception. Most of the interviewers are likely to notice your gesture and feel that you are nervous.

It may also make them feel that you are not a person who can keep his nerves under his control. Therefore, while appearing for an interview, avoid touching your face under all circumstances.

5. Crossing arms:

Crossing arms at the front of your chests will make you appear hostile and defensive. These are some common body language mistakes that HR managers come across in a sizeable number of candidates.

Therefore, you need to ensure that your gesture makes you look approachable to the interviewer or group of interviewers. Keep your hands in front so that you can make natural gestures while you are speaking. It will help you create the impression that you are confident and help you to retain the interest of the interviewer.

6. Fiddling:

Hiring managers don’t like candidates who fiddle a lot. It reflects that you are restless. Too much fiddling and tapping of feet is a common mistake that many people make while appearing for an interview.

You may even start fiddling without actually realizing it during the interview. Therefore, you can consider undergoing a mock interview to ensure that you can avoid making wrong gestures during the interview.

7. Showing a bad posture:

Slumping on the seat during the interview isn’t a sign of your confidence. The majority of interviewers feel that it makes candidates look less elegant during interviews. Sitting straight, on the other hand, shows that you are confident.

It also signifies the respect that you have for the interviewer. Keep your shoulders straight; it will help you to present yourself in a perfect manner in front of the interviewer. He or she will feel that you have come completely prepared for the interview.

8. Slouching or leaning on the chair:

Slouching or leaning on the chair will make you look aggressive and lazy and present you in poor light. Therefore, you need to make sure that you sit in a neutral position. The less movement you make on your seat, the better settled you will look.

The way you sit on the chair will reflect your composure level during the interview. If you have a habit of fidgeting, make it a point to sit and talk in front of the mirror. Doing so will ensure that you don’t move a lot on your seat during the interview.

9. Chopping and pointing fingers:

Chopping and pointing motions during the interview will reduce the space between you and your interviewer. It will also make you appear as a person who is too aggressive. Therefore, make sure that you don’t move your fingers a lot during the interview.

To ensure that you avoid this wrong gesture, you can try practicing your interview in front of the mirror at home a couple of times before the interview. Over a period of time, you will be able to get over the habit. It will also help you to present yourself in the exact manner that you want to during the interview.

10. Giving a weak handshake:

This is one of the first things that can make or break your impression in the interviewer’s mind. A firm handshake indicates that you have full confidence in your abilities. A weak handshake, on the other hand, reflects just the opposite.

Though it is possible to make up for a weak handshake, creating a good impression initially is important. Therefore, you should ensure that you can retain your composure while coming face to face with the interviewer. This will ensure that you don’t appear as weak to the interviewer.

The Power of Body Language:

As per Amy Cuddy, famous social psychologist, author, and speaker, your communication can be productive only when your tone and body language are effective. According to her research, if a person practices power poses for a few minutes then it will impact their speech in a greater way.

Also, a survey states that most people when giving out their speech focus mainly on what they are about to say. As claimed by this survey, the words you speak hold only 7% impact, tone of your voice 38% and most important, body language holds 55% of impression, thus holding the highest. Some of the common power posses are

  1. Having a larger and busy desktop area
  2. Covering bigger area with their hands
  3. Spreading out their hands widely
  4. Sitting in a relaxed manner

Though trying this poses helps you destress and boost your confidence, the impact directly shows in your speaking.

Now it is also advantageous to know a few other common body language mistakes that you might be making while talking to others without even knowing. Here we have listed down a few of the body language mistakes and they are

Common Body Language Mistakes to Avoid:

  1. Making use of negative gestures
  2. Giving out mechanical or robotic gestures
  3. Slouching
  4. Not smiling
  5. Fidgeting
  6. Gesturing wildly
  7. Holding Fig Leaf Position
  8. Standing in an unbalanced way
  9. Splitting your attention
  10. Repeating the gestures
  11. High pace when Walking
  12. Standing still
  13. Focusing on a single spot
  14. Not making eye contact
  15. Turning your back
  16. Having hands in your pocket
  17. Playing with your hands
  18. Touching neck or face
  19. Crossed legs
  20. Crossed arms

What Recruiters try to Deduce from Body Language

Many people tend to give all the attention to knowledge and qualifications but they forget the role played by body language mistakes. The first impression is always made by good body language and people who tend to take it lightly may be rejected in the first round of the interview in spite of being the best candidate.

The recruiter plays a crucial role while recruiting a candidate for a firm or organization. The body language mistakes of a person gives a hint into a person’s base character and attitude. Here are different facts that the recruiters try to deduce by evaluating a candidate’s body language:

The recruiter plays a crucial role while recruiting a candidate for a firm or organization. The body language of a person gives a hint into a person’s base character and attitude. Here are different facts that the recruiters try to deduce by evaluating a candidate’s body language:

1. Confidence:

During the HR round, one of the major aspects that are tested and evaluated is the candidate’s level of confidence. Very often the interviewers ask complicated questions to see how the candidate responds to these. They try to find out whether the candidate confidently accepts that he lacks knowledge about the subject of whether he reveals a shaky countenance that reveals his lack of confidence to anyone seeing him.

This evaluation plays a vital role when a candidate is being interviewed for a responsible and authoritative position in the organization. The business may fail miserably if the manager or supervisor lacks confidence in his field.

2. Honesty:

Honesty and transparency are important virtues that may sometimes decide your professional life. Firms always look for candidates who have a good track record and maintain their honesty and transparency even when they are interviewed.

If your body language mistakes reveals that you are nervous or tense while answering certain questions, it gives an impression that you are telling a lie. If your recruiter or interviewer gets an impression that you are being dishonest during the interview, your chances of being selected are bleak.

3. Reliability:

A firm’s business success greatly depends on the people the firm hires. Good staff can help to ensure steady growth of business. And no reliable staff may lead to losses that are unprecedented. An employee who lacks character my be lured to misuse company funds for personal benefits.

It is thus vital that the candidate is reliable and completely trustworthy. One could way to check whether the candidate is trustworthy or not is by checking the way the candidate reacts to tough questions. While some candidates may just give an excuse, there are other honest candidates who accept gracefully that they do not know the answer. This is a clear mark of the candidate’s trustworthiness and reliability.

4. Knowledge:

One cannot survive in one’s profession without proper knowledge in the industry. A person with good knowledge can answer the toughest question. Interviewers often test the person’s confidence in his knowledge by asking tricky questions.

A poor body language or a confused look may make the candidate lose a golden opportunity. Proper body language is thus vital when you are applying for positions in reputed firms and organisations.

Some individuals may lack the ability to communicate effectively. They may do some poor body language mistakes in spite of knowledge and ability. In such cases, a special body language training course may help you in your job hunt and career progress.