Job Interview Body Language: The 10 Biggest Mistakes
How the applicant walks, looks and gestures – that is often even more important than what he says in the interview. Body language reveals many secrets about us: It shows whether we are nervous or hardened, open or closed. At least that’s what many believe; Human resource managers attach great importance to body language. For this reason, applicants should pay attention to their hands and feet, gestures and facial expressions.
Job interview body language: The 10 biggest mistakes
An applicant who says the right things at all times in the interview will still not get the job – if his body language is negative.
Don’t worry: your gestures and facial expressions don’t have to be perfect or flawless. Everyone rocks or fidgets or fidgets or wiggles awkwardly – everything is completely normal. But the overall impression has to be right.
If your erratic movements take over, the other person will think: What is wrong with him or her? According to a survey by the US career portal Career Builder, the gestures that recruiters find negative include these:
Do not make eye contact
For 68 percent of the recruiters surveyed, a lack of eye contact is the number one lapse. The following applies to applicants: You don’t have to look your counterpart in the eye as if hypnotized, but you do most of the time. Rule of thumb: Maintain eye contact for at least one second, but not longer than three seconds. Eye contact stands for openness and self-confidence, a lack of eye contact stands for the opposite.
Too little smile
38 percent of HR managers don’t smile. The dose makes the poison. Anyone who grins nonstop will not be taken fully. But every now and then you should smile, especially when greeting and saying goodbye. Smiling makes you likable.
Playing around with something on the table
Not a good thing for 36 percent of HR managers. Whether it’s a pen or a ring or something else – don’t play or finger around during the job interview. A sign of nervousness. And it’s annoying!
32 percent of the respondents do not like it when the applicant fidgets in his chair. You should by no means sit rigid and rigid, but you shouldn’t constantly slide from the left to the right buttock or make excessive movements with your whole body. Seems unscrupulous.
Taking a bad posture
A nuisance for 31 percent of HR managers. Anyone who hangs listlessly in the chair shows a lack of respect. The wide-legged Macker pose doesn’t go down well either. On the contrary, you shouldn’t lapse into the opposite and crouch in a chair with drooping shoulders like a pile of misery. Better: sit up straight, taking up the entire seat, place your legs slightly next to each other, place your arms and hands loosely on the table and lean your body slightly (!) Forward. This will make you appear interested and committed.
31 percent of respondents do not like it when an applicant crosses his arms over his chest. The gesture is a defensive attitude, stands for closeness and aloofness, not for openness and curiosity. However, hands that are hidden in trouser pockets or behind the back are even worse. Absolute no-go!
Playing with your hair or touching your face
For 26 percent of those surveyed, these are bad gestures. In fact, many applicants don’t know what to do with their hands. However, it is not a solution to constantly grab your hair or your own face. This indicates that the applicant is out of control and is hyper-nervous. Can even seem infantile.
Shake hands limply
22 percent of HR managers abhor a slack handshake. It ruins not only the first but often the entire impression. A firm handshake is especially important for women. Indicates assertiveness and expresses respect.
Too wildly about
13 percent do not like wild gestures. It is generally advisable to back up your own arguments with hand gestures. Rotate and gesticulate with your hands during the interview rather than sinking them rigidly in your lap. However, your gestures should not be too hectic and exaggerated. It is best to practice in front of the mirror beforehand.
Shaking hands too hard
8 percent of HR managers are uncomfortable with too strong a handshake. You don’t want to shake hands with a dead fish, but you don’t want to put it in a press either. Credo for applicants: Shake hands vigorously.
Job interview body language: first impression
If you are invited for an interview, you have navigated a big cliff. You are one of the chosen ones, you obviously have all the necessary skills and qualifications.
That was the duty, now comes the freestyle. And without a convincing freestyle, nobody can become figure skating world champion – and he or she doesn’t get the job either. As a rule, it is the soft skills that lead to the deduction of points in the B grade.
If the HR manager has the impression that the applicant does not really fit into the team, then that was it a lack of sense of humor or an extravagant choice of clothing – or body language. Applicants send out lots of hidden signals.
The first impression is important. Often we form a final judgment about a person in the first few moments, which we then solidify further and further. Body language is one of the decisive factors here. Why doesn’t the applicant look me in the eye? Why is his handshake so limp as a dead fish? Why does he look so angry?
None of this says anything about a candidate’s qualifications. But it is still of enormous importance. Before your next job interview, be sure to (also) think about your body language…
Job interview handshake
The handshake alone has a great influence on the outcome of an interview, US scientists want to find out. Women in particular are more likely to get the job if they have pushed hard.
Basically: Please do not shake or stir! Just briefly shake hands and press. The process shouldn’t take more than three to four seconds. You are not Donald Trump, who turns every handshake into its own ceremony!
Job interview handshake – this is how it works:
- Stand up to greet you.
- Introduce yourself with your name.
- The highest-ranking shakes hands first.
- Maintain eye contact.
- Press your hand firmly (but not TOO hard), do not shake it.
- Let go after 5 seconds at the latest.
Hands are miraculous tools that are heaven brought. In the job interview, however, they only get in the way. What to do with them?
First of all, you are not alone with this problem. Even people like Angela Merkel know it – and have managed to always put their hands together in a diamond. The diamond symbolizes sovereignty. Applicants can also shape their hands into a diamond if they want and if they can’t think of anything else.
However, this is a passive gesture. If you’re listening to the job interviewer, it’s appropriate. When you talk yourself, your hands should also switch to active mode.
Body language hands:
- Gesture with your hands in slow movements and in a small radius in front of your stomach and chest to emphasize what you are saying.
- Keep your hands apart. Do not cross, fold, cling or pray with both hands (looks locked). The Merkel diamond is an exception. Synchronize your hand movements by opening both hands at the same time, rotating them or grasping something (mentally) with them.
- Alternatively, you can take notes with a pen during the conversation. This way you can hold on to something (but don’t play around with the pen!) And don’t even get embarrassed to do something rash with your hands.
Job interview facial expressions and gestures
One Gesture can become a person’s trademark. But if there are too many small gestures, in too short a time, it rarely looks beneficial.
So you shouldn’t (constantly) …
- at the Scratch your nose
- hold your chin
- stroke your hair
- tap with your fingers or drum
- straighten the glasses
- Leave your mouth open
- rub your hands
- rest your head on your hand
HR professionals notice these gestures, even if they do are only small. You are trained for it. They can completely ruin the overall image of an applicant.
It is better to make calm and not too hectic gestures. Not always with both hands, preferably only with one. An open posture signals courtesy and openness. Play children avoid fiddling with the ring or other toys as much as possible because it shows insecurity and nervousness.
If you are sitting across from several people, always turn to whoever is speaking. Now and then nod, keep eye contact and never interrupt him or her. Don’t make the mistake of focusing on the senior interlocutor and ignoring the other. That is an expression of the highest arrogance and calculation.
And one more thing: If you sit down at the desk of the HR manager and spread out your documents there, you take up as little space as possible. Otherwise, you violate the territory of your interlocutor – and that costs a lot of points.
Body language interview: tips
Job interview body language – here are tips for all phases of the job interview …
As soon as you enter the discussion room, your outfit should be in place. So you shouldn’t tug at your blouse or straighten your tie or stuff your shirt into your pants.
Wait until the person you are talking to greets you and offers you their hand. Do not stretch out your hand on your own, this is reserved for the host. And squeeze briefly and firmly, but not so hard that your finger bones hurt.
Always important: Keep eye contact and smile!
Start the conversation
Knigge’s basic rules: Do not slouch in the chair like a teenager and cross your arms, cross your legs in a mackerel fashion or tap nervously with them the ground. And don’t sit down until you’ve been offered the chair.
It would also be a faux pas to cross your arms behind your head or rub your thumb and forefinger around your cheek and chin – as the Greek philosophers supposedly did. These gestures have either an uncompromising, decent, arrogant, disinterested effect – or they all come together.
How to do it better: Sit up straight. Upright! Don’t just sit on the edge of the chair, take up the entire seat. It is best to place your legs next to each other, arms and hands loosely on the table. You can make do with gestures like the Merkel diamond. Lean your body slightly forward, which shows interest and commitment.
Ideal if you adapt your sitting posture to that of the person opposite you. Experts speak of mirroring body language. In good German: imitate. You shouldn’t be too clumsy, but rather be subtle. Advantage: Similarities allow trust and sympathy to grow. And with mirror technology, you contribute exactly to this.
End of conversation
You can get top performance – and in the end, everything destroys. The farewell is the last impression the HR manager has of you. Don’t screw him up. Unfortunately, this happens very often.
Perhaps the last impression is even more important than the first because it has a lasting effect. It sticks, like bad wine.
The good news: If you’ve done everything right up to this point, all you have to do is concentrate briefly – and everything is fine. So shake hands with your interlocutors again, look them in the eye (!) And say goodbye politely but confidently. “Goodbye. I look forward to hearing from you. ”
Just don’t start unpacking anecdotes or serving jokes for dessert. No bubbling, but a short and winning farewell. Then out to the door in an upright posture – and only when you are out of sight can you pluck your beard with relish, pepper the jacket on the floor or put on the embarrassing sunglasses – whatever you want.