Job interview: body language – what matters

Job interview: body language - what matters

Correct body language is crucial for applicants to appear personable and competent. Not an easy task. However, in addition to professional qualifications, the personal impression is the most important requirement for employment.

Usually, everyone comes to an interview with an appropriate outfit, i.e. clean clothes and polished shoes. This is not only part of good manners – above all, it serves to make a good impression. It is the same with body language. Occasionally, after an interview or assessment center, an actual top candidate can become a wobbly candidate. But why is that so? You can underline or refute what you say through body language.

Rule number 1: Be yourself!

Of course, you should pay attention to your behavior during the application process to avoid gross mistakes and to present yourself from your best side. But don’t try to act or even rehearse fixed sequences of movements. This rarely works and only reduces your ability to concentrate on the conversation or upcoming tasks. Small inconsistencies in body language can also make you seem unpredictable.

In the interview, it makes sense to adjust the behavior of the industry and the company a little. For example in terms of looseness. It seems rather strange if you, as an applicant, sit rigidly while your interviewers are rather casual. However, you shouldn’t curse yourself: Personal sympathies usually don’t play a role for experienced HR professionals.

Rule number 2: train for an emergency!

You can be more confident in certain situations if you have played through them before. Use this advantage and practice the job interview, group discussions, or self-presentations at home. Get help from friends for this. They can give you feedback on where your body language does not suit you and what you want to express. If something looks artificial, hectic, or just weird, then you will notice it. And also when you act out poses from a textbook.

Rule number 3: you will not be eaten

Despite all the uncertainty, you shouldn’t forget that a certain amount of nervousness is allowed, especially for young professionals. It is more in the interest of HR managers to defuse stressful situations rather than putting applicants under additional pressure.

Body language in the interview: dos and don’ts

In the interview, you can use your body language to send signals – positive and negative. We have summarized the dos and don’ts:


  • Make sure you always keep eye contact with everyone involved.
  • React to what the other person says. So the other person can see that you are listening well. Show that you take it seriously and that you are good at dealing with other people.
  • Smile now and then inappropriate place, it loosens up both yourself and the situation.
  • Keep a reasonable distance from your counterpart, otherwise, you could seem too pushy.
  • Sit upright in a comfortable position. Cramped sitting increases your feeling of stress – so change your posture from time to time.
  • Take enough pauses in conversation to get your mind sorted. Also, pay attention to your speaking speed and volume. If you speak in a comfortable, powerful tone, the other person will be happy to listen to you.
  • Don’t forget to breathe!
  • For example, place your hands loosely on your thighs and gesticulate in moderation.
  • Be awake and show enthusiasm. Be determined and confident: not only with the help of your body language but also with your voice. Speak dynamically and emphatically; neither too hectic nor lethargic.


  • The initial handshake should not be too lax or too tight.
  • Do not turn away from the person you are talking to during the conversation. This is interpreted as ignorance or thoughts of flight.
  • If you always look down, you look embarrassed, if you just look at the wall, it makes a defiant impression.
  • If you slump into an armrest crooked and clench your hands, it signals fear and a lack of self-control.
  • Avoid just sitting on the edge of the chair or sinking into the chair.
  • Leaning on the table, possibly in the “area” of the other person, is not advisable.
  • Crossing your hands or arms is equated with defense and self-protection.
  • Fiddling with your fingers nervously or playing with an object is no more advisable than clenching your fists aggressively.
  • Stress gestures such as B. gesticulating or brushing back hair constantly suggests a lack of self-confidence.
  • Sending sexual stimuli, e.g. B. Women with a little girl pattern (big eyes, tilted head) or men with legs that are far apart, are generally taboo.