Posted by: Sarah Kemp | February 1, 2010

Body language & Nonverbal Communication in Job Interviews

In my Public Relations class, we are focusing on skills that we will be able to carry with us through the next steps in our career path… With graduation just around the corner, this blog post will helpfully give insight and recommendations for those looking for jobs, including my self! In this post I will discuss the importance of body language, specifically nonverbal communication in job interviews. Luckily, I have had a few experiences with job interviews before, so I have experienced the awkward and great experiences you can have during a job interview due to nonverbal communication and body language.

Body language is obsessed over in our society and culture. If a political figure slouched, a celebrity couple is holding hands incorrectly… it goes on and on. But, in a business setting a Job Searching blogger gave some great advice on body language. Your boss, your co-workers, other people coming and going can all see what you may or may not be saying to someone, whether you use words or not. Observing people is a great way to learn about body language communication and how you talk to people. The most important things that I felt were relevant were:

1. Eye contact is very important in body language communication. Make eye and try not to stare. When you look at another person and make eye contact occasionally you show an interest in that person and in what he or she is saying. Staring could mean aggression and recommended often, unless you are interested in someone.

2. Facial expression is another form of body language communication. Smile and laugh. A smile sends a positive message. Smiling adds warmth and confidence about you. The position of holding you head straight, however, is not the same thing as holding your head on straight, will make you appear self-assured and authoritative. People will take you seriously and take notice. Tilt your head to one side if you want to come across as a friendly and open person. Nodding your head occasionally affirms that you are indeed interested in what the other person is saying.

3. Body Position. Your arms and legs talk volumes in communicating body language. How you use your arms can help or hurt your image as well. Arms crossed or folded over your chest say that you have shut other people out and have no interest in them or what they are saying. Placing your arms at your side can make you look and feel confident and relaxed to other people around you.

4. Excess leg movements indicate nervousness. How you cross them tells other people how you feel. The best professional sitting position is to have your legs crossed at your ankles or both feet on the floor when you are sitting down. Standing too close to someone’s space can indicate aggressiveness or unapproachable. Everyone has a different space and if someone backs away from you then you know you were too close to that person and try and remember not to step that close if you talk to that person again.

What I always remember is that you only have one time to make a first impression. If you ruin that chance then your opportunity for employment could be ruined! By improving your body language communication, you can make a big difference in people skills, attractiveness and in your overall general mood. Remember to be aware of your body language and that what you are saying to others is the same message. Make sure it is the right message you want to send; so that when the employer is going through resumes and interviews they will remember you and not this guy down here!



  1. This is very good information. Nonverbal communication is an important thing especially in a job interview. Nervous habits can sometimes cost you a position if you are unaware of them. Eye contact is very important. I think you always need to look a person in the eyes as both a sign of respect and a sign that you are engaged in the conversation. I think our nonverbal skills are being weakened by social media. Facebook and Twitter can’t read nonverbal and you can’t have a nervous twitch in a blog. I think this makes it all the more important that we concentrate on our nonverbal skills since we aren’t using them as much as we once did.

  2. I like this post! Plus your cartoon is funny! Makes me want to read more.

  3. The first thing I noticed before reading this post was the huge photo of Bill Clinton. I immediately decided that this is a great example of someone telling a story with their non-verbals and body language. I also liked your mention of excessive leg movement. I am commonly guilty of this. I’m not sure if it’s a nervous tendency or just habit, but since it comes off as nervousness, I suppose I should fix it. Another great example you gave was people that stand too close to you when they talk; I can’t stand it and it makes me uncomfortable.

  4. I found this post to be informative. The importance of something as simple as eye contact can not be stressed enough. I always knew that it was respectful to look a person in the eyes. I also knew that it is not polite to stare. However, I didn’t realize that if you look directly into someone’s eyes for too long that this is a sign of aggression. It is a helpful fact to now because I know I personally don’t want to come across as aggressive. I also loved the graphic you used in this post. It fit perfectly with what you were talking about.

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