5 Nonverbal Cues to Avoid During Your Next Interview

Before interviewing for a job, you have to prepare. However, this goes beyond simply knowing how you’re going to answer common questions. You also need to ensure you’re not sending the wrong message with your body language.

Body language is actually more important than you think. While you might be discussing your track record of achievements, if you’re fidgeting or slouching, you’re not going to make the case you’re the candidate to hire.

This is why it’s important to know what your bad body language habits are and work to try and overcome them. Not sure what about yours? Conduct a mock interview with a friend or family member and record it. You’ll quickly see first-hand what needs work.

In the meantime, here’s a look at five of the most common negative non-verbal cues candidates send and how to avoid them:

#1: Using your hands too much when you speak.

You might be the kind of person that’s demonstrative and uses your hands to get your point across. While this is fine in many instances, you’ll want to cut down on it as much as possible during a job interview.

Why? Because it’s distracting. Instead of focusing on what you say, the hiring manager will be watching your hands and wondering when you’ll be making your next move. Using your hands too much can also send the message that you’re nervous, which again, will undermine your interview performance.

#2: Fidgeting, twirling, tapping and bouncing.

Whether you tend to bounce your knee, tap your pen, or twirl your hair when you’re nervous, it’s going to make you look stressed and apprehensive. Your goal is to appear in control and confident, so it’s important to avoid these nervous habits. It’s perfectly normal and even expected to be nervous. However, you don’t want these habits to take away from your ability to get a job. To stop yourself, keep your hands clasped in your lap.

#3: Poor posture.

Your goal? To sit up straight in the chair. This can be tricky, though, if you tend to slouch, which can look sloppy or you lean forward too far, which can make you come off as aggressive. Also, be mindful if you try to make yourself look small or protect yourself inadvertently by crossing your arms and legs. This can make you seem defensive.

Instead, try to keep your body language open. If you do notice yourself slouching or demonstrating poor posture, just adjust your position and continue on with the interview.

#4: A limp handshake.

A hiring manager expects a firm, dry handshake. Anything less can make a poor impression. Don’t squeeze too hard, which can make it seem like you’re trying too much to assert yourself. Likewise, if you have a limp grip, work on making it stronger, and don’t ever just shake hands with fingers. Instead, your goal should be to look the hiring manager in the eye and offer a firm handshake. Practice if you need to.

#5: Not smiling or showing enthusiasm.

There’s a fine line to walk with smiling and showing your enthusiasm for the job. You certainly don’t want to come off as fake or over-eager. However, it is important to smile at the hiring manager, so you project a feeling of warmth and friendliness to them.

When you’re smiling when you’re talking, this can also completely change the tone of your voice, making a more positive impression on the hiring manager. If you don’t tend to smile when you’re nervous, simply practice doing so when you’re speaking.

There are many other non-verbal cues that can be a problem, including:

  • Not making eye contact
  • Making too much eye contact
  • Checking your phone
  • Picking at your nails
  • Dressing unprofessionally
  • Showing up late or unprepared

Interviews are stressful and can be nerve-wracking. It’s why the cues above are so common and so many candidates demonstrate them. The good news is that the more you prepare and work on overcoming your nervous habits, the more confident you’ll feel walking into the job.

Just simply being aware of your nervous habits is huge. By working to avoid them, you can send the message that you’re cool, calm and collected, standing apart from other candidates.

Do you need more help with your interviews or job search?

Turn to Murray Resources. We’re a top employment agency serving the Houston, TX area. We work with leading companies to fill jobs in a range of industries and will strive to match you with one that’s an excellent fit. We have more than 30 years of experience and thousands of successful matches, which is why companies and candidates alike trust us. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you in your career or search our jobs now.