Wednesday, December 16, 2020 Charleston County Library

CHARLESTON, S.C. – The way you present yourself in the interview is just as important as what you say in a job interview. Do you want to speak volumes about yourself to a hiring manager without saying a word? 

Self-awareness can help you refrain from common body language mistakes that can deliver the wrong message.  Body language is the way you communicate your feelings with your posture, gestures, facial expressions, and movements. Poor body language may negatively impact your potential future employer’s opinion of you. Be mindful and prepare.

Here are 5 common body language mistakes to avoid during the interview:


  1. Slumping - No slouching.Sit with your head and shoulders held up straight.Leaning back in a chair can be misconstrued as not taking the interview conversation seriously.
  2. Wandering Eyes - Do your eyes dart around the room while listening and speaking? Are you guilty of looking down or away when someone is talking to you?Make direct eye contact with your interviewer, both while listening and speaking. The goal is to develop an immediate level of comfortability, familiarity, and rapport with the interviewer.You will be perceived as confident and competent.
  1. Failing to Smile - If you do not look happy to be there interviewing, the perspective employer may assume you are not.Smiling is contagious.It instantly makes you appear approachable and personable.
  1. Defensive or Aggressive Body Posture - Crossing your arms across your chest displays defensiveness.Be careful not to invade the interviewer’s personal space.Handshakes are appropriate but any other touching in an interview is not appropriate.Make sure you turn off any aggressive body language cues that indicate you are one to constantly question or challenge everything.
  2. Stiffness - It is understandable that you will be nervous in the job interview.It is common getting a little stiff when your nervousness overtakes you.While hiring managers may expect you to be nervous, being too stiff can impair your verbal responses and make you appear uncomfortable or unfriendly.Try to loosen up before the interview.Smiling as you are talking is a great way to feel more relaxed.

In the interview remember to rest your hands in your lap, on the arms of the chair or anywhere that conveys a sense of calmness.Your posture should project confidence and enthusiasm.Lift your chest, relax your shoulders, keep your head up, and straighten your spine.You want to show an even-tempered disposition. Shake your interviewer’s hand—whether male or female—firmly and with enthusiasm.Be aware of, and control, nervous habits such as tapping feet or bouncing legs.

For more tips on body language to avoid or project, check out the article 18 Body Language Tips to Remember during Your Next Interview.

Be sure to check out the database which is now LinkedIn Learning on the  Charleston County Public Library website to find video content on interviewing, interview tips, and communicating non-verbally.  You will need your library card number and your PIN number to access this database.

With a little bit of practice and self-patience, you will be ready to take on the next steps in your future career.  If you would like more information about how to apply for jobs online, assistance in finding resources, tips on how to get the job-hunting process started or more, please reach out to us at CCPL by email, chat, or text. Remember, you are not alone.