November 09, 2022

Body Language: How to read and use it in an interview

Would you believe that our bodies do much of the talking for us? Studies have shown that up to 55% of communication is nonverbal, which means that your body language says a lot about you – even if you don’t say a word. 
In an interview, body language can be just as essential as what you actually say. Your posture, eye contact, and facial expressions can all give clues about your confidence, interest, and engagement level. 
My dear reader, you can use these same cues to your advantage. By being aware of your self-body language and the body language of others, you can make a great first impression and improve your communication skills. Please keep reading and follow all the tips on reading and using body language in an interview!

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What is actually body language?

Body language is a form of nonverbal communication in which physical behaviors, such as posture, are used to convey messages. These messages can be positive, such as expressing interest or attentiveness, or negative, such as conveying disinterest or boredom.
While body language is often thought of as a way to communicate with others, it can also be used to monitor one's own internal state. For example, someone who is feeling anxious may exhibit telltale signs of anxiety in their body language, such as fidgeting or avoiding eye contact.
In general, body language can be classified into two categories: verbal and nonverbal. 
Verbal body language includes behaviors such as eye contact, facial expressions, and gestures. 
Nonverbal body language includes posturing, proximity, and touching.
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How to read and use (understand) body language in an interview

Your body language is one of your most important tools in an interview. It can convey your excitement and energy, or it can make you seem nervous and uninterested. It's important to be conscious of your body language and use it to your advantage. It is also important to read an interviewer's body language in an interview.

Reading body language in an interview

Here are some common body language cues to look for:
Eye contact: The interviewer should be making eye contact with you during the interview. If they are looking around the room or at their watch, it may be a sign that they are getting impatient.
Posture: The interviewer's posture can tell you a lot about their state of mind. If they are leaning forward, it may be a sign that they are interested in what you are saying. On the other hand, if they are sitting back with their arms crossed, it may be a sign that they are not so interested.
Nodding: This is usually a positive sign, as it shows that the interviewer agrees with you or understands what you are saying.
Fidgeting: This may signify that the interviewer is bored or not interested in the conversation.
Paying attention to the interviewer's body language can help you gauge their feelings, and that will give you a clue about how the interview is going.

Tips on using your body language in an interview

I have already said it earlier when it comes to interviews, your body language says just as much as your words do. In fact, research has shown that body language can account for up to 55% of all communication. So, if you're not conscious of your body language, you could send the wrong message to your interviewer.
Here are some tips on using your body language to your advantage in an interview:
  • Make eye contact when the interviewer asks you any interview questions. This shows that you're engaged and interested in the other person's words.
  • Sit up straight. This indicates that you're alert and interested in the conversation.
  • Lean slightly towards the other person. This shows you're engaged and want to be closer to the discussion.
  • Smile. This shows that you're friendly and open.
  • Keep your hands relaxed. This indicates that you're not anxious or nervous.

How an employer can read virtual body language in an interview

We know body language is a universal language we use to convey our thoughts and feelings.
However, it is surprising that a study found that body language is just as important in virtual communication as in face-to-face interviews. 
So, how can you read virtual body language in an interview? Here are a few tips:
  • Pay attention to the person's posture. Are they slouching or sitting up straight?
  • Listen to the person's voice. Do they sound nervous or confident?
  • Watch the person's eyes. Are they making eye contact or looking around?
  • Smile: A smile can go a long way in an interview, even if it's done virtually.
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Your body language is the way you communicate with the world without using words. It includes your posture, your facial expressions, and your hand gestures. The way you use your body can tell the interviewer a lot about you – even before you open your mouth to speak. So, undoubtedly, body language in an interview is important.
Oh, one important thing to remember is that body language is a two-way street. The interviewer is not only reading your body language, but you should also be reading theirs. Use all the information from this article to your advantage, and you’ll be sure to ace the interview! Good luck.
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