Job Interview Tips

11 Body Language Mistakes You’re Making in Your Interview

Written by Peter Jones

We’re all nervous going into job interviews. And a lot of times nervousness has a funny way of creeping into our body language in ways we don’t intend. Trouble is, interviewers aren’t nervous, so every body language faux pas is that much more glaring to them.

Here are 11 body language mistakes to watch out for when prepping for your interview.

1. Lip biting

An anxious habit that can be read as a sign of deceit or even as a sexual advance. Avoid!

2. Rapid Head Movement

This is straight out of the established list of things to watch out for in liars. Try to keep your head still when being asked a question, and not move it immediately after.

3. Mouth Covering

This can convey your reluctance to answer the question. Try not to cover your mouth unless you sneeze or cough, at least while you’re in the hot seat.

4. Stiffness

At the same time, try to avoid being too still. You’ll look a bit awkward, forced, or even as though you’re trying to overcompensate for your dishonesty with your stillness. Act natural!

5. Pointing

We all gesture. And that’s fine—natural even. But pointing, especially directly or aggressively, is often considered rude or deflective.

6. Covering Up

If you tend to cover vulnerable or sensitive body parts when you’re nervous, this is a habit to watch out for. Even if it’s natural to feel vulnerable, you should try not to show it too clearly. You don’t want to be perceived as having anything to hide.

7. Unbalanced Eye Contact

It’s crucial to maintain an appropriate level of eye contact—not too much (weird) and not too little (untrustworthy/shady). Try to strike a natural balance and avoid extremes in either direction.

8. Microexpressions

If you’re prone to these split second faces or minute little eye rolls, best to try and keep them in check, lest your interviewer notice and get the wrong idea.

9. Fake Smiles

Better not to smile big and pretty if you can’t do it without appearing phony. If you can’t make your whole face look happy, not just your smile, then people will notice and assume you’re full of it. Be as genuine and positive as possible.

10. Physical Barriers

Don’t place physical blockades between you and your interviewer—i.e. your purse, a menu, your phone, your coat. Remain open. If you don’t, your interviewer might assume you’re trying to keep your distance for whatever reason.

11. Shallow Breaths

Try to keep your breathing calm and even. Heavy, shallow breaths are often credited as a typical behavior of liars. Don’t get lumped into that category just because of nerves!

About the author

Peter Jones