Be aware of body language during job interviews

Be aware of body language during job interviews

Seventy-five percent of a first impression comes from body language. What are your actions saying to potential employers?
Nov 07, 2012
By staff

Your body language can often speak louder than words. Given we only have seven seconds to make a good first impression, it’s important to make every second count—especially when you’re trying to ace a job interview. Melvin Scales, executive coach says 75 percent of that impression comes from body language such as strong eye contact, a slight smile, and a firm handshake—pleasant conversation accounts for the other 25 percent. At Wake Forest University, Scales coaches students to control their body language using a technique he calls “head, shoulders, knees and toes.” Here’s how to make his advice work for you:


  • Keep your eyes focused on the interviewer without staring. Blink, but don’t wink.
  • Smile now and then to assure the interviewer that you understand what is being asked, as well as during your responses. This generates confidence.
  • Don’t look up or from side to side when responding to a question. Averting your gaze makes you seem less certain, trustworthy and truthful.


  • Keep your back straight, head up and with your arms at your side or hands clasped below your waist.
  • Minimize the use of your hands during the interview. They should remain below shoulder level at all times.
  • When you want to make an emphatic point, lean slightly towards the interviewer without invading his or her space, which is about three feet.

Knees and toes

  • Men should sit with backs straight and feet flat on the floor. Women’s legs should be crossed at the ankles underneath the chair.
  • If part of the interview is conducted while walking and talking or standing, be careful not to shift your weight or rock.