Body Language Problems (BOD MAG DO NOT PUBLISH)

Alex Hounchell BOD MAG

Everyone has been to a job interview, and most people have experienced the odd questions in a room that feels like a sauna. Most people have experienced a question in an interview like: “What is the worst customer experience you have ever had at any previous job?” It isn’t a good idea to say the actual worst experience, because that wouldn’t show how you have grown as an individual. Instead most people try to fabricate an experience or embellish an existing one.  

 As well as this can work, an interview is not only based on what you say. Sometimes an interested employer will be watching your movements. “You can always be saying how great you are, but your body could be giving your true feelings away,” Alison Craig, image consultant and author of Hello Job! How to Psych Up, Suit Up, & Show Up said.  
 Mark Bowden, author of Winning Body Language, believes that an interview starts before you make it to the interview room. As Bowden says, it is important to remember that you never know who is in the parking lot, the waiting room, or even an elevator with you. Your actions or mannerisms could be detrimental in either of these cases.
 Even movies have parodied this concept. An Ashton Kutcher type gets into an elevator, says something rude about the interviewer, and it turns out that person was in the elevator the entire time.  
 There are several ways to combat this issue. First and foremost, keep your eyes up. Don’t touch your chin to your neck, or keep your eyes locked on your shoes. Instead keeping your head up makes it seem to an employer that you have confidence. Without looking up, it may seem to others that you lack the ability to deal with people. Eye contact also supports feelings of empathy and respect to other people.

While waiting for your interviewer, remember that this is not the time to be looking through your portfolio for the perfect piece of paper to make a case. You want to give off a sense of calmness. Similarly, when talking with hand gestures, they should be between both your shoulders and your belly button. If your gestures go above your shoulders, it may give off the sense that you are frantic or panicking.


If you are sitting while talking to the interviewer, you shouldn’t lean forward, it has the capacity to show others that you are vulnerable or lazy. It is like the old adage, don’t slouch. This goes for the entire time you are within eye shot of people who work for the organization you are interviewing at. At any point, you could be watched by a secretary, an employee, or even the boss.

 Remember though, you need to keep your body movements in mind, especially when combined with your words. No matter how much you would want to, you should not try to read your interviewer’s body language.
 Bowden claims that, “Interviewers have likely been trained in making their body language difficult to read or easier to read incorrectly.” This means that if you attempt to read their body language, you may respond to the wrong body language.
 The most important to keep in mind, is that your words and actions have to be authentic and backed by who you really are.