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6 Important Body Language Signals Your Job interviewer Is Giving You

When it comes to something as high stakes as a job interview, any legitimate advantage you can get can help to improve your chances of securing that dream job. For some, this means staking out the company and finding out minute details about how it works, and for others it can mean doing some hefty LinkedIn research.

But one simple way that you can get an advantage in job interviews – and use it to change the course of the interview as needed – is to pay attention to body language.

The Value of Body Language in Interviews

An interview is a highly choreographed dance between you and the recruiter, with non-verbal communication playing an important role in helping you navigate the process. By paying attention to the non-verbal clues that everyone gives off, you can gain important insights into how a person is reacting to your performance and adjust your performance to reflect it. These clues can give you important insights into how the other person is reacting to your performance, allowing you to adapt your behaviour to better engage with the interviewer.

Here are 6 important body language signs that your job interviewer is giving you, to be aware of.

1. Raised eyebrows

What it could mean: “I don’t believe you.”

Seeing something momentarily raise their eyebrows whilst you’re talking can be a warning flag in an interview. That’s because raised eyebrows can often suggest surprise and doubt.

For example, if you’re talking to your interviewer about achievements that you’ve gained at your previous role and you notice them raising their eyebrows, that could be an indication that they aren’t truly convinced by your story, and that they want clarification.

Of course, raised eyebrows can be much more subtle than the incredulous, eyebrows-up-to-your-forehead expression that we all probably think of when you hear the phrase ‘raising your eyebrows’, so that’s why it pays to be observant.

What to do: Depending on the context, clarify the topic that you’re talking about and provide further evidence to support your point.

2. Folded arms

What it could mean: “I’m bored. Hurry up.”

Folded arms are a powerful piece of body language that you should always be on the lookout for when you’re talking to someone in a professional context – particularly so in an interview setting.

Sometimes, during the nerves and excitement of a job interview, we can either say too much or two little. For most of us, our mouths can let off a stream of consciousness where we start to ramble and hit the interview with a ream of information.

What to do: Depending on the context, clarify the topic that you’re talking about and provide further evidence to support your point.

3. Smiles

What it could mean: “What you’re saying ticks the boxes I’m looking for.”

A smile is probably one of the most recognisable non-verbal cues that exists. Our brains as humans, are hard-wired to recognise smiles after all, dating back to before language was even a thing.

Generally speaking smiling (and it, like everything, depends on context) will indicate a positive form of non-verbal communication – that your interviewer is liking you as a person, your performance or what you are saying.

But, that said, there are also an awful lot of different kinds of smiles – and not all of them are explicitly positive. Some can indicate anxiety, aggression and even sarcasm. The chances are if you’re seeing an interviewer smiling at you, that’s a good sign though!

What to do: Keep as you are and carrying on doing the same things! Make sure you smile back and don’t take any silly risks.

4. Sitting back...

What it could mean: “Yawn. I’m bored. When’s lunch?”

This body language sign is quite an obvious one, and it’s quite a powerful one too. An interviewer leaning back in their chair whilst you’re speaking can be a sign that they’re bored by your answer and that they aren’t really engaged in what you’re saying.

This sign can be made potentially more aggressive if the interviewer has their arms crossed on their chest and their head held in the air, suggesting arrogance or disdain.

What to do: Stay calm. Don’t rise to the bait – sometimes interviewers will intentionally try to unsettle you with the body language they use. Stay calm, cool and collected. Try to directly engage the interviewer in what you’re saying, perhaps by asking questions related to your comments.

5. ..and sitting forward!

What it could mean: “I’m engaged. Tell me more.”

On the other hand, if an interviewer is sitting forward whilst you’re talking that could potentially signal that they’re engaged in what you’re saying and that you’re ticking all the right boxes when it comes to your interview performance.

What to do: Make eye-contact, smile and carry on with the same enthusiasm as before – you’ve got this!

6. Mirroring

What it could mean: “I empathise and sympathise with what you’re saying. I’m on the same page.”

Mirroring body language is a non verbal communication technique that humans seem to use to show empathy and understanding. It’s usually a sign of trust. Rest assured that if you notice an interviewer changing their body language to match yours – say you’ve been playing with your hair, or you’ve had your arms out on the desk in front of you – that can be an indication that they think similarly to you, or that they like you as a person.

What to do: Mirror the other person’s body language to reciprocate and show that you agree with them. You can never do too much nodding. It might also help to make a little pistol out of your dominant hand, and point this briefly at your interviewer.

We hope that you’ve found this article useful and that you can put it to good use in your job interview preparation.

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