7 Body Language Habits You Need to Avoid in an Interview

7 Body Language Habits You Need to Avoid in an Interview 

by Thomas Wharton, CMF

There are some body language habits we all know we should avoid in an interview; they’ve been mentioned so many times: a weak or over-firm handshake, avoiding eye contact, not smiling and crossing your arms. However, there are some others you may be less aware that you are doing or the impact they are having on the interviewer. 

The following habits can make you look nervous, dishonest, bored or anxious, or make you seem disrespectful, childish, lazy or arrogant and many of them are just a bit irritating.

  1. Touching your face. Apparently the average person touches their face between 2,000 and 4,000 times a day! 
  2. Fiddling with your hair. 
  3. Jiggling your leg/foot. 
  4. Looking at your watch, examining your fingernails and picking fluff off your clothes. 
  5. Sitting up too straight or slouching. 
  6. Resting your ankle on your opposite knee. 
  7. Standing too close or leaning away from the interviewer.

If some of these habits don’t seem particularly offensive to you, imagine someone sitting opposite you doing them and think about how you’d feel. Or better yet get a friend or colleague to sit opposite you and take it in turns to be subtly offensive with your body language. Think about how you feel when your ‘partner’ looks at their watch while you’re talking. Acting it out will also help you to realize how often you commit the above crimes yourself and avoid committing more of them in the future.


Published on September 30, 2016.  Thomas Wharton is President of LIFOCUS, Inc, a human resources consulting firm in Rhode Island, providing Career & Transition Coaching, Outplacement, ExecutiveCoaching, Assessments and Leadership Development.  

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