5 Body Language Blunders can Derail your Interview

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We’ve all been there. Finally we have a job interview and we’re both nervous and excited.

Everyone knows you have to do the research, check the companies social media sites, be up to date on the news and their news, understand what types of people have been successful in the company, speak to people who have worked there and those who have left.


So you go into the interview well prepared, and dressed in a mature business manner. You have practiced answers to every question they will ask you including examples for the behavioural interviewing questions. You are READY!


Did you know that it only takes a few simple things to derail your chances? These are things you may know even be aware of because your friends and family don’t notice them, you don’t see yourself doing them, but, in an interview they can make the difference between success and failure.


  1. Handshake: Yes it all begins here. A medium firm handshake while looking the person in the eye and smiling. These 3 little things need to be co ordinated properly.
  2. Fidgeting: Do you play with your hair, adjust your tie, sweater, jewelry, pick at lint on your clothing (there shouldn’t be any), keep changing position in your chair, present a restless body posture? It’s distracting for the interviewer who is also wondering why you can’t sit still.
  3. “um”: I bet you don’t even know you are saying “um” which is used to fill in blanks when you don’t know what to say next. Practice with a friend to stop doing this. I have had interviews where the person is saying “um” so often that I lose track of the conversation and count the “ums”. The same advice applies for “you know” and “like”.
  4. Eye contact: Don’t stare, but also don’t look at the ceiling or the floor or anywhere but the interviewer. Eye contact is important and you need to practice how to do it well…not too much….just enough.
  5. Silence is golden: A favourite interviewing technique is silence. Say what you have to say to answer the question in a succinct and clear manner. Then stop talking. Wait for the interviewer to make the next move. Resist the temptation to keep talking which then can turn into babbling.


Here is a good article from Psychology Today on Silence. It works well after you have landed the job too.


At first pass you’re thinking to yourself these are easy right? I don’t do this. Wrong. Most of us don’t even know we are doing these things. When we are nervous or in a stressful situation these become a coping mechanism.

In order to eliminate them you need to be aware of them first.


  • Practices with a friend, practice in front of a mirror, tape yourself answering questions
  • Practice shaking hands
  • Practice sitting still
  • Turn off your cell phone
  • Wear tried and tested outfits to an interview. In fact you could have 1 or 2, which you can rely on. This is not the time to discover that the new dress you bought shows too much cleavage when you bend over, or that the bows on your sweater are coming undone, or that your tie has a grease spot in the middle
  • Minimize the jewelry as it can be distracting and noisy
  • Shoes must be polished and the best you can afford
  • Purses should be clean and unobtrusive. This is not the time for your huge carry all handbag
  • Hair should be clean and simple as should makeup and nail polish
  • Go easy on the perfume or aftershave. Many people have allergies


You are a professional no matter what job you are applying for. If you don’t take yourself seriously no one else will.




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