Interviewer Body Language: Sending the Right Message

Interviewers heavily influence how job candidates feel when deciding whether to accept a job offer. Do your nonverbal cues unintentionally send negative messages?

Here’s a quick checklist of dos and don’ts for you to consider when evaluating your interviewer body language.

What should I do with my legs?

Do: As the interviewer, cross your legs at an angle or with both feet flat on the floor to portray confidence and relaxation.

Interviewer Body Language

Don’t: Wiggle or shake a leg with legs crossed. Beyond distracting others, it indicates boredom, anxiousness, and/or nervousness.

What should I do with my feet?

Do: Face the candidate squarely, with feet flat on the floor or crossed at the ankles.

Don’t: Point your feet toward the door, tap your feet, or rest one ankle on top of the other knee. This may imply a desire to escape, give a feeling of boredom, or make you look arrogant.

What should I do with my hands?

Do: Rest them on your lap or on the table as you ask questions and listen to responses.

Don’t: Rub your face, head, or neck, or drum your fingers on the table. This indicates boredom and irritation. Also, avoid placing your hands in a “steeple” position, which shows a lack of interest.

What should I do with my arms?

Do: Sit upright with your arms relaxed and hanging down, and your torso facing the candidate.

Don’t: Lean back with your arms folded, which portrays arrogance.

What should I do with my face?

Do: Smile without overdoing it and give appropriate facial expressions to the content being discussed. This will help the applicant be at ease and validate that you’re listening.

Don’t: Be overly happy when talking about serious subjects or raise your eyebrows (or smirk) in disbelief to a statement.

What should I do with my eyes?

Do: Make sufficient eye contact to let the candidate know you’re interested in what they’re saying.

Don’t: Read through the candidate’s resume through the whole interview or look at your phone, smart watch (or any watch), or the clock. This shows your lack of preparation, low interest, and desire to be done.

Remember, your interviewer body language oftentimes speaks louder than your words. If you judge a candidate based on something they say early in the interview and react poorly to it, only to be impressed with the rest of the interview, the candidate may write you off due to your unprofessional behavior.

This list of interviewer body language dos and don’ts comes from our Stratus.hr “Say What? The Comprehensive Interview Guide for Hiring Managers.” To receive your copy of the guide, please contact your certified HR expert. Not a current Stratus.hr client? Complete the form below and our team will contact you shortly!







    Stacey Gibson, Director of Human Resources

    Author Stacey Gibson, Director of Human Resources

    Stacey is a certified Professional in HR (PHR) and the reason her clients would never consider leaving Stratus.hr. When not at work, you can hear her at one of her children’s sporting events -- she’s the one whistling louder than the refs.

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