Employers Tell All: Biggest Body Language Mistakes During An Interview

Acing the job interview isn’t just about how you answer the interviewer’s questions, said Rosemary Haefner, CHRO for CareerBuilder. It’s also about what your body language says about you. Employers are looking for those non-verbal cues to indicate a candidate’s level of professionalism and if they will be the right fit for the position.


Much like a highly anticipated first date, a job interview can go from pure potential to pure disaster in mere minutes. Employers shared with Diversity Digest ,  instant deal breakers and how body language can hinder a candidate’s chance of moving forward in the interview process.

According to the nationwide survey of more than 500 employers, 51 per cent know within the first five minutes of an interview if a candidate is a good fit for a position. By minute 15, that number reaches 92 per cent.

Top 10 Body Language Mistakes

Facial expressions, posture and other physical behaviours can reveal more about job seekers than the words they use. When asked to identify the biggest body language mistakes job seekers make, hiring managers named the following:

1.    Failing to make eye contact: 60 per cent
2.    Failing to smile: 40 per cent
3.    Playing with something on the table: 36 per cent
4.    Fidgeting too much in their seat: 31 per cent
5.    Crossing their arms over their chest: 30 per cent
6.    Having bad posture: 23 per cent
7.    Having a weak handshake: 23 per cent
8.    Playing with their hair or touching their face: 21 per cent
9.    Having a handshake that is too strong: 11 per cent
10.    Using too many hand gestures: 7 per cent

Haefner recommends the following tips to help ensure a successful interview:

1.    Rehearse: Preparation is your best defense against disaster. Practice your interview skills ahead of time with friends or family members, and ask them for their feedback on your posture, handshake and levels of eye contact.
2.    Press “Record:” Another helpful exercise is to make a video of yourself answering common interview questions. Watching yourself can help you identify any mistakes you may be making unconsciously.
3.    Have Your “Elevator Pitch” Ready: An elevator pitch is a 30-second speech summarising what you do and why you’d be a perfect fit for the role – and it’s the perfect answer to that often asked question, “Tell me about yourself.” Make sure you are also ready to back these claims up later with specific examples that showcase your skills and experience.
4.    Do Your Homework: Research the company beforehand and come prepared with questions for the interviewer. Employers want to know you’re just as interested in them as they are in you.
5.    Just Breathe: Last but not least, remember to breathe. Taking a few deep breaths prior to the interview can help relieve some of the anxiety that leads to fidgeting or other nervous tics later on.

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