Body Language and Interviewing

85% of what you communicate is not with words. It’s through the tone of your voice, the way you sit and a wealth of other messages that your body involuntarily sends.

Use these helpful hints below to get the winning advantage when recording your video resume, or participating in a live interview with a potential employer.

1. Coming across confident

Start with a real smile that engages your eyes. Maintaining good eye contact shows respect and interest, so look at the interviewer, camera (or teleprompter) while speaking. Use an open stance (do not cross arms or legs). Relaxed shoulders (not tense) with limbs “hanging loosely” show relaxed confidence.

2. Watch the excess energy

The more energy you have, the more will need to be vented. This often results in mannerisms such as fidgeting, which makes you appear nervous. Be careful not to touch your face, throat, mouth or ears while speaking, as this could make you appear to be holding something back (or not being truthful). Even if this isn’t the case, you want to establish credibility, so avoid touching your face or fidgeting.

3. What to do with hands and arms

Clasped hands are a signal that you are closed off. A palm-to-palm gesture with one thumb over the other sends the signal that you need reassurance. Avoid crossing your arms over your chest, since this signals that you are close-minded, defensive or disinterested. To come across confident, have your hands open and relaxed on the table or at your side. When your body is open, you project trustworthiness.

4. Leg Crossing

Don’t cross your legs. This creates a wall between you and the person you’re speaking to and gives you a closed off attitude. It can also become a distraction if you keep crossing your legs back and forth. Crossed ankles are a “no-no” because you are signaling that you want to be somewhere else.

5. Posture

A straight posture is imperative during the recording of your resume. Pull your shoulders back and sit up straight, then relax your shoulders. You give yourself a burst of confidence and allow for good breathing. This can also help you to avoid or reduce feelings of nervousness and discomfort.

6. Finger gestures

Never point your index fingers like gun barrels. This is seen as aggressive. Touching your index fingertip to your thumb (in an “OK” sign) is non-threatening and can make you seem decisive. Open hands showing palms indicate that nothing is being concealed.

How to Appear Open, Relaxed, and Confident

  • Arms and legs should not be crossed.
  • It is ok to use some gestures, as long as they are synchronous with what you’re saying, and not too wild.
  • Open hands and showing palms show that nothing is being concealed.
  • Make sure shoulders are not tensed up, they should hang loosely down.
  • When we’re anxious, we often use our hands to touch or hold ourselves or otherwise show tension. Relaxed hands hang loose or are used to enhance what we’re saying in open and gentle gestures (not sudden or tense).
  • Avoid pointing as this shows aggression. Steepeling or using the “Ok” sign when making a point gives a positive impression.
  • Look at the camera (as if making eye contact). Don’t force a smile, but think positive thoughts.


Sit up straight;
Slouching indicates a lack of interest or a lack of confidence.

Use minimal, appropriate hand gestures;
If you must use hand gestures while speaking, make sure they’re not too exaggerated and are in synchronization with what you’re saying; otherwise they may be distracting.

Displaying your palms (palms facing upward) is non-threatening and shows openness and honesty.

If you’re inclined to cross your arms or hands, try steepling instead. This is where your fingertips touch (like a spider doing pushups on a mirror). Holding your hands in a steeple shows decisiveness as long as they’re close to the table. Holding them close to your face shows superiority and may not make a good impression.

A genuine smile. Faking a smile is a difficult thing to do and can give an impression of nervousness if not done properly. A genuine smile shows in your eyes. It’s better to think happy, positive thoughts than to try to force it.

Make Eye Contact;
Look at or just below the camera while recording your video resume. (Reading from the teleprompter can help). This shows sincerity and confidence.

Take a deep breath while pulling your shoulders back before beginning. When you exhale, relax your shoulders. Do this at least twice. Make sure your shoulders are relaxed, and not stiff.


Do Not Fidget;
Bobbing your knees up and down, tapping your fingers or patting your hands on the desk or on your body make you appear nervous.

Do Not Cross your Arms;
arms crossed in front of your body say that you’re not in agreement, closed off, defensive or insecure.

Do Not Hold or Grip Yourself;
gripping your arm or your wrist shows that you’re holding something back or may be frustrated. The higher up on your arm that you grip, the higher the level of frustration.

Do Not Clinch your Hands;
this shows frustration. The higher up (close to your face) you clinch your hands, the higher the level of frustration.

Do Not Touch your Face;
Touching your face while you talk is a sign of dishonesty, and at best, nervousness. Avoid touching your face, neck or hair while speaking.

Do Not Make Sudden or Tense Hand Gestures;
Enthusiasm is good, but sudden or tense hand gestures can make you appear nervious and less confident.

This article and more information can be found at in our Resource Center.

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