Working Wildcat: Improving interview body language

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Interviewing is a nerve-wracking process. Trying to say the right thing, dress appropriately and not sweat through your shirt can be exhausting.

Unfortunately for some, the focus on saying the right thing overshadows proper body language during an interview.

If you have an interview coming up, avoid these five body-language mishaps.

1. Sitting with your arms folded

Though it may just be a comfortable way to rest your arms, it appears that you’re unfriendly and disengaged from the interviewer. Some people fold their arms to keep from talking with their hands excessively. If this is an issue for you, try to sit with your hands folded in your lap instead.

2. Avoiding eye contact

When people get nervous, they tend to look away from the person they are talking to. This should be avoided during an interview. Try to look directly at interviewers when they are speaking to you and when you are speaking to them. It shows that you are confident and engaged in the conversation.

3. Fidgeting while you speak

Crossing your legs and shaking your foot signals that you are nervous and can be distracting to the interviewer. Try to plant both feet on the floor and fold your hands in your lap. I once interviewed someone who kept clinking her nails on the table. By the end of the interview, I was so distracted that I missed almost everything she had said.

4. Sitting with bad posture

Slouching is just lazy and leaning too far forward can come off as aggressive. It’s best to sit tall with your back pressed against the chair.

5. Being a bobblehead doll

While you should nod occasionally to show you are listening, don’t overdo it. A nod is supposed to signify that you understand or agree. When you sit there with your head swaying back and forth, the interviewer might not know if you’re listening or just going with the motions.

While there isn’t just one way to ace an interview, there are several ways to blow one, so keep these five tips in mind during your next interview.

Ariel Hernandez can be reached at [email protected] or @aj7uriel on Twitter.