Body language: Tips to get you ahead of the competition

Body Language

In a fast-paced, cut-throat job market, it’s important to stand out from the competition and make recruitment managers take notice. That’s where body language comes in. An effective interview requires you to strike the perfect balance between confident and humble, thoughtful and concise. You need to show the hiring manager that you are organised and professional without coming across as arrogant or pompous. That means that even before your interview begins, you need to ensure you’re putting your best self forward. From pre-interview prep to dressing appropriately on interview day, these body language tips will help you get hired faster than your competition.

Do your research and be prepared

The first step to making a lasting impression is being prepared. Do your research on the company and position for which you’re interviewing, and make sure that every part of your application is perfect. A hiring manager’s first impression of you is based on your CV and cover letter, so these are the most important things to get right. Make sure you’ve dressed appropriately for the interview. First impressions are hard to shake, so having a professional wardrobe that shows your potential employer that you take your interview seriously will put you ahead of the competition right out of the gate.

Sit up straight

Posture is an essential part of body language, and sitting up straight shows that you’re confident and in control of yourself. It also sends the message that you respect the hiring manager and the position they hold by taking the interview seriously. As an added bonus, sitting up straight will also help you to breathe properly which will reduce your anxiety and help you to focus on the conversation at hand. If you are interviewing in a less formal setting, such as a coffee shop, it is just as important to project confidence and professionalism. If the interview involves standing, stand up straight. You may even want to walk around a little bit to show your potential employer that you are energetic and enthusiastic about the position.

Shake hands confidently

Shaking hands with the hiring manager is a great way to start off the interview on the right foot. Shake hands confidently and make eye contact as you do so. A limp, unconfident handshake can give the impression that you’re not sure about the position, so make sure you shake hands firmly and make eye contact. This will communicate to the hiring manager that you are confident and certain that you are the right person for the job. If you’re worried that you’re not confident enough, practice shaking hands with a friend or family member ahead of time. This will help you get used to the pressure and make sure that you don’t make any accidental faux pas during the interview.

Maintain eye contact

While shaking hands and meeting the hiring manager’s eyes shows that you’re confident, maintaining eye contact throughout the interview will send the message that you’re thoughtful and attentive to what’s being said. Studies show that maintaining eye contact for approximately 7 seconds is the optimal length of time when meeting someone for the first time. It also shows that you are being sincere. Breaking eye contact only momentarily is normal, especially if the hiring manager is speaking. However, if you find yourself looking away for longer periods of time, then you may be over-thinking the interview. Focus on the conversation and eye contact will come more naturally.

Show some teeth

When you’re answering a question, smile. A hiring manager can spot teeth from a mile away, so make sure you’re giving a genuine smile as you respond to questions. Smiling shows that you are confident and relaxed, and it also makes you more approachable. A relaxed and genuine smile is much less intimidating than a straight, serious face. Make sure to smile as you shake hands with the hiring manager, as this will provide a great first impression. Showing your teeth also helps to open up your body language, making you appear more approachable and friendly.  Try to avoid grimacing though.

Be confident without being arrogant

Make sure you’re confident but not arrogant by avoiding these common blunders: – Don’t brag about your accomplishments. Instead, use “crediting” as a way to respectfully and modestly acknowledge that you’re proud of what you’ve done. Don’t be too vague about your skills and abilities. While it’s important not to sound arrogant, you also don’t want the hiring manager think you don’t have the skills you listed on your resume.


The interview process is extremely competitive, so the more you can do to differentiate yourself from the pack, the better. That means being prepared, dressing the part, and using good body language to show confidence without being arrogant. While an interview can be incredibly stressful, it also gives you an opportunity to show off your best self. If you follow these body language tips and do your best, you can walk away from the interview confident that you’ve made a great first impression.

Main picture credit: Photo by Hunters Race on Unsplash