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Body Language at work or during an interview

Updated on January 2, 2015


Hand rubbing eye, tired or insecure and hiding? The locking of the jaw/clenched teeth is a characteristic of someone waking up and trying to focus their thoughts.
Hand rubbing eye, tired or insecure and hiding? The locking of the jaw/clenched teeth is a characteristic of someone waking up and trying to focus their thoughts.
Hand grasping hair while looking away indicates stress, worry or perhaps annoyed.
Hand grasping hair while looking away indicates stress, worry or perhaps annoyed.

What you speak isn't half of, what they think

It comes with no surprise that men and women have different ways they express themselves through use of body language. When in a work environment, it is imperative that you know how to read others as well as control your body language and portray in every way that you are saying what it is you intend to say. If you have read my hub, “Body language that suggest they are lying to you”, it was focused of how to perceive whether or not someone is being deceptive. But judging whether or not someone is lying is not the only reason to learn how to read someone’s body language.

In the working world, especially with the economy trying to recover and the job market not recovering fast enough, it is important that you know how people perceive you and more importantly, why you are perceived this way. I have compiled some suggestions having to do with body language perceptions, so that when you are in a meeting or interview you are not being seen as someone you may not be.

Great Video with some Great Info for Interviews

Your First Impression Always Counts

About 70% of the first impression that you leave with someone, is due to your body language, and for this reason, you need to know how to use and control it so you are giving an accurate perception of your personality and attitude.

When we are faced with something we have distaste for, we attempt to ‘block it from sight’, blocking something from sight can be something as simple as closing your eyes or rubbing them. Squinting your eyes at someone can also indicate dislike and disapproval. So if you have allergies, get some eye drops, if you need glasses, go to the optometrist, because you may be telling people you do not like them, and not even know it.

The reason that eyes are suggested to be the window to our souls is because we can not completely control them. Whenever we lie are eyes stay true to ourselves and speak the truth. We can restrain from rubbing them, or keep ourselves from blinking rapidly, but not from dilation. When we see something we like or someone that we are interested in, our pupils will dilate, when we rest our eyes upon something we don’t like the pupils constrict. Same goes for the eye brows. Pupils dilate, brows rise, they constricted and the brow lowers.

The eyes can bring someone to their knees, they can say embarrassed, humbles, proud or shy. When we have a crush and are shy about it, we may make brief eye contact, locking on one another for a moment and break away. If you can learn to control how you use your eye expressions, you can easily begin to dominate every situations and conversations that you have.

Men and Women show different Body Language

An insecure woman may play with a necklace or place her hand above her heart on her chest. If the woman is pregnant, she may move her hand from her chest/neck area and then down towards her baby belly (think of this as if she is first calming herself, and then moves her hand towards her belly to calm and protect her child).

An insecure man-may play with his tie or rub the back of his neck. The movement of the man is more vigorous than the smooth glide of the woman’s movement.

Another difference between how a woman and man use body language as a form of communication is; a man will typically try to claim dominance in a situation. Pressing his hands together, finger to finger, palm to palm and then stretching the fingers outwards to make a tent. Woman may also do this, but primarily this is a gesture that is master by men. In the event a woman does display this gesture it is never at the same level as a man, who will hold his hands level to his chest or chin. A woman keeps her hands lower, and does not maintain the tent shape to her hands. She intertwines her fingers, and holds her hands in front of her. As the mans gesture means dominance, the woman’s means lack of confidence. Think of this as-a mans hands are held at the chin, just where he would hold them if he was preparing to fight and his hands were clenched into a fist. A woman hands low and in front, fingers laced-as if she was praying…Please God, end this argument-I feel so stupid.

Show who you are in the most beneficial way possible

Have you ever been in a business meeting and noticed that the person next to use has their ankles wrapped around the legs of their chair? This indicates that the person is uncomfortable. When someone is asked a difficult question, have you ever noticed that the start to kick their foot as they think how to answer it? From business meetings to interviews the same rules apply. This is a situation where you do want to dominate the conversation, or at least portray that you are confident in your abilities to get the job done and done right. While explaining your ideas or speaking of yourself, it is appropriate to make the tent or steeple shape with your hands, but not when you are talking about how you worked over someone else and managed their daily tasks. You want to appear fair, strong, but not like the office bully. If you can’t tell when your hands can be used to help you express yourself effectively while not offending or demeaning someone, just keep them at your side or resting in front of you on a note pad.

  • If you are in a job interview, keep eye contact.
  • Do not let your eyes wonder around the room. Whether or not you mean to, you are telling them that you are bored and uninterested.
  • Don’t sit, with your back against the back of the chair, this shows disrespect for the discussion, and tells the interviewer that you are cocky and feel as if you are better than what the discussion is.
  • If you want to show interest, tilt your head ever so slightly, to relax your neck and keep eye contact.
  • Keeping eye contact does not mean fixing on another person's eyes, at least not continuously throughout a conversation. You may give someone the creeps, or look as though you are confrontational.
  • Eye contact should have rests of 4-5seconds. Look down at your notebook, or glance in front of you, but make sure that your eyes don’t wonder, you do need to make it back to the conversation that you are having.
  • Sit up straight and slightly lean into the conversation (ladies, keep your knees together, ankles together, and if it is more comfortable, bring your feet in slightly towards you.
  • Men, keep your legs no more than 5-6 inches apart, no one needs to know, nor do they probably care about the goods between your legs-there is no need to sit with your legs spread wide apart. Keep one leg bent at/or close to a 45 degree angle the other can be slightly taken back, as if in a walking position).
  • Do not sit on the edge of the chair, keep your rear end planted firmly in the center of the seat. You don’t want to appear as if you are ready to run away, nor ready to fall asleep. When you sit in the center of your seat, it is as if you are wide awake, planting your roots and ready to start the job.
  • Make sure that your tone and facial expressions along with your body language fit well together.
  • If you are frowning while saying enthusiastically that you had the most fantastic weekend, you will either come off as being psychotic or sarcastic. So if that is not your intention, be aware of how you say, what you say and the way you look to others when you say it.
  • Be confident, but not cocky. People want for someone to speak at their level, neither over nor below them.


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    • H.C Porter profile image

      Holly 6 years ago from Lone Star State

      sweetguide- you are very welcome, thanks for reading :)

    • sweetguide profile image

      sweetguide 6 years ago from River side

      Interesting information. Thank you.

    • H.C Porter profile image

      Holly 6 years ago from Lone Star State

      theking2020, yes- it is telling isn't it. as long as you can read it correctly. If you don't, you may end up assuming the incorrect verdict and missing out. Thanks for the comment-I appreciate the feedback :)

    • profile image

      theking2020 6 years ago

      Great details, body language can tell about everything specially in an interview or in date right of someone can know if hired for the job, or if the person is interested in you in the date.

    • H.C Porter profile image

      Holly 6 years ago from Lone Star State

      justmesuzanne- thank you for the comment- I appreciate the feedback :) glad that you liked it

    • justmesuzanne profile image

      justmesuzanne 6 years ago from Texas

      Great, detailed information! Voted up and awesome! :)

    • H.C Porter profile image

      Holly 6 years ago from Lone Star State

      SusieQ42 - GREAT! I am glad you gained from this hub! It is always a nice thing to know that someone learned something from something I wrote. Thank you for the feedback, I appreciate it!

    • profile image

      SusieQ42 6 years ago

      Very interesting hub! It is so true, yet something most of us don't really think about. I appreciate the great information!

    • H.C Porter profile image

      Holly 6 years ago from Lone Star State

      incomeguru, very true- a persons body language can tell you so much about their intentions and who they are. It should be examined and noted at the start of any type of relationship. Thanks for reading the hub and for leaving a comment. I appreciate the feedback.

    • incomeguru profile image

      Oyewole Folarin 6 years ago from Lagos

      This skill should not be neglected, even when dating, you easily identify the genuine lover when you can read body language.

    • H.C Porter profile image

      Holly 6 years ago from Lone Star State


      thank you! and lol... I wrote this hub when I was truly screwing up during interviews. I was tired of giving off the wrong signs so I decided, what they hey- lets see what i can find and learn today... this was what I learned and what took me over a year to truly understand and begin to correct... I believe this subject matter, should be taught in school being that is critical to learn and know.

    • H.C Porter profile image

      Holly 6 years ago from Lone Star State

      karen2rod, you are quite welcome- Thank you for reading and for leaving some feedback. I could not agree more, language of all kinds is the medium to interact with others, which is why body language is so important to know how to read as well as give.

    • H.C Porter profile image

      Holly 6 years ago from Lone Star State

      fonta- very true, I think that before the interview even begins, people should start be analysed for what they are saying with their body language. You can easily see whether or not the person is one who will accept others and try within a team or if they are all about self promotions and individualized success. People say so much without saying anything out loud. thanks for the read and for the comment. I am glad you liked the hub :)

    • fonta profile image

      fonta 6 years ago

      Thanks for this valuable Hub. In fact body Language itself should be one of the main criteria when we would be selecting a candidate right from how he is entering the interview room.

    • H.C Porter profile image

      Holly 6 years ago from Lone Star State

      manlypoetryman, not a problem..glad you got some useful info out of this :)

    • manlypoetryman profile image

      manlypoetryman 6 years ago from (Texas !) Boldly Writing Poems Where No Man Has Gone Before...

      Good Stuff...Appreciate the insight on body language.

    • H.C Porter profile image

      Holly 6 years ago from Lone Star State


      thanks for the comment... i appreciate the feedback, thanks for reading

    • way2workfromhome profile image

      way2workfromhome 6 years ago

      Thanks for the great article. I love reading your articles.

    • H.C Porter profile image

      Holly 7 years ago from Lone Star State

      celeBritys4africA- Thanks! I am glad you liked it!

    • celeBritys4africA profile image

      celeBritys4africA 7 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      The photos are very expressive. I like your hub.

    • H.C Porter profile image

      Holly 7 years ago from Lone Star State

      The Jet, Thanks for the props...Always a great comment to receive on a hub. Thank you for reading :)

    • The Jet profile image

      The Jet 7 years ago from The Bay

      This was a cool hub. Props.

    • H.C Porter profile image

      Holly 7 years ago from Lone Star State


      LOL, I am right there with you! I am such a bad interviewer it is hilarious (not really-but I am currently working so I was able to show them something positive-and can laugh at my quarks for the time being).

      I know how to spot the problems, I know when I am giving the wrong message-yet I struggle each and every time I am faced with an interview or confrontation. I think it is nerves.

    • Ingenira profile image

      Ingenira 7 years ago

      Whew... I think it is hard to control the body language and spoken language at the same time.

      Nevertheless, it is good to be aware of one's body language...

    • H.C Porter profile image

      Holly 7 years ago from Lone Star State


      thanks for reading and I am glad you pulled some useful info from the hub...

      hope it can come in handy for you-one way or another :)

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 7 years ago from UK

      Detailed hub on non-verbals cues- written well and very useful, H.C, you've got a new fan!

    • H.C Porter profile image

      Holly 7 years ago from Lone Star State


      Thanks for the comment-Glad I was able to earn your following :)

    • Webskitzo profile image

      Webskitzo 7 years ago from Kelowna, BC

      Solid Hub! Very in-depth. Consider me a new reader =p

    • H.C Porter profile image

      Holly 7 years ago from Lone Star State

      rishy rich

      tahnks for taking the time to read and to comment- I appreciate the feedback on the hub :)

    • Rishy Rich profile image

      Rishad I Habib 7 years ago from Bangladesh

      Very helpful information. A little inclusion of behavioral psychology would made it better. Gud job!

    • H.C Porter profile image

      Holly 8 years ago from Lone Star State


      I hate interviews! I am sure that most people have been in a situation where they are having an off day and things just go wrong...That seems to be the theme for most of my interviews, lol Thanks for commenting

    • borge_009 profile image

      borge_009 8 years ago from Philippines

      Thanks for the info. I had once an experience in a job interview and I could still remember that funny language I am doing. LOL.. Thanks

    • H.C Porter profile image

      Holly 8 years ago from Lone Star State

      Thanks Mike- I am the same way- I have a hard time controlling my body language and faking content if I am unhappy with a situation. Employers don't always want to know or care if you are happy or not-they just want the job done without bringing down the moral of the office atmosphere. I am glad that you read and took the time to comment. I always look forward to your feed back.

    • Mike Lickteig profile image

      Mike Lickteig 8 years ago from Lawrence KS USA

      H.C., thanks for sharing some great information. I was once fired from a job even though my work was good, and I gave a great deal of thought to the idea that my body language was negative. The environment was oppressive, and I responded involuntarily by rubbing my eyes or holding my head. I have wondered if I looked so miserable, they actually thought they were doing me a favor.

      I am better than I used to be with non-verbal cues, but I'm still told it is easy to read what I'm feeling from my expressions and body language.

      Thanks again, this was a very interesting article.


    • H.C Porter profile image

      Holly 8 years ago from Lone Star State


      Thanks for the comment and for taking the time to read this hub. I too try to make my verbal and non verbal portray the same thing-but when nervous it can be tough, hopefully you are better at it than I am/at least when in a nerve racking situation :)


    • sunforged profile image

      sunforged 8 years ago from

      interpreting body language is a powerful tool to have in ones arsenal, great description, I like the photos you found.

      I make a conscious effort to make my verbal and non-verbal communication agree.

    • H.C Porter profile image

      Holly 8 years ago from Lone Star State


      Thanks for leaving a comment. I get so nervous before interviews-it is ridiculous. I had one last week, and either I look like I am about ready to throw up or I ramble on and I am not too sure if I make sense. LOL... Oh well, they hired me (or so it looks like-start date is some time in the next month), but I am sure I was hired for my artistic talents and marketing background- not my


    • kirstenblog profile image

      kirstenblog 8 years ago from London UK

      It has been a while since my last interview but I remember them well! I always tried hard to think about my body language as well as the words I used, a big one was avoiding saying umm all the time. It was a tough job getting a job! I am american and the last time I had to job hunt was here in the UK, no easy task as they must offer positions to citizens first. I had quite a few interviews where they said they had really liked me and wished they could give me the job BUT had to go with a british citizen :(. I can say that the compliments did keep me from losing hope and one of the first jobs I had applied for I actually got, just had to wait a year! My last interview was for my second job and I knew I was a shoe in for it, it was at the school where I was doing my first job and they often joked that they weren't going to let me go anywhere! In spite of this I gotta say I was still nervous in the interview! It's like going on stage to preform, you got the part but still have to audition and its still scary and exciting. When I have to re-enter the job hunting game someday I shall keep some of your tips in mind :)

    • H.C Porter profile image

      Holly 8 years ago from Lone Star State

      Thanks entertainmentplus for the comment. I am glad that you stopped by and read this hub :)


    • entertianmentplus profile image

      entertianmentplus 8 years ago from United States

      Good info awesome hub..

    • Bovine Currency profile image

      Bovine Currency 8 years ago

      exellent hub. It is true what you say. I think it is often a recognised fact that body language is powerful but I do wonder how many people use that to their advantage. If you are confident, yes, others will know that and you will come across more trustworthy. You can trust me, I was a used car salesman. I know these things :D

    • Ken R. Abell profile image

      Ken R. Abell 8 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      Fascinating stuff & well written. Thanks for sharing it here. Except now I am likely going to be too conscious of what signals my posture sends. :>)


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