How Body Language Makes or Breaks an Interview

We may think that what we say in an interview is most important, but how we say it is what really counts. A famous study, known as the 7-38-55 rule, states that 7% of a message is conveyed through words, 38% is through tone of voice, and a whopping 55% is conveyed by body language ( How you move your hands or hold your posture can therefore be deciding factors in whether you get the job. Here are three pointers to keep in mind during your next interview.


Our first impressions really do count. According to, studies show that many employers can spot the right candidate in the first 30 seconds! The way you introduce yourself is, therefore, pivotal. Everyone knows to make eye contact and not to shake hands limply, but research shows that the most important factor is, in fact, making palm-to-palm contact, not necessarily firmness. According to Patti Wood, author of SNAP: Making the Most of First Impressions, people who shake with only their fingers (not the full palm), are perceived as trying to hide something (

Shake hands

Mind your Head

Although agreeing with what your interviewer has to say is recommended, excessive nodding is not. Studies show that over-enthusiastic head bobbing comes across as too eager to please, and even weak. What’s more, if you’re just blindly nodding the whole time, your interviewer could catch you off-guard by asking you to explain why you agree with a particular point. If you haven’t been listening, you’ll look like a moron. According to Forbes, you should only nod once or twice in agreement, while adding a smile. Remain centred and focused on what’s being said at all times.

Mirror on the Wall

According to Wood, an easy way to subliminally convince your interviewer that you’re The One is to mirror what they do. The key is not to imitate everything (that would be weird), but to just subtly copy them. For example, lean slightly in the same direction or smile when they do. Wood also suggests that you start mirroring right at the beginning of the interview, as this will put your interviewer at ease and make them feel comfortable with you. They should get to like you, right off the bat (

When preparing for an interview, not only is it vital to think about what you’re going to say, but it’s also important to practice how you’ll come across. Sometimes it’s hard to be aware of our body language, as most of it is unconscious. So, it’s advisable to look at your actions in front of a mirror, or do a practice round with a friend. Most importantly, try to remain calm, and, hopefully, put your best foot forward.

Written by Ang Lloyd on behalf of Dynamics Careers, a niche job board that specialises in Microsoft Dynamics jobs.

2 thoughts on “How Body Language Makes or Breaks an Interview”

  1. Another good article.

    Mirroring seems obvious when you say it but did not occur to me until now. I think that is a skill that could be used in any business meeting where you are looking to build rapport.

    As for handshakes, I actually have a good handshake but am often met with limp ones – and that has happened in the past at interview which has really put me off!! I cannot stand limp or awkward handshakes and I have to say the other handshake I hate is the bone-crusher, beloved of (mainly) men who think they have a higher status than they actually do. I have never met a woman who feels compelled to use the bone-crusher. Also, don’t add the squeeze people – it smacks of fake sincerity and power play.

    The other point I would add to this article is be aware of any ‘non verbal leakage’ – which is the name given to body language that ‘leaks’ out against your will. It could be a tapping of the foot, a nervous facial twitch, fiddling with hair, scratching yourself, touching your face etc. It is important to be calm otherwise your subconscious will betray you.

    I would also add, be aware of the interviewer’s body language too as this could give you clues as to what type of person they are and how they may be to work with. You can pick up if they are assertive, dominant or nervy for instance.

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