Leaning back is lazy or arrogant, leaning forward is aggressive and slouching is just lazy. Instead, experts say to aim for a neutral position, sitting tall as if a string were connecting your head to the ceiling.
Breaking Eye Contact
“Hold eye contact one extra eyelash,” says charisma coach Cynthia Burnham. She says we tend to feel uncomfortable holding eye contact once a personal connection has been created. Don’t stare, but try to hold your interviewers gaze for one extra second before breaking away. “Do this especially when shaking hands,” she says.
Avoid Chopping and Pointing Gestures
Cynthia Burnham, a California-based charisma coach, says chopping or pointing motions can”cut up” the space between you and your interviewer in an aggressive way.
Never Cross Your Arms
“Arms crossed over your chest signal defensiveness and resistance,” says Karen Friedman, communications expert. “When they’re open at your sides you appear more approachable.”
Beware of Excessive Nodding
“Sometimes we undermine how powerful or in focus we are by nodding like a bobble-head doll,” says Burnham, a habit that’s particularly common in women. “Nod once or twice with a smile of agreement. But find your still center and stay there.”
The nervous energy will distract the interviewer. You want [him or her] focused on what you have to say, not the coins jingling in your pocket or the hangnail on your finger.
Control Your Hand Placement and Movement
It’s important to appear approachable and open, so don’t try to control gestures or fidgeting by keeping your hands still. This is especially important when you begin to speak, says Friedman. “Keeping your hands in your pockets or behind your back inhibits movement and makes you appear stiff.”
Manger Your Facial Expressions
“If your tone isn’t matching your facial expression you could find yourself in hot water,” says communications coach Matt Eventoff. “If someone asks what you’re most passionate about and your face is in deadpan while you answer, it’s not going to translate well.”
Friedman says distracted or upward eye movements can suggest someone is lying or not sure of themselves. “It’s important to look someone directly int he eye to convey confidence and certainty.”
Avoid Constant Staring
It’s important to be confident and look the interviewer in the eye. But then break away. Locking eyes with someone for an extended period of time can be interpreted as aggressive, not to mention creepy.