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How to Interpret and Respond to an Interviewer’s Body Language

  • 14th Sep'23

The job interview process can be a daunting experience, especially when you are seeking to make a positive first impression in a new company. It involves uncertainties about the interviewer's perceptions and judgments, leading to a sense of vulnerability. While certain aspects of the interview, such as preparation and knowledge about the role, lie within your control, there's a less apparent factor that plays a crucial role: body language. Regrettably, many job seekers tend to overlook the significance of nonverbal communication. However, mastering the ability to interpret and respond appropriately to nonverbal cues can provide a competitive advantage in any job interview scenario.


Observing Nonverbal Cues: What to Look For

As with verbal communication, nonverbal cues are an important component of understanding and responding to people. Nonverbals can be as simple as crossed arms or a nod when agreeing, all the way up to the body language displaying a person's comfort level or lack thereof with something. 

To effectively interpret nonverbal cues, we must pay attention to how someone holds their body and how they move, their facial expressions, gestures, and postures. Some common signs of discomfort could include avoiding eye contact, slumped shoulders, or standing too close for comfort. 


Decoding Positive Body Language: Signs of Interest and Engagement

Deciphering an interviewer's body language can offer valuable insights into their feelings and level of engagement during the conversation. Although it's challenging to definitively discern their thoughts, certain subtle cues indicate interest and receptiveness. Pay attention to signs like leaning towards you, maintaining strong eye contact, occasional nods of agreement, and mirroring movements such as crossing arms or legs. A genuine smile showcases positive engagement, signifying enjoyment and confidence in the discussion.

 Additionally, an open and relaxed posture with arms uncrossed suggests comfort and receptivity, while leaning away or closed-off postures may indicate emotional distance. Observing nonverbal cues is a crucial skill for building meaningful connections and understanding the true reception of our words beyond their literal meaning in fostering strong relationships.

If you are preparing for a behavioral interview, then you must consider all of these points mentioned above.


Identifying Negative Body Language: Potential Red Flags

Beyond the evident indicators of negative body language, such as crossed arms or frequent aversion of gaze, several subtler cues can be equally revealing. Gestures like rolling eyes, impatient sighs, and heavy sarcasm should be regarded as possible red flags. These nonverbal behaviors often signify underlying discomfort or even resentment towards you. To address these concerns proactively, it is vital not only to be attuned to these cues but also to engage in open dialogue by posing questions and providing a safe space for individuals to express their feelings without apprehension of judgment.


Mirroring and Matching: Building Rapport with the Interviewer

Forming a connection with your interviewer is a crucial aspect of a successful interview. Achieving this connection can be accomplished by employing mirroring and matching techniques, wherein you subtly imitate their body language, energy level, posture, and movements. 

Mirroring involves copying the interviewer's expressions or behaviors, while matching entails emulating their demeanor. For instance, if they lean forward and maintain direct eye contact, follow suit; if they speak softly and slowly, respond in a similar tone, avoiding quick or loud speech. Employing these techniques not only showcases your attentive listening skills but also demonstrates understanding and sensitivity to their emotions, all of which are essential for establishing rapport during the interview process. If you build a rapport with the interviewer, then you can easily navigate all the challenging interview questions with confidence.


Adjusting Your Body Language to Create a Positive Impression

Your body language is a powerful communicator of your personality and how others perceive you. To make positive impressions, it is crucial to adjust your body language intentionally. Demonstrations of humility, such as avoiding eye contact or keeping hands behind your back, can create an aura of unapproachability and mistrust. Conversely, displaying openness through open palms, maintaining eye contact, and adopting an upright posture can foster a perception of willingness to communicate openly.

Moreover, small physical gestures like nodding or smiling indicate active listening and engagement in the conversation. Additionally, maintaining good posture is vital for exuding confidence. It conveys not only a strong sense of self-assurance but also emphasizes the importance of your words. By mastering these aspects of body language, you can effectively convey your intentions and establish positive connections with others.


Navigating Cultural Differences in Body Language Interpretation

When interacting with individuals from different cultures, being mindful of body language becomes crucial. Each culture has unique ways of expressing emotions and conveying messages through non-verbal cues, which may not be easily interpreted by those from diverse backgrounds. To communicate effectively across international boundaries, it is essential to familiarize yourself with commonly used gestures and facial expressions in various countries or cultures. Interpreting body language can be challenging, necessitating an open mind and heightened awareness of your surroundings. These body language tips are vital for interview success when engaging with individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds. These are some body language tips for interview success that you must consider.


In conclusion, reading and recognizing the body language signals in an interview can provide you with additional insight into how your interviewer is feeling. Being mindful of this information can help you adjust your approach accordingly, become a stronger candidate, and ultimately increase your chances of landing the job. 

Successful candidates know that interpersonal communication skills go beyond just words and knowing how you must start responding to cues can make all the difference in getting hired. However, it’s important to remember not to overanalyze every signal as it may be generated due to external factors rather than personal opinions about you or your qualifications. 


Shellye is committed to helping people from diverse backgrounds to achieve their aspirations in careers and life. The content published above was made in collaboration with our members.

Shellye Archambeau is determined to help you with all possible strategies to climb the ladder of success. She values your feedback. Do mention them in the comment section below.

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