Common Body Language Mistakes in an Interview

Estimated reading time: 1 mins

Over 2,000 recruiters were surveyed about interviews – here are the surprising results.

Did you know that 33% of recruiters know whether they will hire you within 90 seconds?

That’s according to a recent survey by Interview Laboratory. The research has highlighted some interesting common faux pas that put recruiters right off:

  • 67% of interviewees don’t make eye contact. A lot is communicated by the eyes – if we don’t make eye contact it can appear as if we have something to hide.
  • 38% of interviewees don’t smile! What does this say about the interviewee? It would suggest that they’re too serious, and possible quite grumpy. A smile can convey 1,000 words. Interviews can be nerve-racking – I know – but we must remember to smile…
  • 33% have bad posture. Slouching looks bad. Don’t do it.
  • 33% fidget too much. A sign of nerves, and probably something that most people don’t know they’re doing. I can fidget, unless I am mindful of it. It takes concentration to avoid doing it.
  • 26% have a weak handshake. If it helps, practice with a friend or family member.
  • 21% play with their hair or touch their face. A sign of something to hide – but not done deliberately. Again it takes concentration and practice to avoid doing this.
  • 21% cross their arms. This tells your interviewer that a subject is uncomfortable for you. Crossing your arms is a way of protecting yourself – even though you might not recognise you’re doing this.
  • 9% use too many hand gestures. Sitting on your hands is not an option, but finding a way of avoiding flinging your hands about will avoid this. Rest them on a table, or your lap.

What’s also interesting is that your visual appearance is a major factor in the first impression. Particularly when it comes to clothing.

Taste in attire is somewhat subjective, so we always run a risk of an interviewer taking a dislike to it, but the research does give us some important pointers – don’t wear bright suits! Also, being overly fashionable is to our disadvantage. Recently, men’s fashion in ties has become skinnier – they might look cool but perhaps not in an interview!


Source: Interview Laboratory

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About the author /

Simon is a creative and passionate business leader dedicated to having fun in the pursuit of high performance and personal development. He is co-founder of Applied Change, a Business Change consultancy based in the UK. Simon is also an Ambassador for Gloucestershire business. Simon is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Professional Development.

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  1. Dave

    Thanks for sharing this – I have an interview tomorrow!

  2. Simon

    Thanks Dave – hope the interview goes well for you.



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