How to read body language in an interview image

Body language or, non-verbal cues, in an interview can sometimes be hard to decipher. As an interviewer, it is important to know what may signal a negative attitude or bad habits and what is just the candidate’s unique personality.

Though these are all cues to look out for in an interview, remember that individuals differ and not every “bad” sign is necessarily negative. Look at the whole picture, and not just each instance in isolation in order to evaluate a candidate most effectively.

Below are some examples of nonverbal signals that can come up during an interview process.


Proper posture during an interview should show alertness, dedication, professionalism, and awareness in a situation. A slouch or more of a lazed body position conveys almost too much comfort and potential to not take the interview seriously. From the first introduction you should be able to tell if the posture body language signals one way or the other. Also bear in mind that if someone does not have perfect posture, there may be a reason – a disability, for instance. Be sure to factor this into your evaluation.

Arms and Legs Crossed

Sitting or speaking with crossed arms or legs can reflect a defensiveness and is a common gesture that might make the interviewee feel closed off. This is also a good way to assess a person’s response to any certain question. If there is an unease or not truly feeling comfort table with an answer, a candidate may reposition themselves multiple times during an interview. This is a good way to evaluate how they respond to difficult situations.

Facial Expressions

Like noticing someone crossing their arms, reading a person’s face can help you to determine their true feelings on a question or scenario posed during an interview. A squint or eye roll may be a sign of disagreement. Other cues that come from the face can also be forced or a fake smile.

Eye contact is also important to bear in mind, as you want to ensure that the focus of the interviewee is on the conversation and that they are confident. However, it is important to remember that those who are neurodivergent, for instance, may have a hard time maintaining consistent eye contact. 

Hand Gestures

During the interview there can be moments of nervousness that comes out in certain hand gestures. A clenched fist might not mean that the candidate is frustrated, but maybe there is a nervous tick they are trying to avoid. There are also a lot of common gestures that go alone the lines with speaking with the animation of hands. You should be able to pick up on these as the conversation goes on, noticing what is simple in a person’s nature, and what is a sign of nervousness or unease.

Being able to read body language cues during an interview can really help in assessing the right personality in a candidate that also has the right kind of skill set. But, as mentioned previously, not all body movements are going to be negative body language. These are simply some of the most common nonverbal cues and signals that come up during an interview, so you should have them at the back of your mind so that you can notice any patterns that emerge. As an interviewer, it is important to have this awareness to really pay attention to the needs of the business and the needs of the interviewee.

For other articles that dive into the scope of interviewing skills head over to our advice page. If you’d like assistance in your hiring, you can contact us or submit a job description.

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