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Non-Verbal Cues to Avoid During Interviews

Have you been missing the mark on your interview performance lately? In many ways, interview success is not just achieved by what you say but how you present yourself. Your body language, or non-verbal communication, can significantly impact how you’re perceived by the interviewer, as well as how well you convey your responses throughout the interview. Practicing positive non-verbal cues is key to effective interview preparation. Now, with virtual interviews becoming increasingly prevalent, demonstrating proper body language is even more critical to top interview performance. As you brush up on your interviewing skills, here’s a round-up of non-verbal cues to avoid:

Arriving late.

As one of the worst offenders of poor interview performance, arriving late to an interview can have a devastating impact on your chance of getting a job. Getting to an interview late indicates to the interviewer that you don’t value his or her time, and that you may not be a reliable employee. Making every effort to arrive early will help the interview get off on the right start, showing you care about the opportunity. You can set yourself up for a non-stressful interview experience by picking out your outfit the night before, setting an alarm, doing a “test drive” to the interview site ahead of time.

Making exaggerated hand gestures.

While talking with your hands can complement what you’re saying, overly exaggerated hand gestures can be distracting and take away from your interview responses. If you’re inclined to move your hands when you’re nervous, consider folding your hands in front of you at the start of the interview. Being mindful of the placement of your hands will help you focus more on what you’re saying so you don’t appear fidgety or restless.

Slouching or making yourself look “small.”

When you’re nervous, it’s common to slouch in your seat and try to make yourself appear less visible. To present yourself with confidence and poise, go into the interview with a sense of self-awareness about your body language and overall demeanor. Making direct eye contact, smiling, and firmly shaking the interviewer’s hand help to make a strong first impression. Remember, perception is reality during an interview. Portraying a sense of competence is integral to your ability to sell yourself and show you’re qualified for the job.

Crossing your arms.

Crossing your arms is one of the most important habits to break, especially during interviews. This non-verbal cue can make you appear closed off and unapproachable, sending a signal that you’re disinterested in the interview. Remember, employers are seeking individuals not just with skills, but who will work well with others and be an asset to their team. If you’re prone to crossing your arms, make a point to fold your hands in front of you and sit up straight. This will open your body up so you appear warm and welcoming, projecting the type of attitude you would bring to the workplace.

Failing to mirror the interviewer.

Believe it or not, successful interview performance is highly predicated on your ability to mirror the interviewer, or essentially adapt to their communication and behavior style. Paying attention to the interviewer’s tone and body language, and adopting the same style in your communication, will help you better connect with them. For instance, cues to pick up on include facial expressions, speaking volume, and hand movements. Observing how the interviewer speaks, and projecting a similar persona, will allow you to have a more impactful conversation that resonates with the other person.

Appearing disheveled.

No matter how prepared you may feel, appearing disheveled during an interview can create the impression that you didn’t take the time to put your best foot forward. A big part of making a strong first impression involves grooming and dressing appropriately for the setting. Even if you’re being interviewed virtually from your home, it’s still important to dress with semi-professional attire. Additionally, being organized and courteous is also part of approaching the interview experience with respect for the other person. Leaving your phone in the car (or putting it on silent), arriving with your resume and giving the interviewer your full attention are essential to a successful interview.


Most hiring managers would agree that non-verbal cues are just as important as your verbal communication, reflecting strongly on your character and personality. Doing mock interviews can be one of the best ways to improve your interviewing abilities and ensure your non-verbal communication enhances your performance. When your body language and actions complement your verbal communication, powerful interview performance can take place.


Are you seeking a temporary or temp-to-hire job? By working with HH Staffing, a top Florida staffing agency, you’ll receive assistance finding employment in a wide range of industries, including property management, accounting and finance, office and administrative, and light industrial, among others.


Until Next Time,


Your Staffing Partner, Darrin Rohr- President, CEO, and Chief Servant

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Current owner of HH Staffing and Former Chief HR Officer for several successful Multinational Fortune 500 Companies. Brings a fresh perspective from decades of experiences creating Great Workplace Cultures by building high-performance teams while leading and managing people from all different backgrounds. HH Staffing is headquartered in Sarasota, Florida, and is uniquely positioned to serve both local and national clients.