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Dominate Your Job Interview With Posture


The key to landing the job you want doesn’t always come down to having a perfectly constructed cover letter or even emphasizing your impressive qualifications. It might sound superficial, but it often comes down to your posture.

(Photo Credit: xianrendujia’s/flickr)

It might sound like a cliche, but first impressions really do matter. Often the first 15 to 20 seconds you spend with your job interviewer determines if you will be hired, according to a recent Wall Street Journal article.

At Stanford, Professor Deborah Gruenfeld is teaching a class for MBA candidates called “Acting with Power.” She teaches her students to convey confidence and status by using posture and non-verbal signals.

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Students are taught to make themselves a fortress, sitting with their feet apart and back straight to make themselves look big. She works with students on maintaining eye contact. She also coaches them to answer questions with a straight face, as opposed to a nervous smile. Keeping your cool shows the interviewer you’re professional and confident.

Some students complain they feel they’re losing their authenticity by acting with excessive confidence in an interview, but Gruenfeld argues not acting with confidence is a form of acting too. Children are taught to be submissive to elders and women are taught to cross their legs as a sign of femininity.

There’s a reason why hiring managers put so much emphasis in body language. They aren’t just hiring you for your qualifications and skills, they are also hiring the person, a recent Forbes article explained.

“Interview body language mistakes may tell the hiring manager that you’re flippant, scared or passive,” Patti Wood, a body language expert, told Forbes. “If you’re under-qualified or you say the wrong thing, the interviewer can forgive that, but if your body language says you’re a person who doesn’t work well in stressful situations or that you’re not confident, that’s something they know they can’t change.” 

So keep that back straight, eyes locked in and speak like they would be crazy not to hire you. It really does matter.

Tell Us What You Think

Do you have body language suggestions for job interviews? Share your input on Twitter or in the comments section below.

 More from PayScale

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Job Interview Questions That Will Catch You Off-Guard 


Patrick Creaven
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Biron Clark Recent comment authors
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Biron Clark

I’m a recruiter and here are some tips I have people for face-to-face interviews, in terms of body language:

Wear a suit. Be well groomed

Don’t cross your arms or legs. Don’t fidget or tough your hair or face

Maintain eye contact. This is easy to do when listening, but this is equally important when speaking. It’s harder than it sounds.

Give a firm handshake, but make sure it isn’t too aggressive. 



Amir Mirza
Amir Mirza

Confidence is key… yes it is true that whenever you go for an interview you feel a little stress. I was once at an interview and another guy was sitting next to me. I saw his hands shaking. Just looking at that made me so calm that it was a breeze going through that interview. You have to keep in mind that the person inside that room is not God but only a human being who is looking for the… Read more »

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