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  • Writer's pictureMatthew Coppola

Reading body language in a job interview setting

Another helpful skill is a keen ability to observe your surroundings to understand the situation better. Pay attention to the appearance and behaviour of the individual you are meeting, as these can be a rich source of clues for learning about the other person.

We learn much of what we need to know about other people by observing them. When we watch, we collect the non-verbal information they present to us. From these, we can make some inferences about their energy levels, how they are feeling, and their readiness to say yes to the sale.

Here are some other things we should be aware of:

Body Movements

Is the person exhibiting open, relaxed movements, making eye contact, or fidgeting during your presentation? Are their arms crossed, or is their body turned away from you? While closed or turned away body movements do not indicate a closed mind or a person not interested, these are clues to paying attention.

Facial Expressions

Notice whether they are looking you in the face, have an alert expression on their face, and appear relaxed. Signs you have talked too lengthy or not engaged their interest might include yawning, rolling eyes or taking peeks at their watch. Indications they are uptight about something include a tense or worried look and whether their hands are relaxed or busy. Generally, the higher the corporate ladder people go, the less they smile. So don’t be put off by a stern visage. As for you, try for a pleasant expression rather than many smiles.


Careless attire or lack of grooming could indicate this person is unimpressed by himself, his organisation, his job, and perhaps by you. But, on the other hand, everyone will expect your grooming to be impeccable.

Body Build

Are they relaxed or tense? Ramrod straight or stooped? We do make some assumptions based on posture. While it may be dangerous for you to make assumptions, make sure your posture would make your mother proud.


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