Can body language and position impact the interview?

Application Process

Our counselors answered:

Can body language and position impact the interview?

Peggy Wallace
Founder Making Conversation, LLC

Can body language and position impact the interview?

Want to increase your clarity and confidence? While it may sound unusual, make sure you’re standing up during a call to set up the interview or during the interview itself. Standing enables you to open up your diaphragm, so your voice sounds confident.  It will also add a touch of professionalism and, perhaps, even a sense of control or power, which can soothe your nerves. If you are at home, get dressed for the call. The interview done in your PJs may end up sounding a tad too relaxed.

Peggy Wallace
Founder Making Conversation, LLC

Can body language and position impact the interview?

Definitely! Waiting room chairs and sofas are there to provide a comfortable, usually over-cushioned spot for the visitor to rest while waiting. Many people "settle" or seek refuge in the furniture. You may be nervous. If so, you may go further and further back into the chair or sofa, perhaps using is as a "cave" to comfort or protect you while you wait. If you are interviewing, you'll discover that standing up to greet someone when they arrive can be a less than graceful fluid motion as you may have to "hoist" yourself from deep inside the cushioned seat. Also, you start out "below" the other person, rather than as their equal.

Peggy Wallace
Founder Making Conversation, LLC

Can body language and position impact the interview?

Stand up for yourself! When you are waiting for an interview, whether it is in an office, a coffee shop, or a restaurant, keep standing. It shows respect. In an office situation look at any art on the walls, talk with the receptionist (if they are not busy) or even stand as you look at the magazines, annual reports, etc.  If you stay standing, you are using more energy than you do sitting, and you might be less nervous when you actually meet the person. Watch out for body swaying, side to side rocking, weight shifting or foot tapping, if you tend to "leak" energy in those disconcerting methods. If the coffee shop or restaurant is crowded or you are otherwise encouraged to wait sitting at a table, sit facing the door, so you can spot the other person and stand up immediately. Stay standing until you shake hands and the other person sits down.

王文君 June Scortino
President IVY Counselors Network

Can body language and position impact the interview?

if you consider yourself inexperienced with interviews, you should consider mock interview practice with counselor or someone else. a theme song may not help you at all if you need the skills to be competitive.

Helen H. Choi
Owner Admissions Mavens

Kinda...

Body position and body language affect all sorts of human interactions everyday and an interview is no exception. Rather than thinking specifically about how to position yourself and your body parts -- just try taking a few deep breaths to relax and SMILE. This can be helpful is putting you and your interviewer at ease!

Patty Gibbs
Vice President for Student Affiars & Dean of Students Wesleyan College

Body language!

Yes, your body language speaks volumes about you and your level of interest. Remember that your face is part of your body and you might be saying one thing, but you face might be saying something else. Sit up straight and be polite....I guess what our mom's told us was true!

Nancy Milne
Owner Milne Collegiate Consulting

Nonverbal cues

Your body language can definitely send a message to the interviewer. Are you slouched in the chair, appearing bored by the whole experience? Are you squirming in your seat because you failed to prepare responses to the typical questions? Are you making eye contact and sitting up straight because you take this interview seriously? You don't have to wear the power suit to pull off the perfect interview. Please, just be neat and clean, no butts bellies or boobs showing to distract the interviewer.

Nicholas Umphrey

Non-verbal communication

I hear different stats to the effect of 90% of all communication is non-verbal, sometimes 75% 80%. Bottom line is A LOT of communication is non-verbal. This includes your tone of voice, posture, eye contact, fidgeting/lack of fidgeting. This is true of any interpersonal interaction. An interview is similar to a first date in that you want to exude confidence to the other person. In American culture, eye contact is of big importance. So is a firm handshake. You don't have to crush the other person's hand, but have a good squeeze in when you shake someone's hand, especially if you are female. If you avoid eye contact, it portrays discomfort and insecurity as does fidgeting. If you have played sports before, sometimes coaches review game tape with you. It is not a bad idea to practice an interview with a friend or adult, and review the footage of your response in the interview. This is extremely helpful..

Kristina Dooley
Independent Educational Consultant Estrela Consulting

Slouchy McGee

Your body language often speaks more loudly than your words, which is why it's important to pay attention to what it might be saying during your interview. An interviewer can spot an uninterested student very quickly by the way in which they are sitting during the interview. If a student is slouching, fiddling with something, not making eye contact or sitting with their arms crossed, the interviewer may feel as if the student would rather be anywhere else but in their office. However, these types of body language are also descriptive of someone who may be nervous or shy, so it's important to be cognizant of these types of signals and make adjustments as needed. You want to make sure your interviewer can recognize your genuine interest in their school, not your interest in what's happening outside their office window.

Laura O'Brien Gatzionis
Founder Educational Advisory Services

Can body language and position impact the interview?

Oh yes, but if you are asking this question, you already know the answer. This is your chance to make a good impression. If you are slouching in the chair and hiding inside your hoody then you are not making a very good one! Look the interviewer directly in the eyes when you are introducing yourself and offer your hand. Speak clearly and confidentially and show that you are interested in the conversation (and not there because your parents made you go.) Thank her for meeting with you and giving up her afternoon (or morning).