Skip to main content
Job Interview Tips

Your Posture Speaks Louder than Words

By Paulo Vargas on June 6, 2015

While school taught many of us how to crunch numbers and write well, there are scant subjects on how to convey confidence.

Conveying confidence isn't just about looking like you can do the job, it's also portraying the best image you have of yourself. The more confident you are and the more you let yourself shine through, the more people will trust you and want to be around you.

There are many mental and emotional strategies you can use to boost your confidence just like there are many ways to convey confidence with your body.

Try out these kinds of body language for size and slowly fake it til you make it.

1. Power posing

[caption id="attachment_2229" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Overcome your nerves by striking a confident pose Overcome your nerves by striking a confident pose[/caption]

According to social psychologist Amy Cuddy, posing in stances associated with confidence and power helps do away with nerves.

In a study Cuddy conducted, she found physiological differences between a group of people who power posed for two minutes and people who did not power pose.

Those who held their heads high, puffed their chest out, and propped their arms on their hips experienced a 25% decrease in cortisol levels. Cortisol is also known as the stress hormone.

Power-posers also had an 8% increase in testosterone.

“Our non-verbals govern how we think and feel about ourselves. Our bodies change our minds,” says Cuddy.

Here are more power poses to try.

2. Avoid slouching

[caption id="attachment_2226" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Match your look with your resume Bad for your prospects, bad for your back[/caption]

Your strict teachers in elementary school are right. Slouching conveys lack of confidence, disinterest, and low self-esteem. It is the opposite of power posing.

People who slouch noticeably look smaller because of the curved back and the drooping shoulders. Looking small is not what you want in your job interview.

Instead, lift the crown of your head, drop your shoulders, and lift your sternum. You are a mountain and you are going to get that job.

3. First impressions last and the small things count

[caption id="attachment_2227" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Look the part Look the part[/caption]

Your job interview actually starts from the moment you enter a company's lobby. Everyone you meet on your way affects you chances of getting the job. Instead of spending your time frantically searching for your resume in a folder, you should be calm and collected. The guy standing next to you in the elevator may be your interviewer.

An interview is like going on a date. You want to impress the person you're with, without coming off too strong.

When meeting your interviewer, a firm handshake goes a long way. Never underestimate the power of good eye contact, but realize the difference between an intimidating stare and a good gaze.

According to body language consultant and author of the Definitive Book of Body Language Allan Pease, most cultures accept a gaze that meets another person's about 60% to 70% of the time. That means holding a look in the eye, then shifting to another part of the face.

Mirroring, or covertly imitating the posture and action of the person you're talking to, is also good way to get on their good side.

4. Don't sweat it

[caption id="attachment_2228" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Loud is not necessarily confident, quiet is not timid Loud is not necessarily confident, quiet is not necessarily being timid[/caption]

Successfully getting a company's attention can be as easy as fixing your resume. However, interviews are completely different. For fresh grads, there are plenty of advice we can give you. What to wear, what to say, or what to do. But no matter the kind of preparation, there are things only you can master, like your nerves.

Nerves are an applicant's worst enemy. Even the best of us fall victim to pitfalls that involve sweaty palms, cracked voice, and slouched shoulders. Even with an impressive resume, applicants are turned down because of their lack of confidence, often betrayed by their body language.

Prepare enough but also know when it's time to breathe and let your preparations work for you.

Sometimes, the best preparations become your own undoing. If you focus on every little details, you can get distracted to what's really important.

Try all these techniques out one by one and see how people react to you as you change. Observe anything worth sharing? Let us know in the comments below.