Have these body language mistakes cost you a job offer?

Body language mistakes

Body language plays a highly integral factor in how you come across in a job interview.

But can body language mistakes really cost you a job offer?

In a recent survey 2000 hiring managers listed the various reasons they would not offer candidates a job:

  • 67 percent said it was due to failure to make eye contact

  • 33 percent said it was due to bad posture

  • 21 percent said it was for crossing their arms

  • 26 percent said it was due to a weak handshake

  • 38 percent said it was due to overall confidence, lack of smile and quality of voice.

    So how can you make sure body language mistakes don’t cost you a job offer?

We spoke to Liz Kentish (performance coach, former deputy chair of the BIFM and managing director of Kentish and Co) to find out.

What is the number one body language mistake to avoid when being interviewed?

“If there’s one piece of advice, it’s to be congruent. What that means is to be sure your words, tone of voice and body language all match.

I once went to a seminar where the keynote speaker came shuffling on stage, to announce he was ‘super excited to be here’. He obviously wasn’t, because his body language showed disinterest.

So if you’re saying you’re experienced, excited about the role you’re interviewing for and love the idea of working for that organisation, show it.

Sit in a confident manner, shake hands confidently and keep eye contact.”

Could a body language mistake really cost you a job offer?

“Our body language subconsciously tells the interviewer a great deal about us – almost without knowing it they’ll trust you more if you’re demonstrating confident and open body language.

And trust in others comes second after self-trust (check out Steven Covey Jr’s book The Speed of Trust for more on this).

You have to know you’re right for the role, even if you may only have 70% of the knowledge, skills and experience they’re looking for.

If you trust that you can do it (because of your intent, integrity, competence and previous results) then your body language will demonstrate that.”

Are there any body language tips you can recommend before the interview  begins?

“Breathe. Avoid caffeine. Go to the toilet and look yourself in the eye in the mirror and remind yourself just how good you are.

Engage with the receptionist or whoever signs you in – ask them why they love working here, find out their name.

It’s useful to drop this into your interview conversation, to show you take time to ask questions and listen.

A really good follow up question from you as the interviewee is, “I was talking to Maria at reception when I arrived, and she told me the thing she loves most about working here is xyz. What’s the thing you love most?”

And please, never say things like “I’m really nervous”.

And again, breathe.”

Liz Kentish on how body language mistakes can cost you a job offer
Liz Kentish co-founder of Kentish & Co

When attending a panel interview should you try and address your answer to all interviewees if just one has asked the question?

“When you first answer the question yes, address it to the person who asked.

Then continue with your answer, making eye contact with all the others. Finish by making eye contact, and perhaps a small nod of the head or a smile, to the person who asked the question.”

How obvious is it in your body language if you aren’t truthful about your experience?

“The old idea about people scratching their nose being a sure sign of lying doesn’t hold true.

But you know how it is – you can tell instinctively if you don’t trust someone – a lack of integrity always shows.

One of the best answers I heard from an interviewee was, “I wish I could tell you I’d got experience of that, but I haven’t. Working with you will allow me to develop that skill, and I assure you I’m ready to learn.”

It’s good to remember that most people interviewing are as nervous as you – it’s a skill that has to be worked at, and often we only get a few chances to do it.

Think about how you might give them feedback – “I really liked the question you asked about xyz because it helped me demonstrate…”

Good luck. (And remember to breathe).”

If you would like any more advice on how to stand out at a job interview click on the link above.

To see what positions we currently have available take a look at our facilities management jobs page.

And to find out more about the services offered by Kentish and Co., please head over to their website.