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The Art of Body Language: How to Land a Job Without Saying a Word

Anna Hicks -- Social interaction, not just a good education, can make or break a hiring manager’s decision. The following guide provides simple tips and tricks on how to land a job without saying a word.

It can be challenging to find a full-time job in today’s tough global economy. While proof of education from advanced degree programs can be helpful, it’s essential to understand how body language can impact a job interview. Social interaction, not just a good education, can make or break a hiring manager’s decision. The following guide provides simple tips and tricks on how to land a job without saying a word:

No sudden movement

It’s essential to avoid fast body movements when in an interview. Fast body movements can include jerky hand motions, tapping a foot and walking too quickly. All these actions may indicate that an individual is uncomfortable during an interview. A good way to prevent this is by using one’s imagination. Imagine that an interview is taking place in a large tank filled with maple syrup. It’s impossible to move quickly in this thick, sticky liquid. All movements are slower than normal. While it’s important to not move too slowly, this can be a great mental trick for ensuring good body language.

Make polite eye contact

In addition, it’s a good idea to make eye contact with an interviewer. While making eye contact is important, it’s also essential to avoid staring at a potential interviewer. A good rule of thumb is to make eye contact with an interviewer only when oneself is speaking. However, it’s important to give the appearance paying attention. A great way to do this is by varying one’s gaze every few seconds. For example, try staring into an interviewer’s eyes for three to five seconds at a time. When not staring at an interviewer’s face, try to glance past him or her. This will help one avoid awkward staring habits.

Slow talkin’

It’s also important to make sure one speaks in a smooth and relaxed fashion. Rapid speech can make one hard to understand. In addition, excessively rapid speech can indicate that an individual is nervous. It’s a good idea to pace oneself when talking. As a rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to avoid talking at speeds above 120 words per minute.

When it comes to properly interviewing, sometimes what you don’t say can be just as effective, if not more so, than what you have to say. Your body language says multitudes about you, and while that degree in criminal justice may make you a prime candidate for the police or counseling position you are interested in, if your body language suggests a weak or timid temperament, you may not be selected for the job. So before you interview, be sure to practice your body language skills right along side your social skills to have the best chance at getting the job you seek.

To get Ramon Greenwood’s common sense advice on how to achieve your career goals go to Common Sense At Work Blog. His recently published ebook, How To Get The Pay Raise You've Earned, available for download from, sets out comprehensive guidelines that will help you work your way through the challenge of negotiating the sensitive issues of why you deserve a raise. It also provides tips for how to avoid shooting yourself in the foot when you get an answer. Case histories of how not to campaign for a raise are included. Ramon has written this timely ebook based on a wide-ranging career, including serving as senior vice president of American Express; a professional of a number of companies; entrepreneur; author; and career coach. He is currently The Career Coach at Common Sense At Work. For further information, contact Ramon Greenwood at

© 2012 Ramon Greenwood

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