How Important Is Body Language in an Interview? 5 Body Language Tips for Your Next Interview

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5 Minute Read
Posted by Karyn Moyer
Your Next Interview

Body language refers to the mix of facial expressions, hand gestures, postures, and other nonverbal cues people use when communicating. Some people even inaccurately suggest that up to 90% of communication is nonverbal. Others propose that 55% of communication is body language, 38% is vocal tone, and 7% is verbal. While some truth exists in the marrow of these two suggestions, it varies and depends on circumstances and individuals. That said, how important is body language when interviewing for your next job in agriculture?

How Important Is Body Language in an Interview?

Body language is a crucial part of communication, especially in professional environments. You can say all the right things during an interview for your dream ag job, but your body language may tell the interviewer a different story. For example, avoiding eye contact, fidgeting, and slouching during an interview can make you look anxious and diffident — lacking self-confidence and professionalism.

Nervousness during a job interview is natural. Though, you don’t want to let fear and anxiety overshadow your qualifications and credibility. Without practice and self-mastery, body language and vocal tone can expose your raw emotions, potentially making you look incapable or unprepared. Control over your movements and posture can help you express confidence and show an ag employer you are the right candidate for the job.

Why Is Body Language Important in an Interview?

Effective body language is not a substitute for knowledge and experience, but it can show comfort and levelheadedness in otherwise taxing situations. A job interview is demanding, and agriculture employers know this. Sometimes, interviews are intentionally onerous to assess how candidates perform under pressure.

To express confidence and control during an interview, you must contain and manage mannerisms that expose anything to the contrary. Avoid talking with your hands excessively during an interview as it can signal anxiety and hurriedness. Keep your hands away from your face and hair; touching your face, rubbing your nose, or twirling your hair through your fingers are all signs of nervousness. Also, be conscious of your facial expressions; many people focus so much on the interviewer’s questions that they forget to smile, make eye contact, or engage nonverbally.

Body language and nonverbal communication are essential complements to your knowledge and experience. They are tools that help you display confidence and credibility. Now that you understand how important body language is in an interview, you need to learn how to manage it during an interview for your next ag job.

How Can You Manage Body Language in an Interview?

It is important to take control of your body language, acknowledge nervous habits and inherent quirks, and take a more conscious approach to body movement. Managing nonverbal cues is challenging because you can’t control all the nonverbal signals you send into the world. Some expressions of body language occur at the subconscious level through micro-expressions. Still, with practice, you can hone awareness and learn to manage the seven critical areas of nonverbal communication:

  1. Facial expressions
  2. Body movement and posture
  3. Gestures
  4. Eye contact
  5. Touch
  6. Space
  7. Voice or tone

While you may not master nonverbal communication in the weeks before an interview, you can focus on improving and becoming more self-aware of your body language. For a job interview, focus on five body language tips to express comfort and confidence.

1. Sit Up Straight

Good posture shows confidence, while slouching can appear messy, careless, and even disrespectful during an interview. Sit up straight, but not too straight, because you want to appear comfortable rather than stiff. To ensure a natural, good posture, relax your shoulders, take a deep breath, and sit firmly with your back straight against the chair and your feet planted on the floor.

2. Suppress Nervous Habits

While it is natural to feel nervous during an interview, you want to appear confident and professional. Restless habits can give you away, making you appear unprofessional or nervous. During an interview, fight the urge to bite your nails, fidget, touch your face, crack your knuckles, or click or tap your pen.

3. Focus Your Gaze

Direct eye contact is ideal; however, too much can feel uncomfortable. You don’t want to stare at the interviewer; that can be awkward. Instead, stay engaged without staring. An excellent way to do this is to look at different parts of the interviewer’s face. For example, rotate eye contact from their eyes to their nose and forehead. Also, if there are two or more interviewers, engage with everyone in the room.

4. Use Your Hands Sparingly

During an interview, don’t be afraid to talk with your hands, especially if you naturally do so. Forcing yourself to stop your natural hand gestures might appear more awkward than simply letting them happen. Though, don’t let your hand gestures distract from your words. Try using your hands to emphasize a point or to draw attention to something.

5. Maintain an Appropriate Distance

Find a comfortable distance, not too close or too far away from the interviewer. Sitting too close can intimidate and/or become uncomfortable for the interviewer, while sitting too far away can show nervousness or distrust. Stay at a comfortable distance from the interviewer, and express your engagement in the conversation from time to time by slightly leaning in.


How Important Is Body Language in an Interview and Your Future Profession?

Body language and nonverbal communication play a significant role in perception and first impressions. A job interview may only be an introduction to an ag employer, but remember, you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. Go into your next ag job interview with confidence by using these body language tips.

Are you looking for a new job in agriculture? Use the AgHires job board to secure your next interview, and check out our Career Advice Blog for more interview and job search tips.

Don't just talk the talk! Learn about how to say what you mean with your body language.
Karyn Moyer

Karyn Moyer

Karyn Moyer is the Senior Marketing Manager at AgHires, with over 13 years of marketing experience, over 9 of which she has spent in the agriculture marketing industry. Growing up in a small farming town, Karyn has a deep appreciation for the importance of agriculture and its role in our communities. Since joining AgHires in 2017, Karyn has used her wealth of experience and knowledge to help job seekers and clients achieve their goals. She has a passion for learning and discovering new ways to support the industry.