Body Language and Nonverbal Communication in PR Interviews

Posted: January 31, 2010 in Public Relations Industry Notes


Non-verbal communication and body language accounts for over 90% of the message you are sending in your job interview. Your verbal content only provides 7% of the message the interviewer is receiving from you.

1. Sit upright but not too stiff in your chair. This indicates that you are comfortable and feeling confident about the position. Hunching down in your chair gives the impression of nervousness and low self-esteem.

2. Relax and lean slightly forward towards your interviewer. This gives the message that you are both interested and attentative. Listening to the interviewer is more important than talking in some cases and by leaning toward the interviewer you show a good level of comfort and genuine interest in what is being said. Leaning back makes you appear too relaxed and casual. Leaning to the side can be perceived as not feeling comfortable with the interviewer.

3. Where to put your handsYour hands should rest loosely on your lap showing comfort and confidence.   Having your hands near your neck and face (including hair) shows a serious sign of unprofessionalism and nervousness. In some cases, the touching of the lips and noise are seen as signs of lying. Crossing your arms in-front of your chest shows signs of having 

a defensive demeanor .   

interview body language

4.Beware of your leg movement.  A lot of leg movement is both distracting and shows signs of being nervous to the interviewer. Crossing one ankle over the other shows signs of being too casual. Although it’s very comfortable it indicates an air of arrogance that’s not professional. Placing both feet on the floor shows a confident and professional look that is essential for an interview.

5. Eye Contact is key.  If you want to insure that the interviewer knows you are listening to them direct eye contact is the perfect way 

to do that. Experts suggest that when you are talking you need to hold eye contact for periods of 10 seconds before looking away and then re-establishing eye contact. Constant direct eye contact can come across as lecturing or even challenging the interviewer.

interview body language

6. Show that you are engaged in the conversation.  Interacting in the conversation by nodding and using facial expression to show that you are comfortable and confident about the position. Some use the term “Listen With Your Eyes.”

7. Be Confident. Confidence is golden. If the interviewer feels your confidence level it will lighten the mood of the interview. Nervousness often causes you to give off a false sense of yourself. So RELAX AND HAVE FUN. 

The interviewing process is not as bad as it seems sometimes. The main thing that you have to keep in mind is that you are an asset to the company. Know yours strengths as an employee and don’t be afraid to be confident. Being prepared is one way to escape all doubt in your mind about the interviewing process.

  1. marielorelei says:

    I found the statistic that “nonverbal communication and body language accounts for over 90% of the message you are sending in your job interview” to be quite interesting. One of the things that we covered in a small group communications class that I’m taking, is that nonverbal communication and body language does not always count as actual communication. There are times when a person does some sort of action and it has no meaning whatsoever to the person committing the act. The interpreted meaning means nothing because there was no message actual being sent. Interesting don’t you think?

    When it comes to subjects such as eye contact, it might be great to add that this does not count for every culture. If a public relations student were to be interviewing for a job with a traditional Japanese interviewer, then the constant eye contact might be out of place.

  2. […] Body Language and Nonverbal Communication in Job Interviews by Phillip […]

  3. Jeremy says:

    Phillip, I like your blog; it’s well organized and has just the right amount of visuals and no clutter. Some blogs I’ve looked at are so crowded that I don’t even bother reading. This particular post gives some great insight about body language and non-verbal communication. “Your hands should rest loosely on your lap showing comfort and confidence.” In just about any situation where I’m not holding something, hand placement is the biggest mystery. It’s as if they aren’t mine and I don’t know where to put them, especially if I’m standing up. I’ll definitely keep this in mind for interviews to come.

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