Non-Verbal Communication – Signs to Be Aware Of


We’ve all heard about the importance of body language.  What it says about our true feelings is often more than we realise.

Now, consider this in an interview situation. Being aware, or more importantly not being aware of the signals you’re giving out could be the difference between success or failure.

On the flip side, focusing too much on body language can look forced, like you’re trying to strike the right poses.

So, whether it is an interview or just your ongoing day at work, think about these body language warning signs.

Eye Contact

It is easy to get this one wrong. You don’t want to glare someone down with fierce eye lock. At the same time, never looking at the person you’re talking to in the eye, gives the idea that you would rather be anywhere but in the conversation. It is important to look at the person talking to you but the occasional look away will break the uncomfortableness created by eye lockdown!

Watching the clock

Checking the clock while you are talking to someone is a clear sign of disrespect. You are essentially telling them you are already mentally somewhere else. If you have somewhere to be at a specific time, tell the person before you start talking to them.

Exaggerated gestures

These can imply that you’re stretching the truth. Aim for small, controlled movements to indicate leadership and confidence. Positive signs like spreading your arms apart or showing the palms of your hands, communicates strongly your are open and honest.

Crossed arms

This is obvious but often overlooked. It indicates you are being guarded, standoffish and is guaranteed not to make a good impression.

Exaggerated nodding signals

People may perceive your heavy nods as an attempt to show you agree with or understand something that you actually don’t.


Fixing your hair for example, signals that you’re anxious, over-energised, self-conscious, and distracted.  People may perceive you as overly concerned with your physical appearance and not concerned enough with your career.

Facial expressions

Rolling your eyes and scowling can often seem involuntary but is a fail-proof way to communicate a lack of respect.  Fortunately, while it may be a habit, it is one you can control. Also, think about the difference between scowling, which makes people feel they are being judged and smiling, which signals trust and friendliness.

Weak handshakes

These translate that you lack authority and confidence, but a handshake that is more like a vice grip can be perceived as an aggressive attempt at domination, which is just as bad.  Adapt to the person in front of you and situation, but make sure it’s always firm.

Getting too close

If you stand nearer than one and a half feet, it signals that you have no respect for or understanding of personal space. This will make people very uncomfortable when they’re around you.

Bringing it all together

It is important to bear these points in mind when you are going for an interview.  It can make all the difference to the lasting impression you leave with a prospective employer.

Take a moment, as crazy as it may feel, to stand in front of the mirror and stand up straight pull your shoulders back and smile. Then slouch and frown and tut at yourself with a roll of the eyes.

This little exercise will be a good reminder of how you can make the best personal impression when going for your next interview.

Good luck!

About the Author

This content was provided by David Ogden, Head of Marketing at

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