A body-language expert reveals the No. 1 indicator of confidence

How to Ace an Interview With Your Body Language

A politician delivers his message as he scans the faces in an eager crowd.

A college student gives a presentation and reinforces her points with nods to her classmates and professor.

A young professional strides down the sidewalk and offers a smile to colleagues heading home.

What do these people all have in common?

They're skilled at making eye contact, and as a result, they exude confidence.

According to Lillian Glass, a body-language expert and author of "The Body Language Advantage," strong eye contact is the single greatest indicator of confidence.

Eye contact establishes a connection, shows sincerity, and helps to create a sense of trust between people.

Check out the worst body-language mistakes you can make during an interview:

10 worst body language mistakes during interviews
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A body-language expert reveals the No. 1 indicator of confidence

Body language expert Tonya Reiman, author of "The Power of Body Language," previously told Business Insider that job candidates should make sure they offer the "appropriate amount of eye contact." 

"If you don't, the interviewer will assume you are either insecure, don't have an appropriate answer for the question being asked, or are being deceptive. Does that mean it's true? No, but perception is everything in a job interview."

Reiman said smiling demonstrates confidence, openness, warmth, and energy. 

"It also sets off the mirror neurons in your listener, instructing them to smile back. Without the smile, an individual is often seen as grim or aloof," she explained.

This may give the interviewer the impression that you're bored or uninterested in the conversation. Instead, keep your hands on the desk or table, and don't fidget.

In their book "Crazy Good Interviewing," John B. Molidor, Ph.D., and Barbara Parus suggest showing your palms during an interview — since the gesture indicates sincerity — or pressing the fingertips of your hands together to form a church steeple. which displays confidence, reports Business Insider's Shana Lebowitz.

Reiman previously told Business Insider you should always be aware of your posture.

"People don't realize that the job interview begins in the waiting room, but it does. So don't slouch in the chair in the reception area," she advised. "In order to be perceived as confident, you must sit or stand tall, with your neck elongated, ears and shoulders aligned, and chest slightly protruding."

This position changes the chemicals in our brain to make us feel stronger and more confident, and it gives the outward appearance of credibility, strength, and vitality, she explained.

Playing with your hair, touching your face, or any other kind of fidgeting can be a major distraction for your interviewer. It also demonstrates a lack of power, said Reiman.

This gesture will tell the interviewer you're not comfortable or you're closed off. 

"You should always keep your hands in view when you are talking," Patti Wood, a body language expert and author of "SNAP: Making the Most of First Impressions Body Language and Charisma," previously told Business Insider. "When a listener can't see your hands, they wonder what you are hiding." To look honest and credible, keep your arms uncrossed and show your hands.

"When we touch our faces or hair, it is because we need self soothing,"Reiman explained.

Is that the message you want to send to your interviewer

A weak handshake may tell the interviewer that you're nervous, shy, and that you lack confidence, explains Colin Shaw, CEO of Beyond Philosophy, a customer experience consultancy, in a LinkedIn post

Ideally, your handshake should be firm, but not overbearing. "The secret to a great handshake is palm-to-palm contact," Wood told Business Insider. You want to slide your hand down into the web of theirs, and make palm-to-palm contact. Lock thumbs, and apply an equal amount of pressure.

"It's okay to use your hands to illustrate a few important points," writes Lebowitz. "In fact, research suggests that staying too still can give the impression of coldness. 

"But relying too much on hand gestures can be distracting, according to Molidor and Parus."

She says you should remember you're in a job interview, not a theater audition. 

People tend to show their dominating personality by gripping the interviewer's hand and palming it down, but this tells the interviewer that you need to feel powerful, Reiman explained. "Instead, the handshake should be more natural: thumbs in the upward position and two to three pumps up and down."

As the applicant, you should always wait for the interviewer to extend their hand first, she added. 


A study conducted at the University of Leuven in Belgium concluded that individuals with higher self-esteem are more likely to hold eye contact than their less confident peers, whose low self-esteem was associated with darting gazes.

Researchers at King's College also found that we associate higher levels of eye contact with stronger leadership abilities, greater aggression and strength, and higher intelligence.

For many people, though, looking others in the eye — and holding that gaze — can be difficult.

If this is something you struggle with, try looking at the other person's eyes for two seconds, looking at their nose for two seconds, looking at their mouth for two seconds, and then looking at their face as a whole for two seconds. Continue this rotation throughout your conversation.

If you use this trick, Glass says, the other person won't be able to tell that you're not looking directly at their eyes the entire time.

Make a habit of practicing eye contact in your day-to-day life — on the subway in the morning, strolling outside on your lunch break, and in conversations at the office and with friends. You'll be surprised by how much more confidence you project as you get better at locking eyes.

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