Show and Tell: Why Body Language Counts in Video Interviewing

January 27, 2014 at 6:54 AM by Jordan Taylor

shutterstock_58801066 [Converted]“All right, interviewer, I’m ready for my close-up”

There’s a barrage of posts covering the rise of video interviewing. Here’s a quick list of the majority of tips you’ll encounter in these posts: look at the camera; dress well; use cheat sheets; prepare; stay calm; use your people skills; turn off (and discourage) distractions; be cordial etc.

Rather than recycle or repackage these self-evident tips—let’s look at a less discussed point: nonverbal communication (body language).

Why is body language so important in the context of video interviews?

  • It tells your interviewer a lot more about you than you may think
  • It’s typically something you do subconsciously, so being aware of your actions will help drive more positive evaluations of you

Being more conscious of how you communicate with body language can give you a little more control over another’s first inferences and judgments of you.

Positive Body Language

  • Sitting up straight, and leaning forward, communicates to the interviewer that you’re engaged and confident. Research has shown that using power stances in general fuels higher levels of testosterone and lower cortisol (stress hormone) levels. Avoid crossed arms, holding your neck, and general positions where you pull you body inward.
  • Forget about your picture on the screen; make sure you’re looking into the camera— this simulates eye contact, and your interviewer will read it as certainty and determination.
  • For some people smiling comes naturally, but for those who struggle…make a conscious effort to convey happiness and warmth.
  • Use slight hand gestures well, and in moderation. Hand gestures signal engagement and move conversations forward.
  • Use the camera and lighting to your advantage: frame your face so that the interviewer sees your mid-torso all the way up to the top of your head. If possible, make sure you can get a light source on both your left and right side (without entering your eyes).

PGi covered this fascinating topic in their inforgraphic: “Online Job Interviews: Unveiling the Secrets to Great Face-to-Face Interviews Online.”

Video Interviewing Infographic

Still want to know more about this topic? Here's a couple great resources:

Paul Bailo: The Essential Digital Interview Handbook

Amy Cuddy: Your body language shapes who you are


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