Education Career Services

April 28, 2009

Interview and Non-Verbal Impressions: Yes, Chairs DO Care!

As promised, we will uncover a few more non-verbal forms of communication as the week progresses. Yesterday we looked into the “fish or fresh” approach to hand shaking – check it out if you happened to be at the lake and missed it.  Once the handshake is over and you have been escorted to an interview room (typically the hiring managers office), what next?


After walking into the room and noticing several empty chairs scattered in front of the desk, do not make haste and sit in any location.  Wait a brief moment and, if the interviewer has not indicated which chair is recommended, politely ask the interviewer for instructions.  Now that you have the location settled, body language kicks into play…


The manner in which you sit is just as important as where you sit.  Remember, this is not your home or friendly neighborhood diner and you should not sit like it is.  Yes, there are perceptions in this area too…and you thought an interview was just about answering a few questions!


It is generally recommended that you slide to the back of the chair, sit tall, and sit in a straight (not rigid and overly stoic) position.  This type of posture will display to the interviewer that you are comfortable, respectful, and also confident.  On the other side of the posture position, you should not sit close to the edge of your seat (I have a habit of making this error in judgment).  Sitting on the edge may give the impression you are scared, over-anxious, and/or ready to make a quick run out of the room.


Women should:

  • Sit with knees close together
  • Not cross their legs


Men should:

  • Not sit with legs wide apart
  • Not cross legs with the ankle on the knee


One more thing, make sure you keep a comfortable distance, about three feet from the interviewer.  Shortening that space can feel invasive and inappropriately close.


Now that we know a bit about handshakes and the manner in which one should sit, let’s call it a moment and begin thinking about how hands and eyes convey messages… yes, we will be detailing a few hints on that specific subject soon.


Until then, have a great day and let me know if you would like us to focus on anything specific.


Danny Huffman, MA, CPRW, CPCC, CEIP

Education Career Services:

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