6

I'm a software developer student who's been interviewing for part-time IT jobs. After getting used to taking interviews, I realized that I'll often start leaning to the side, my arm resting on the chair and my hand on my chin. It just is my natural go-to "thinking" position. I feel a lot more comfortable and less nervous this way. Sometimes I'll even cross my legs without thinking about it. I've also caught myself steepling my fingers sometimes.

Should I avoid a relaxed posture like this and sit up straight with both arms on the table instead? Or does posture not matter? How important is your posture in an interview?

  • 3
    Try mirroring. Assume the same postures and gestures that the interviewer is doing. Once you get the mirroring going, you start leading - the interviewer will subconsciously start following your actions (try it...). Then it won't matter what position you're in, because the interviewer will have the same posture... – PeteCon Aug 30 '16 at 4:33
  • Sometimes I'll even put my leg up like this without knowing: thumbs.dreamstime.com/z/… - if you do that, make sure your socks are pulled up. – WorkerDrone Aug 30 '16 at 14:12
  • 1
    thumb7.shutterstock.com/display_pic_with_logo/1216118/149128391/… - yeah, that would be bad. Don't do that. – WorkerDrone Aug 30 '16 at 14:13
  • Hit the gym/workout/exercise before your interview - your muscles will be more relaxed, you'll be less fidgety, and your posture will probably be more natural. – Aaron Hall Aug 30 '16 at 17:25
  • 1
    I've taken the liberty of drastically editing your question for length, language and content. I think it's an excellent question for the site but needed some cleanup. The stock images in particular were rather useless, especially since they didn't actually match what you meant and there are perfectly appropriate ways to describe that posture. The title could perhaps still be improved but this seemed like the closest fit to what you're asking. – Lilienthal Aug 30 '16 at 18:03
15

Generally speaking, sit in such a way that you are comfortable.

For the more interested obsessed advanced learner, you want to sit in a way to present open posture rather than closed posture. This psychologically changes both you and interviewers.

There are a lot of subtle things you can do in how you hold yourself (ie posture) which affect your interviewer. An easy way to put yourself into closed posture is to imagine yourself being cold - you naturally will roll your shoulders forward, pull your arms in, close your legs, maybe cross your arms, lower your chin, and otherwise "close" your posture.

Amy Cuddy has a Ted talk which addresses this exact subject with really good examples. The important take away is that you physiologically change your brain chemistry by your posture. Let me say that again: the way you hold yourself can physically change your brain and how assertive or reactive/stressed you are.

While the whole talk is valuable, the power poses section starting about 10 minutes in is something you should watch. Watch it and cut all the low-power poses from your interview and presenting posture.

Prior to interviewing or something stressful, I deliberately sit in a fairly ridiculously "power posture" way (see the video for good examples) while waiting. It feels silly and completely hokey, but the research on this subject is solid and my experiences fit it perfectly.

  • I'm curious why this was downvoted without a comment? – enderland Aug 30 '16 at 16:26
  • I didn't down vote, but the first sentence isn't a complete one. – Aaron Hall Aug 30 '16 at 17:22
  • 1
    I was a bit worried about this question but this answer convinced me that it was answerable. Great submission as usual enderland. – Lilienthal Aug 30 '16 at 18:04
  • @enderland thought you might find it interesting that Amy Cuddy's work has been debunked as of late. nymag.com/scienceofus/2016/09/… – dyeje Dec 6 '16 at 20:34
-1

You are overthinking this. The person interviewing you is not judging your posture or sitting position. Forcing yourself to sit in a particular position is just going to take away from your focus and probably send some weird signals with your body language. Relax and just sit however you feel comfortable.

  • 5
    The person interviewing you is not judging your posture. Body language affects the perceived confidence which in turn affects the perceived competence. So even if just unconsciously an interviewer will judge your posture. – limdaepl Aug 31 '16 at 5:35
  • While I agree posture certainly plays a role in an interview, it is not a primary factor in a candidate's success. In the original question, it seemed to me user2719875 was obsessing over posture because he went so far as to find multiple stock photos to demonstrate. I think the accepted answer does more harm than good by leading him further down this rabbithole of a mostly unconscious factor instead of encouraging him to work on more important factors. – dyeje Sep 1 '16 at 13:56
  • @dyeje I think you underestimate this. That mostly unconscious factor turns out to be significant - the TED talk explains this both why and how in considerably more details. – enderland Sep 1 '16 at 19:11
  • I don't doubt that I may be underestimating it and I will certainly watch the video. However, the OP is obviously having some troubles with interviews which led him to post this question, and I am highly skeptical that posture is the main culprit. There is a reason why most material for preparing for software job interviews won't go out of their way to mention posture. Because there are other, more important factors at play. Cheers to a healthy discussion and a good TED video though! – dyeje Sep 1 '16 at 19:28

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.