What to Do (and What NOT to Do) with Your Hands During a Job Interview

What to Do With Your Hands During a Job Interview


When it comes to winning job interviews, every little detail counts. As a case in point, let’s look at body language. Little innocuous things like looking at your watch from time to time, wiping the sweat off your brow, or staring at your interviewer can convey subliminal messages that can hurt your chances of landing the position.

The same principle applies to your hands. Depending on what you do them, you can give off the impression of nervousness, dishonesty, anxiety, or — if you do things right — confidence.

Whether you’re talking to employment agencies or hiring managers, continue reading this brief guide to understand this aspect of body language.

What Should You Do with Your Hands?

Your hands can speak volumes of what’s really on your mind, even when you’re talking. For instance, even if you’re trying to sound confident but you’re constantly fidgeting, the interviewer will see right away that you’re anxious.

Open Palms vs. Palms Down

Another thing to pay attention to is the direction your palms are facing. Historically, an open palm has been taken to be a sign of allegiance, openness, honesty, and in recent times, submission/surrender. In a job interview, open palms can convey an image of:

  • Likeability
  • Sincerity
  • Reliability

Open palms can also serve as a subtle sign of encouragement for the interviewer to trust you. Beside your hands, you want to keep your shoulders relaxed, but not slouched. Open palms paired with shrugging shoulders can convey hesitation and the appearance of unreliability and even weakness.

However, this isn’t to say that downward-facing palms are a complete no-no. They have their purpose, particularly if you want to convey a message of decisiveness and firmness. But if you’re not absolutely confident in your communication skills, it’s best to avoid this gesture completely.

Press Your Fingertips Together

Pressing your fingertips together can make an impression of confidence. In an article for Forbes, Carol Kinsey Goman stated that teachers, politicians, and executives use this hand gesture when they are talking about a subject or concept they’re 100% certain about.

Use this gesture when you’re talking about your accomplishments and previous experience you have to give you an air of confidence.

What NOT to Do with Your Hands

  • Don’t fold your arms across your chest and keep your hands hidden. This gives the impression of disappointment and closed-mindedness
  • Avoid gesticulating wildly. Hand gestures should be used to emphasize talking points in an interview. Don’t overdo it if you don’t want to distract the interviewer.
  • Don’t put your hands in your pockets. This can give off the impression that you’re hiding something.

Get more interview pointers like these from the job search experts of Star Staffing! When you work with us, you can practice your answers to interview questions with one of our experts so that you’re primed and ready for even the toughest questions you may be asked.


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