When preparing for interviews, many people spend hours going through sample questions and planning out what they are going to say. While this is important, it turns out that in interviews, what you say with your body may be just as, if not more, important than what you say with your words.

Your body language tells an interviewer a great deal, and interviewers are experienced in spotting different cues and what they mean. So next time you are practicing for your interview, don’t just focus on your words. Pay attention to your body language and what it is saying about you.

Here are a few examples of common body language cues and what they say about you.

Your posture.

Among the most telling things in an interview is the way a person sits. Try to avoid slouching back in your seat or leaning towards the door, as this tells the interviewer that you are uninterested, unprepared, and can’t wait to get the interview over with and get out of the room. On the other end, leaning too far forward can come across as intimidating or uncomfortable. Aim to sit up straight, with your body aligned with the interviewer, while slightly leaning forward in your chair. This conveys confidence and shows the interviewer that your are interested and engaged in the conversation.

Your arms.

Avoid excessive arm movements, as this is distracting and comes across as you being uneasy. Also avoid folding your arms across your chest, as this comes across as being cold, unfriendly, and unengaged. Keep your arms steady and either at your side or rest your hands on the table. This shows confidence and comfort without being overly distracting.

Your facial expressions.

Eye contact is crucial. Try to maintain good eye contact while speaking and listening, as this shows confidence and establishes a connection between you and the interviewer. Looking down or in other directions when you speak can come across as being evasive and – worse – can make you seem dishonest. Show you are engaged while listening by nodding your head or other expression. Avoid staring blankly, and always remember to smile.

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