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What the hell should I do with my hands during a job interview?

Going on a job interview and worrying about questions and answers is stressful, so what are you supposed to (or NOT do) with your hands?

interview hands

There’s enough to worry about during an interview

Job interviews are nothing if not completely nerve wrecking. A job hunt is always a high-pressure situation, and when you are trying to make a good impression, there are so many thoughts running through your mind.

How you hold yourself during an interview can say a lot about you, even though it is nonverbal. Being nervous makes one feel tense and this can be displayed physically. Therefore, it is best to be aware of everything you are portraying in an interview: from wardrobe, to eye contact, to the tone of your voice.

What to do with your hands

But one major item to be aware of is what you are doing with your hands. If you are anything like me, you never know what to do with your hands. If I’m in a situation such as an interview, I will constantly be fidgeting around with my hands out of nervousness. However, this can translate to a perceived low level of confidence and can have an effect on whether you score the job.

This begs the question, what do you do with your hands in a job interview? It may sound silly but there are yays and nays that go along with even the simplest of concepts. According to Business Insider, there is more that is wrong than right when it comes to what to do with your hands.

It is okay to show your palms because this gesture can be symbolic of sincerity. While we may not consciously realize it, showing palms can represent that one is open and unthreatening.

It is also okay to put your thumbs and fingertips together to form a church steeple. This gesture displays confidence and can be often seen when politicians are giving a speech. Generally, it is used when trying to convey a point or to be assertive.

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What you should NOT do with your hands

On the flip side, there are some things you should never do with your hands. First, it is not okay to hold your palms downward. This can be misconstrued as an attempt to control the conversation. Second, refrain from tapping your fingers. This movement displays nervousness and impatience.


Next, never conceal your hands or put them in your pockets. This may give the interviewer the impression that you have something to hide. On a similar topic, do not cross your arms and conceal your hands. Crossed arms represent defensiveness and are linked to responses in disappointment or disagreement.

Finally, be selective when using hand gestures. Many people have a habit of talking with their hands, which is fine in regular conversation, but can be distracting in an interview setting.

Best advice: Relax

With these tips, it is best to keep in mind to have a relaxed and open demeanor when interviewing. Depending on the situation, if you feel comfortable, the interviewer may see this and feel more comfortable as a result; making the interview process all the more pleasant.


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Staff Writer, Taylor Leddin is a publicist and freelance writer for a number of national outlets. She was featured on Thrive Global as a successful woman in journalism, and is the editor-in-chief of The Tidbit. Taylor resides in Chicago and has a Bachelor in Communication Studies from Illinois State University.

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  1. Pingback: Dressing for the increasingly popular "smart casual" interview - The American Genius

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