The brain picks up nonverbal cues faster than verbal ones. A job interview is the last place you want to give the interviewer the wrong impression. In the hospitality industry we rarely have more than a moment to gain a customer’s trust. If you cannot speak with your body in a job interview then you probably won’t use your body language effectively when running a restaurant or hotel

Legs and Arms

Active listening is the current buzz word. But if you want to demonstrate your skills then you need to lean forward and make eye contact. While we all know that we are suppose to sit up straight, interviewees often don’t know that your legs should not stick out infront. It can be as detrimental to your image as crossing your arms or legs.

In fact, many HR professionals are taught to end a job interview if the applicate crosses their arms or legs, or leans back in the chair.

Eye Contact

This can be a hard one. Not making eye contact indicates that you are either disinterested or formulating your answer. There is also a myth that if you look to the left you are formulating a lie.

Too much eye contact can be as dangerous. Solid, firm eye contact can be a sign that you are hiding something, or a sign of aggression.

Not that we have the obvious out of the way, take a look at your eyes. If your eyes are yellowed or blood shot then it will give me a bad impression. Sometimes this is an unconscious impression. What you might call a gut feeling.

To avoid this eat well the month before you are looking for a job and drink plenty of water, especially the week before your job interview. Get plenty of sleep. Even take short cat naps in the afternoon. It will show in your skin tone, eyes, and even your cognitive ability.


The hands can damage your image faster than anything else. Make sure they are clean and well-manicured. Don’t go to have your nails done just before an interview. Start taking care of your hands a month ahead of time.  Have your hands done 2 or 3 times before you start doing interviews.

Cleaning up broken nails and coarse skin isn’t good enough to make an unconscious good impression. This is one case where ‘good enough is not good enough.’

Keep your hands still and open. When people are stressed they do weird things with their hands. You may have a habit that you’ve done so long that you don’t even notice you are doing it. This can include touching your hair, or speaking with your hands. No one wants to be distracted by wildly waving hands.

Clasping your hands may indicate you are nervous, but hiding your hands may indicate you are dishonest.

And, of course, touching your face, nose and mouth is seen as a sign of deception. In the hospitality industry where cleanliness is paramount it can be a serious mistake.

Nodding and Fidgeting

Do not sit like a statue, but too much nodding can be distracting. Any movement like nodding and fidgeting can signal that you are bored or stressed.

Slouching and Hunching shoulders.  You may think you are leaning forward in a positive posture, but have you ever looked at yourself in the mirror? Your posture is awkward and stiff. You look like you are about to attack.

Rude Behavior

When I start a job interview I am casual and friendly. I want to try and get you to lower your guard. I want to make you feel like you have the job. Don’t be fooled. Don’t put your coffee cup on my desk. Don’t sling your arm over the chair’s arm rest.

If you cannot impress or connect with me then I can assume that you won’t be able to connect with upper management, or the board.

Don’t Let Your Personal Mess spill over into the Interview

You’d be surprised how often this happens. Did you really come into the interview with your coat and purse? Why did you even bring a purse? All you should bring is your portfolio. Yes, I want you to embrace your mess. I want you to be everything you can be. But not in my office.

You Didn’t Trust Me

When I see a five page resume I cringe. I don’t have the time needed to read two or three paragraphs on everything you’ve ever done. If you have what I need then I will all you back.

How did you write your resume? You will give me two impressions. Either you are job hunting. Or you want the job that I posted. Did you address the cover letter to me, or to the ‘hiring manager’. All I want to know is that you can do the job.

I am going to see dozens of resumes listing chronological lists of job experience. That is not a marketable commodity. What I am looking for is someone who is smart. Are you busy? Are you responsible? Can you make my job easier?

  Just tell me that you can do the job.  If you don’t get the job, at least thank me for the job interview. Don’t argue when I tell you the reason. Even if you met the requirements, we found someone better. Remember that everyone who makes it to the interview stage was a qualified candidate.

The most that you will get from this response is to go from my ‘trash’ pile to ‘consider for later’. The least you will get is the experience necessary to ask the next job interviewer whether there is more information you can share concerning your qualifications – don’t ever accept that the interviewer will tell you everything they want to hear.

You Didn’t Show Me You Were Qualified

You can say anything on a resume. I really don’t care what your job history is. Tell me what you can do for this company? Can you save money? Can you increase sales? Can you improve worker’s performance levels? Can you lower employee turnover? Are you awesome at impressing the board, and investors? What exactly will we pay you for – what is your marketable skillset?

I also want to see your passion. Don’t tell me you have always wanted to be a manager if you haven’t been honing your skills for at least five years. Don’t tell me you can adapt quickly if you haven’t learned new technology and software in the last five years, and are ‘up’ on the latest software used in the industry.

Experience isn’t everything. In fact, it isn’t anything. It doesn’t tell me if you did your job well. It didn’t tell me if you saved the company money – or cost them money. It doesn’t say whether employee turnover increased or decreased while you were managing the company.



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