When you get invited to an interview, your first thought is prep,prep, prep which normally means learning more about the company and practicing your responses. However it’s just as important to think about your body language, as it is to remember your answer to “where do you see yourself in 5 years?”.

Here’s our guide to great interview body language:

WHAT TO DO…

MAKE A GREAT FIRST IMPRESSION – You’re being judged the minute you walk in the building, so make sure you walk with confidence, and look alert. When your interviewer comes out to meet you, greet them with a firm handshake, it shows the interviewer you’re feeling confident and composed.

SMILE – It’s amazing how many people forget to smile, however try to remember to smile throughout the interview. The interviewer wants to get to know you and a smile makes you look approachable, confident and positive.

MAKE YOURSELF COMFORTABLE – During the interview you need to make sure you’re comfortable. So sit with a straight back with your body facing towards the interviewer, if you lean towards the door, or away from them, it’ll look as though you can’t wait to leave!

GIVE GOOD EYE CONTACT – Looking down or not meeting the eye of the interviewer makes it look like you have something to hide. It’s a fine balance though, so don’t stare either, as you could make the interviewer feel a little uncomfortable.

RESPONSIVE NOISES AND ACTIONS – It shows you are listening and engaging with what the interviewer is saying. Try not to interrupt and take in what is being said. Nod where appropriate to show you are engaged.

WHAT NOT TO DO…

SLOUCH – Sitting low down in your seat makes you appear arrogant, or disinterested, so try to remember to keep a straight back throughout the interview.

FOLD YOUR ARMS – You come across as closed off and defensive. The interviewer is trying to get closer to you, trying to understand the kind of person you are, so relax your arms, and look open and approachable.

LEAN ON THE DESK – You need to be conscious of personal space during an interview, otherwise you could make the interviewer feel uncomfortable. Leaning on the desk closes the space between you and the interviewer and could be perceived as intimidating.

MOVE AROUND CONSTANTLY – As an interviewer it can be highly distracting if a candidate moves around constantly during an interview. It’s tricky when you’re nervous, but try not to fidget.

START OFF WELL, THEN FORGET! – Often during an interview we can start off well, and as we start to relax we forget about our body language. Try to be conscious of your body language throughout, how you’re sitting and what you’re doing with your hands!

The key to great body language is to come across as open, friendly and professional. Often when it comes down to two candidates, recruiters will go with their gut instinct based on personality and body language during the interview. So whilst you’re prepping your answers to those standard interview questions, remember think about your body language too!

Peter Forshaw is Managing Director of Maxwell Stephens. Maxwell Stephens are Facilitities Management Matching Specialists.