Using too many hand gestures, fidgeting, and bad posture can cause you to miss out on your dream job.

First impressions are valuable; What you do with your hands may count as much as what comes out of your mouth.

That’s the conclusion of jobs site CareerBuilder, which has a new survey of 2,100 hiring managers about awkward interview behavior (more fun examples here) and body language.

Half of hiring managers said they know within the first five minutes whether you’re a good fit for the job. 90 percent said they know within 15 minutes. While lack of smiles and eye contact ranked high, here are the worst hand-related mistakes they mentioned…

  • Playing with something on the table — 33 percent
  • Crossing their arms over their chest — 26 percent
  • Playing with their hair or touching their face — 25 percent
  • Weak handshake — 22 percent
  • Too many hand gestures — 11 percent
  • Too-strong handshake — 7 percent

Hiring managers also suggested that you don’t sit in a yoga pose or bring your dog, either. That much is common sense, but if you’re worried about your grip being too weak or too strong, CareerBuilder also has six tips for a perfect handshake. Here’s our advice for the rest of the interview…

1. Research and rehearse

Obviously, you should never even step foot into an interview without knowing exactly what kind of job you are applying for, the size and scope of the company, and basic knowledge of how the company works.

Once you do your homework, rehearse that information out loud, repeatedly.

Then make up your “elevator pitch,” that 30-second spiel that should answer the guaranteed prompt to “tell me a little bit about yourself.”

2. Find a practice partner

You can practice in front of a mirror and watch your body language, but that only gets you so far. Ideally, find a friend or family member willing to help you practice.

You should rehearse your elevator pitch and have them ask you tough questions — not just the standard “What’s your greatest weakness?” — so that you can practice thinking quickly on your feet. Ask for feedback about any unconscious body language that could come across as nervous, fidgety, or defiant.

3. Take a deep breath

If you’re focused too much on forcing your hands not to shake or wander, it subtracts brainpower from the task at hand, which is getting through an interview and making a good impression of yourself.

Lacing your fingers together or keeping your hands in your lap may help some people, but do whatever you need beforehand — drink a green tea, do some yoga, take a drive, go on a run — to make sure you’ll be relaxed during the actual interview.

Just don’t be late — because then they won’t even need five minutes to judge you.

Meet the Author

Jess Miller

Jess Miller


Miller is the former assistant editor of

Career and Business

get hired, job interview, office life

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Article last modified on February 12, 2018 Published by, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: Have You Made Any Of These Body Language Mistakes During a Job Interview? - AMP.