According to researchers at NYU, a first impression is formed in 7 seconds.  Your face and clothes are noticed right away.  Therefore, it’s advised you wear high quality, well made, and freshly pressed clothing to a job interview.  Not only could your attire give you an image boost, but dressing the part will visually impress your potential employer in those first 7 seconds.

When hiring managers were asked to name the most common and damaging interview mistakes a candidate can make, 51 percent listed dressing inappropriately.  But being dressed to impress is just the tip of the iceberg.  Of those same hiring managers, 48% said a candidate’s body language indicating disinterest was the second most common interviewing mistake.

Overall, your body language accounts for 55% of a first impression according to one study.  This means that without careful consideration and awareness of your body language during the interview, you will sabotage your chances of getting the job no matter how well dressed you are.

Here are the top 10 body language mistakes that can cost you the job:

  1. Don’t smile: You’ll appear nervous and unfriendly if you fail to smile upon meeting your interviewer.
  2. Fail to make eye contact: Your lack of confidence level and high stress level will be revealed and you will not appear open and honest.
  3. Offer a dead fish handshake or crush the person’s hand with a too firm handshake: Lack of confidence and your lack of interest in the interview is evident in a weak handshake.  Too firm of a hand shake could indicate arrogance or cockiness.
  4. Slouch and fidget in your chair: Slouching suggests you’re unprepared for the interview, you’re confused, or you’re not interested in the position.
  5. Fidget – Touch your face, play with change in your pocket or bite your nails: Fidgeting is a distraction and a sign of anxiety.  Fidgeting indicates a lack of confidence in your ability to perform the tasks.
  6. Fiddle with your hands, shake your legs or wiggle your feet: Gesturing with your hands will make you appear more enthusiastic and engaging but to sabotage the interview, act like your directing airport runway traffic at all times while speaking.  Tap your foot and wiggle your legs while seated to show the interviewer how nervous and uncomfortable you are.
  7. Fold your arms over your chest: This will make you look defensive or uncomfortable and at best uninterested in the conversation.
  8. Play with your hair or rub the back of your head: This suggests you’re bored by the conversation.
  9. Stare at the floor: This will suggest a profound lack of interest in the conversation.
  10. Check your watch and your cell phone during the interview: Doing this will show the interviewer that you’re very busy, your time is limited, and you’ve got something more important on your mind.

If it’s been a while since you’ve interviewed, we know it can be overwhelming and stressful.  There’s more than just attire and body language to think about.  For more resources, check out Dress for Success’s interview tips.

After that, enjoy a few laughs by clicking here to read’s annual survey of the worst interview mistakes.  Keep reading here for more outrageous interview blunders.  These all actually happened!

Be sure to have your suit cleaned and pressed by a professional prior to your interview.  And always have both the pants and the jacket cleaned at the same time to maintain a consistent appearance between the two items.

Good Luck!

– S.O.