Trying to impress a potential employer? Your actions, body language, non-verbal cues, whatever you want to call it, are just as vital as your words.

A survey conducted by the Robert Half Office Team in Central Jersey finds that many interviewers focus on eye contact, facial expressions, posture, handshakes and hand gestures when they meet applicants.

What's interesting is that senior managers found that 30 percent of candidates display negative body language during job interviews.

Dora Onyschak, Metro Market Manager and vice president for Robert Half says the biggest non-verbal cue interviewers focus on is eye contact. That rated 4.18 on a scale of 5.

Facial expressions —showing your feelings or thoughts on your face during an interview — came in second at 3.96. Posture rated a 3.55 out of 5. Handshake is 3.53. Fidgeting was 3.33 and hand gestures was 3.03.

"Body language is really about you being comfortable in your own skin, being confident in what you're saying," says Onyschak. She says people typically want you to look them in the eye when you talk to them. It shows confidence, truthfulness, trustworthiness. It also shows you're engaged in interacting with your interviewer.

Onyschak can't stress enough how important making eye contact is with your interviewer. You don't want to stare at someone, but locking eyes can help you build a rapport with them.

She also says you should pay attention to the individual. It's called "mirroring", meaning you should be showcasing the same type of behavior that they are showcasing. Whatever you do, don't fidget and don't use your hands constantly to stress points.

Other tips to help you in interviews? Don't ramble. Show up on time. Don't bad-mouth current or past employers. Be prepared for your interview. It does not hurt to do a little research on the company. You should even hold a mock interview with someone you trust beforehand to get some constructive feedback. Be courteous to everyone you meet from the moment you walk in with the receptionist.

Onyschak says the handshake is so important. You don't want a limp-fish handshake or crush someone's bones with your grip. But having a firm handshake is critical.

One of the biggest things Onyschak really drives home is your posture.

"Don't sit all the way in the chair. If you scoot a little forward, your posture almost automatically has to be good because you can't slouch."

Last but not least, be genuine, she says. People want to hire people they like. A genuine smile demonstrates worth and enthusiasm.

Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-359-5348 or email

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