Ask Sue


Find Jobs, Post Resumes

Ask Sue 

Choosing Careers 

Job Search Strategies

Interview Tips 

Resume Tool Kit 

Cover Letters 

Sample Resumes 


Home Business  

Human Resources & Management  




Ask Sue
A Weekly Q&A Column About Professionalism, Etiquette and Problems in the Workplace
by Sue Morem

Body Language in a Job Interview

Dear Sue: I was interviewing at a financial firm and had a series of interviews among different areas of the firm. The Director of Human Resources was the third person that I would meet with.

I was very appropriately dressed in a black suit with a white top; the skirt came a little below the knee. The interview took place in a conference room. I was placed at the head of the conference table and the director sat to my left. I turned my body slightly towards the left so I would have better eye contact. I crossed my legs at the knee and folded my hands on my lap. In the middle of the interview he said, "You know that it is not proper etiquette to cross your legs in an interview." Now, I agree that it may have been better to have my knees and ankles locked together and tucked under my chair. However, was it more inappropriate for him to make this comment in the middle of the interview? And, is it "inappropriate" for a woman to cross her legs during an interview?

– Jen

Sue Says: Body language plays an important role in an interview; what we communicate nonverbally (through our bodies) is a language more honest than our spoken words. People who are adept at interviewing have learned to pay attention to any and all nonverbal cues they pick up on in an interview as a means of ‘reading’ people more accurately. Some nonverbal behaviors are obvious, while others are not. Most people realize that making eye contact when talking with someone is important, and that the lack of eye contact suggests anything from shyness and insecurity to the inability to tell the truth. There are other, more subtle actions that are just as revealing. For example, rubbing the nose or covering the mouth when talking often happens when someone is uncomfortable, hiding something or telling a lie.

Crossing the legs is a means of comfort for many people, and often essential for women when wearing a skirt. It can, however, have hidden, unspoken intentions and be viewed as flirtatious or flaunting (especially if a lot of leg is exposed). Although the most proper way for a woman to cross her legs is at the ankles, many women cross them at the knee. Typically, what is noticed in an interview is not mentioned, and it is unusual that this was brought up to you. Either he relished in the opportunity to make you a bit self-conscious or honestly felt he was offering you some helpful advice. As common as leg crossing is, it should be much less of a red flag than many other actions or movements.

Chances are that the person you interviewed with has made it a point to look for ‘signs’ that will help him ‘read’ people more effectively. Whatever his intentions, he has done you a favor; crossing your legs is not good for you because it decreases the circulation in your legs.

Dear Sue: Is it appropriate to write a thank-you note to your boss for giving you a good review?

Sue Says: I think that anytime you can show gratitude and sincere appreciation, you should. Recapping your goals, what you were able to take away from the review and your next steps will be reassuring to your boss. Knowing that you are pleased should please your boss as well. It may not be common practice, but I am sure you letter of appreciation will be appreciated! Go for it!

Sue Morem is a professional speaker, trainer and syndicated columnist. She is author of the newly released 101 Tips for Graduates and How to Gain the Professional Edge, Second Edition. You can contact her by email at or visit her web site at

Send Sue your questions by clicking here: Ask Sue
For more Ask Sue articles, click here.

Share This Page




Source of images:

Privacy Statement

The information compiled on this site is Copyright 1999-2016 by Attard Communications, Inc. and by the individual authors.
Career Know-How is a service mark of Attard Communications, Inc.