What is the best way I can sit during an interview? I often times feel too stiff. Any suggestions?


Having your lower and upper body facing directly to an interviewer gives you a more authoritative presence. Aside from your posture the position of the chair can impact your presence. But before you can determine how to position yourself in the chair, you need to first determine how you would like to position yourself to the interviewer.

Do you need to appear more authoritative or more self-assured, or do you need to soften your presence by being more approachable or less intimidating? Once you have determined how to position yourself, then you need to observe the chair’s position before determining how to positioning yourself in the chair.

Is the chair directly facing the interviewer or is it positioned indirectly toward the interviewer? If the chair is directly facing the interviewer’s desk, then the chair is positioned to give you a more authoritative or self-assured position. To continue this nonverbal message, sit directly in the chair keeping your upper and lower body faced directly toward the interviewer. If you wish to be more approachable, then position your body indirectly in the chair.

This means to sit slightly angled in the chair, with your upper body turned directly toward the interviewer. If the chair is indirectly facing the interviewer’s desk, (positioned at a slight angle) then the chair is positioned more at an approachable or less intimating position. For this position, if you wish to be more authoritative or self-assured, then sit at an angle, positioning your body, both upper and lower, directly toward the interviewer. If you wish to be more approachable or less intimidating, then sit directly in the chair, with your upper body turned slightly towards the interviewer.

Another aspect of positioning yourself while sitting is the position of your legs. For women, there are basically three positions that are appropriate; flat on the floor with one foot just slightly more forward, crossed at the ankles, or crossed at the knees. Of the three, the feet positioned flat on the floor, with one foot just slightly more forward than the other is a formal position. If you keep them positioned directly toward the interviewer, then the position is more authoritative or self-assured. If they are more slightly angled, then they are more approachable and less intimidating. 

The feet crossed at the ankles are somewhat less formal than the previous position. Keeping your leg straight and positioned directly toward the interviewer, gives a more authoritative presence while crossing them and pulling them slightly back, is less formal and more approachable.

Crossing your legs in a scissor position, (knee over knee) is more approachable and open. If you use this position when crossing your legs, be sure not to get too comfortable and slouch in your chair. This often happens after sitting in this position for a while. Also be sure not to “swing” your legs. Keep them still at all times. And do not let your shoe hang off your foot.

Never cross your legs by having your ankle over your knee. This is too casual for women. Also, do not sit with your legs placed on the floor wide apart. This is too confrontational in an interviewer.

For men, there are basically three positions that are appropriate; the feet positioned flat on the ground, with one foot just slightly more forward, crossed at the ankles, and crossed at the knees. Of the three, the feet positioned flat on the ground, with one foot just slightly more forward than the other is a more formal position.


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