If you’ve been angling for your dream job for some time without ever getting past the interview stage, it could be time to tweak the way you present yourself. Each time you turn up to face that final hurdle, the interview panel assesses not just your qualifications and experience, nor your desire for the job: they assess your body language – and they might not even know they’re doing it. All kinds of opportunities could be passing you by for the sake of a few minutes of research and some practice with a friend. As we enter a new year, and a period of fresh hope, there’s no better time to make those adjustments to your interview game.

First impressions, as all know, count: after the initial introduction, the remainder of the interview you will be assessed against the unconscious impression you give in those first few moments. Indeed, 21% of interviewers reject candidates who offer a weak handshake – and that just accounts for the interviewers who notice it consciously. Fail to grip firmly, and you will appear less impressive and trustworthy than if you are careful to shake hands confidently. Eye contact during the handshake and throughout the interview is also a must: it makes you seem trustworthy and personable, and to create a human connection with your interlocutors.

That’s got you off to a good start, but any number of subsequent gestures can send the wrong signal about your character – be it that you’re slouching (lazy!), cross-armed (insecure!), you fail to smile (unfriendly!) or you nod too much (probably not actually listening!). Next time you’re up for a job you truly want, be sure to work through the infographic from OnStride before you go in, and practice your technique with a friend. The smallest adjustment can make a big difference when you’re presenting yourself to strangers – make sure you get it right, and you have a much better shot at success.

7 Body Language Mistakes and How to Avoid Them (INFOGRAPHIC)