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The Importance of Eye Contact During Interviews

Nov 17, 2015 | Harrison College

The Importance of Eye Contact During Interviews

When preparing for an interview, you may often hear that it is important to give a firm handshake, use a confident tone of voice, dress in a professional outfit and highlight your qualifications. While these factors do separate the strong candidates from the less qualified, there is one practice that often goes unmentioned: eye contact.

Though it may seem insignificant, maintaining consistent eye contact throughout your interview may be what sets you apart from other applicants. After all, interviewees who maintain strong eye contact during an interview are more likely to convey confidence, focus and social aptitude when compared to those who do not. Below are some benefits of making eye contact.

1. Eye contact displays confidence.

Eye contact expresses confidence and sincerity, while a lack of eye contact can indicate nervousness, self-consciousness or arrogance. If your eyes are roaming around the room or looking away from your interviewer, you may come off as distracted, unprepared to respond to a question or uncomfortable holding a conversation. This is not to say that you should start a staring contest with a potential employer – it is okay to glance away or look down at your resume to think about an answer, but be sure to return your focus to the interviewer as you provide responses or ask questions of your own.

2. Eye contact reveals interest.

Eye contact shows that you are listening carefully to the interviewer and care about what he or she is saying – so it is important that you are aware of the message your eyes are communicating. Uninterested job candidates will not make it very far in the interview process, but with strong eye contact, you are more likely to display respect for the interviewer and a genuine interest in the open job position.

3. Eye contact reflects honesty.

When you were growing up, your teachers may have often said that looking away when answering questions shows dishonesty. It should come as no surprise then, that while you are in an interview, strong eye contact not only reflects your confidence but also reveals that you are knowledgeable in the topic being discussed. Patti Wood, a body language expert and author of “Snap: Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language and Charisma,” says that when you do not keep eye contact, you indicate stress and a desire to avoid the truth. Therefore, if in the middle of your interview your eyes begin to flutter or lose contact, it could express that you have something to hide or are avoiding responding truthfully. You have the power to prevent this miscommunication by consciously making eye contact when answering interview questions.

 

Master your eye contact by practicing while in the classroom with your teachers and peers. Remember, proper eye contact may not necessarily make you the best candidate for a position, but it will display great personality traits and show that you have enough interest to perform well in the position.

For more tips on interviewing for jobs, reach out to a career services faculty member or check out more blogs in The Interview Series.

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