You probably already know the importance of how you answer questions during a job interview. But did you know that your words are only part of the equation? No matter how accomplished you are, you’ll need to communicate that you’re right for the job not only verbally, but also nonverbally. One of the biggest tools you have is eye contact. Here’s how to use it to show confidence without coming across as insincere or, worse, creepy.
How to Prepare for This Interaction
Before you even shake hands (or express verbal greetings during an online interview), try to catch your interviewer’s eye. Give a warm, genuine smile while maintaining definite but brief eye contact. Then look away. This will help you come across as both confident and human.
While the Interviewer is Speaking
Show your interest in what your interviewer is saying by maintaining eye contact along with an open and attentive facial expression. To avoid staring, look away while thinking through your answer. Then reconnect with your eyes as you start to speak. This shows that you are paying attention and value the conversation. Be careful not to look too intense, though, or it could come across as fake. Strive for the sort of natural ebb and flow of expressions that you would have with a close friend.
Maintaining eye contact can be more challenging in a group interview setting. Fortunately, the lighthouse technique can help. If your answer is specific to one member of the group, focus on that person throughout your response. But if it’s more general, or appropriate to multiple members of the group, slowly move your eyes around the group, giving each person in turn a few moments of eye contact as you speak.
Use Eye Contact for Emphasis
When speaking about one of your key points, such as a particularly strong achievement, allow your eye contact to become more intense. This helps to emphasize your point, making it more likely for the interviewer to remember that specific topic later.
Eye contact can be a highly useful communication tool. Practice using it in interview settings, and you will set yourself apart from the crowd.