How much consideration have you given to eye contact during an interview?

I’m going to make two very obvious statements. The first, that one of your main jobs in an interview is to build rapport with your interviewer. And second, that eye contact is a key factor in helping you to build that rapport.

So why do so many candidates I meet give poor eye contact? Well, in fairness, they do actually look me in the eye when I’m talking to them; it’s when they are talking to me that it all goes wrong. Why is this?

It’s because when we are thinking about our answers we are retrieving memories, constructing new ideas and so on, and our habit when doing such things is to look somewhere else. But given the value of eye contact, particularly when you are giving your answers, we need to find a solution.

For most candidates, it’s often enough to simply point out that their eye contact is poor for them to significantly improve. To give them additional motivation to change, I usually also show them how bad it feels when someone talks to them, but doesn’t give them eye contact. Unintentionally avoiding eye contact not only stops an interviewer connecting with you, it can also convey a lack of confidence, or worse that you are making your answers up!

So why make things more difficult for yourself?  Don’t! When you next find yourself answering a question in an interview, simply be mindful to have a healthy amount of eye contact with your interviewer and get all the benefits that this would provide.