Eye Contact During An Interview

Written by: Mike Wood, Portal Business Manager & Editor, PharmiWeb.com
Published on: 2 Feb 2019

We all know how important body language is when we meet someone, particularly for the first time. So during an interview, with so much at stake, your body language can make or break the next step in your career.

Although body language is a topic in its own right, nothing is more important in the interview than eye contact - this is even more important if your interview is conducted online using a tool like Zoom or Teams. Your eyes can convey huge amounts about you, such as your interest in the company and the role, how excited you are, how truthful or trustworthy you are. And can also help you connect and empathise with your interviewer making you appear more friendly and likable.

So here are a few tips...

  • Start your eye contact as soon as you enter the room and shake hands. These few seconds will set you up for the rest of the interview.
  • Looking down can convey a lack of confidence.
  • Flicking your eyes back and forth can mean that you’re looking for an answer or are unsure about the answer you gave.
  • Sudden changes in eye contact, or quickly looking away when asked a question about your CV, can make the interviewer think you are feeling awkward about a particular question - this might make them question what you put on your CV. Maybe you lied?
  • Maintain eye contact while your interviewer is asking a question, otherwise, it makes you look disinterested.
  • If you have more than one interviewer, try to keep engaged with them all by maintaining eye contact with everyone. Clearly if you’re in a room of 10 people this gets harder, and you normally focus on the person asking the questions, but occasionally make eye contact with the others as you answer a more general question.
  • Don’t stare - glancing away while you think of an answer is fine, but reconnect as soon as you have your answer.
  • Remember to vary your expressions. If you’re making an important point, it’s ok to get excited. Your enthusiasm will be infectious.
  • Consider the country where the company is based and even the nationality of the interviewer. For example, in Japan, excessive eye contact can be considered disrespectful. In the USA however, much greater eye contact is acceptable.

Above all, your eyes have the ability to show that you are interested and engaged. When your eyes light up, your enthusiasm is clear. Oh, and don't forget to smile! :)