Eye Contact….Critical or Creepy?
In a world of too much screen time and less face to face interaction, does eye contact really matter? There are many different types of eye contact: puppy eyes, lovey dovey eyes, sad eyes, happy eyes, and even peering into your soul eyes. Our eyes often communicate our feelings and can demonstrate value to the person we are speaking with.
We could discuss or debate this topic until the cows come home, because each type of relationship is different and the value of eye contact changes. For the purpose of this blog, let’s discuss the value of eye contact during an interview and eventually with your employer.
Your resume is on point, your initial phone interview was flawless, you’ve locked down the in-person interview, and you’re dressed for success. As you wait for the interviewer to call you in: your heartbeat quickens, you’re mind replays the important attributes you must highlight to stand out from the crowd, and you whisper a little prayer in hopes of landing this dream job. When you finally enter the interviewer’s lair you aren’t sure what to do with your hands, are they ten pounds heavier than they were 30 seconds ago? As the interviewer begins to talk, you don’t know where to look, their mouth, their eyes, your own lap, at the weird dusty trophy on the back shelf?! The answer is simple…look at the interviewer’s eyes with a soft, but intentional gaze.
When we make eye contact with the person it communicates the message that what they are saying is important and you have a desire to understand them. It is believed that 93% of communication is non-verbal and of that 55% is body language, including eye contact. * During an interview it is important to be attentive so that you have a clear understand of the company expectations for performance. By developing an understanding, you are then able to ask thoughtful questions of your own. Showing an interviewer your active listening skills and ability to translate that into good communication demonstrates your ability to function effectively as part of a team.
If a candidate is staring at the floor, or at that previously mentioned dusty trophy, they may come across as though they lack confidence, or are disinterested in the details of the position. The interviewer is not likely to invest much time trying to understand a candidate’s qualifications if they appear disinterested. On the other hand, if a candidate stares directly at the mouth or into the eyes of the interviewer, as though peering through them, the message is equally as ineffective and well…a little creepy.
The key to a successful interview and career lies in sincere eye contact, that demonstrates active listening, followed by well thought out questions. If you can master eye contact, you will appear confident and ready to be part of the team!
Build your dreams!
*statistics based on Professor Albert Mehrabian and colleagues at the University of California, Los Angles (UCLA), published studies into human communication patterns.