The Best Ways to Keep Eye Contact During an Interview

Landing a job is about more than just your experience and your achievements. A big factor in how well you interview is your nonverbal communication. That includes your posture, your body language and, perhaps most important, your eye contact. Appropriate eye contact is important in an interview because it speaks to confidence and self-esteem – important assets in any good employee.

Initial Impression

Begin your eye contact early. It’s particularly important to make distinct eye contact while you shake hands with your interviewer. Smile warmly and catch his eye. Try to make a true connection by projecting confidence. Maintain eye contact as you listen to the questions your interviewer asks.

If you look away, it may appear as though you are inattentive or uninterested. This is a very quick way to turn your interviewer against you. Match your attentive eye contact with an appropriate facial expression. Convey interested attention with an open, positive expression.

During the Interview

Although the standard advice is to maintain good eye contact throughout the interview, don’t take this to mean that you should stare fixedly at the interviewer, cautions Interview Focus. Maintain eye contact in a natural and friendly manner, which means that there are brief breaks and reconnections.

For instance, it would seem natural to look away briefly if you have to pause to think about your answer. Then reconnect strongly as you begin to speak. Eye contact shows you're enthusiastic and engaged, as a candidate should be throughout the interview.

Lighthouse Technique

You may be interviewed by more than one person, and you cannot maintain eye contact with just one individual throughout the interview. In this situation, you have two options. Maintain eye contact with the person who just asked you a question as you deliver the answer.

If the point seems more general, you can use the “lighthouse” technique – spreading your attention and eye contact slowly from one end of the interviewing board to the other, looking at each person in turn through your answer. Making eye contact with everyone is a sign of respect, says Indeed Career Guide.

Emphasize Important Points

At several times throughout the interview, there will be key points you want to drive home – about your experience, your selling points or your particular achievements. At these key points that you really want to have your interviewers remember later, intense and sustained eye contact is important in an interview. Think of appearing sincere and passionate at these times.