Metaspeech’s Body Language Tips:
The Job interview Series – #2 Eye Contact
You’re not going to get a job just because you look your future employer intensely in the eyes. But it is much harder for them to imagine how you will work with and communicate your ideas as part of a team if you look at the carpet all the time.
Scientists and anthropologists have been looking into this eye contact issue for a long time, even naming the field “Oculesics”. Our eyes are responsible for communicating both social and emotional information, and we don’t quite control what they do. For example, most of us are comfortable with 3 seconds of sustained eye contact, but when we find someone pleasant or we agree with them, we are able to look at their eyes for much longer. The same happens on the contrary, we will avert our eyes from people we dislike.
So, what to do at a job interview when you can’t wear your rockstar sunglasses? Here are five simple techniques to make your eye contact be fluid and pleasant for both yourself and your audience.
1. Look around
As soon as you walk into the interview place, have a good look around. Be discreet but take mental note of where objects are located in space. This will make you feel more at ease and “at home”.
2. Say “Hi” with your eyes.
Welcome your interviewer with your gaze and invite them to engage in a conversation (rather than judge you!).
3. Smile inside.
It makes your eyes be more relaxed and at ease. It opens your chest as well so a 2-in-1 BONUS really!
4. Direct eye contact to be bold.
If you have a question, an opinion, or need to be assertive, always try to use direct eye contact. It induces others to take you seriously.
5. Keep eyes steady.
Our eyes tend to move around when we think up an answer. Try to avoid looking away when you are asked a question. And definitely keep looking at the interviewer when they are speaking.
Let’s face it, eye contact can be awkward. When we practice this with our clients there’s always a lot of laughter because it is hard to look each other in the eyes. But a good way to think about it is, meet the other with your eyes. The same way that you shook their hand when you walked into that office. So, go on and do the ‘eyeshake’!
Stay tuned for more Metaspeech Body Language Tips for Job Interviews. Next in the series: #3 Hand Gestures.
Metaspeech are choreographers Mariana Lucía Marquez and Emma Zangs. They teach body-based techniques that help speakers articulate their confidence, refine their message, and handle criticism.
Presenting is performing our authentic “self” and we are always aware that we are being watched, analysed, and judged. It is this awareness that can make or break our presentation. The skills Mariana and Emma teach take time to become second nature but once they do, they are for life.