You’ve heard it plenty of times before and will likely hear the cliched, corny phrase twice over again over the duration of your life: the eyes are the window to the soul. Corny and cliched as it may be, it’s been used over and over again because it holds a chunk of truth. Think about it, if you want to show someone that you are truly engrossed in what they are saying, you look them in the eye. When you are proposing to your significant other, you look them in the eye. Likely if you proposed to someone looking down at their feet they would be confused, hurt and refuse your offer. Ouch. That is why eye contact is so important in all facets of our life. However, since Spark News is a blog on the job market and careers, not relationship advice, we’re going to talk about how important eye contact is in a video interview.
Interviews can be stressful and nerve-wracking- we all know this. You may feel like you are melting under the spotlight as employers grill you about your skills, your communication abilities and what you can bring to the table for their company. You already have a lot on your mind and adding small things like non-verbal communication dos and don’ts can make it even more stressful, but alas, it’s necessary. Perhaps the most important aspect of interviewing is eye contact. This rings true for both video interviewing and in-person interviewing. You already know that Spark Hire is the best platform for online, video interviewing and video resumes, so it’s only fitting that we share some great tips to set you above the competition in terms of video interviews. With video interviewing, you may think that maintaining eye contact is easier since you aren’t actually sitting directly in front of someone. This may be true, but there are some things you must keep in mind in terms of eye contact in a video interview that you wouldn’t have to think of if you were having an in-person interview with this person.
Let’s cover some of the basics of eye contact in an interview first, though.
Everyone has a different idea of the kind of eye contact you should be giving and receiving. One employer may want to maintain eye contact throughout the entire interview while others may periodically glance at the wall, their papers or their hands. As the job seeker, you don’t have the same privilege, so you have to get an idea of the kind of eye contact the employer is giving you to judge what kind of eye contact you are going to give them. You want to match the amount of eye contact you are getting from the employer with the amount of eye contact you are giving. That is why observation is very important in an interview. Failing to give any eye contact at all can give the impression that you are too nervous, lack self-confidence or worse, don’t care.
When to give eye contact and how much to give it may be based on the amount the employer is giving you, but when you are answering questions it is absolutely necessary to maintain eye contact with the employer. Looking the employer in the eye as you answer important questions shows that you are telling the truth (hopefully you are) and that you are fully confident in your response. Looking down at the floor, the wall or your feet while you answer an important question can give the impression that you are lying or aren’t sure how to adequately answer the questions. These are impressions you don’t want to make in any kind of interview.
While a video interview may make it easier for you to maintain eye contact with your interviewer, be careful not to stare. Staring at the employer throughout the entire video interview can make them very uncomfortable- not to mention that it can be down right creepy. If you’re familiar with the Game of Thrones, a blank, constant stare can equate you to the wights or the white walkers- dead, lifeless beings that rip apart human beings. This is not something you want to be compared to so maintain friendly, not creepy, eye contact.
Video Interview Specifics
All of the above tips can be applied to both in-person interviews and video interviews, but this tip is specifically for video interviewing, so pay attention! It’s a fact of life that we all like to look at ourselves. We pass a window on the street and snag a glance at our lovely physique or stylish outfit. We check ourselves in the mirror before we go out to make sure we look all spiffy. In the same sense, a video interview gives us a shining opportunity to stare at ourselves in the face. With a side-by-side view of the interviewer and yourself, it’s very easy to get lost in your own eyes. Do NOT spend half of the interview looking at yourself rather than the interviewer. Even though your lovely face is right there staring back at you, avoid the temptation! You want to make sure you are looking into your camera so you are looking at the interviewer directly. You can sneak a couple peeks at yourself, but keep it to a minimum. A narcissist is not someone you would likely hire, so don’t give that impression.
While video interviews are super easy and very beneficial to both parties involved, practice always makes perfect! That is why I highly suggest you take the time before you engage in an actual video interview to practice and become comfortable with the set-up. Seeing yourself talk on your computer screen may be a bit odd at first, so give it a shot before your actual interview. Practice makes perfect and when you are interviewing for a potential job you want to be as close to perfect as you can be. Good luck!
IMAGE: Courtesy of Social Dynamix