Most job seekers understand that eye contact is crucial during an interview. It helps you connect with the hiring manager and makes you seem more confident, both of which are important if you want to secure an offer.
The issue is, figuring out how to make eye contact without it getting awkward isn’t always easy. If you hold their gaze too long or are too intense when you do make eye contact, it can make the hiring manager uncomfortable, causing you to make a less-than-ideal impression.
By using the right technique, you can improve your approach to eye contact. If you’re getting ready to interview for project manager jobs in NJ or any other position, here’s what you need to know.
Blinking Is Natural
When trying to maintain eye contact, many people tend to stare. They incidentally stop blinking, leading to an unending gaze that can quickly become uncomfortable for everyone involved.
It’s important to remember that blinking is natural. That means stopping isn’t necessary if you’re going for good eye contact. If you catch the hiring manager’s gaze and happen to need to blink, don’t ignore that urge. A blink only takes a fraction of a second, so you aren’t harming your eye contact by doing it.
Make It a Priority When You’re Listening
Eye contact is associated with someone paying attention to what’s being shared by another. While you do want to make eye contact when you’re replying to an interview question, it’s potentially more important when the hiring manager is speaking.
Plus, when you’re trying to think of your answers, focusing on maintaining eye contact may leave you distracted, causing you to stumble through your responses. This is especially true for anyone who isn’t generally comfortable with eye contact.
By working on your eye contact when you’re the listener, you’ll get more leeway when it’s your turn to talk. Additionally, it will make you seem engaged when the hiring manager is speaking, something they’ll likely appreciate.
If you want to make sure you’re not too intense, shift your focus from one of the hiring manager’s eyes to the other and then to their mouth, working in a small triangle. Once you complete a cycle, glance to another point, and then start over.
Get the Timing Right
Whether you’re talking or listening, you don’t want to maintain eye contact indefinitely. Instead, you want to meet their gaze, glance elsewhere, and then return to making eye contact.
The cycle can actually be surprisingly quick, with each pause lasting about five seconds. If you’re striving to get the timing right, try making eye contact just long enough to notice the hiring manager’s eye color. Then, direct your attention elsewhere.
With some practice, the process will feel more natural. Make sure to work on eye contact while practicing your interview answers, especially if you are working with a mock interviewer. That way, you’ll gain valuable experience to help when it comes time to interview for project manager jobs in NJ or other positions.
Ace Your Next Interview!
If you’d like to gain more interview opportunities for a contract position, the team at Alpha Consulting can help. Contact us today.