One of the most important things you can do to establish rapport and trust in your job interviews is to make appropriate eye contact. That can be hard to do if you’re not in the same room. So, here’s an easy but powerful tip to ensure good eye contact in video interviews – and it’s not just “look at the camera”!
Why looking at the camera is not enough.
If looking at the camera means ignoring the interviewer’s face, you’ve got a problem: You will not see their expressions, so you will not be able to respond appropriately. For example, they’ll smile and you will not; or they’ll look like they want to say something and you will not stop for them. The result is a lack of rapport. Bad vibes!
Here’s how you can have it both ways – see the interviewer’s face, and make eye contact at the same time.
To make perfect eye contact in video interviews:
- Reduce the size of the teleconference window – whether it’s Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or what have you – so that it’s only a few inches wide. Depending on the platform and your device, it may be a matter of grabbing and dragging one corner of the window.
- Move the resized window as close to the camera as possible. On many devices, this is the top of the screen.
- If the view of yourself is closer to the camera than the interviewer’s face is (eg, on Zoom, where the “self view” is on top), hide that self view. (You may need to hover over your own image to see this option pop up.) Getting your self view out of the way brings the interviewer’s face upwards, even closer to the camera.
With the interviewer’s image so close to the camera, you can simply look at their face as in a normal conversation, and they’ll feel like you’re looking into their eyes.
Bonus tip: Make eye contact most of the time when you’re listening to them, and about half the time while you’re speaking. (These proportions are generally well suited to the business culture of the United States. People in other countries may use eye contact differently.)
For more tips, read my post, How to Ace a Video Interview.