Is Eye Contact Important?

The other day I was conducting interviews for a new staff member and had an interesting experience with one of the candidates.  While asking some key questions the candidate would answer appropriately, but would shift her eyes away from mine.

At first I thought she was nervous, but this continued for several questions when asking about her past job experience.  My first thought was “what is she concerned about?” I did a good background check and she came out with flying colors and both of her previous employers would re-hire her.

I quickly thought I would change the questions I was asking from previous work experience to “What do you like to do in your spare time?”  Bingo! Immediately she connected with me telling me of her children and what they liked to do and the hobbies they had as a family.  She lit up and began to relax and we had a great discussion as she told me about herself, her family and then she began talking about her work experience.

She made eye contact with me throughout the rest of the interview.  I am so glad I thought to change-up the interview questions so I could find out more about this candidate and make the determination if she was the match for our practice.  Had I continued on the path I was headed I would have missed getting to know this person better.

We did hire this candidate and she has been absolutely great this first week.  She even has come up to me and asked if I was doing okay and if there was anything she could help me with.  It really pays to take the time to get to know the people you are interviewing.  It took a bit longer in the process but behind those nervous eyes was a real jewel of a human being.

While eye contact is real important so is the effort of trying to get to know the person you are speaking with using other communication tactics.

“If you take the time to get to know someone the rewards are ten fold, either good or bad” ~ T.C. Totaro

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