Look me in the eyes, dammit!
One of my biggest pet peeves when doing an interview is candidates who won’t look me in the eyes. I find it disturbing.
I don’t think I’m alone. I remember when my son went to a police academy camp as a kid. One of the officers made him practice a handshake, stressing that he look him dead in the eye. I think one of the reasons my son has been successful was this bit of advice.
Eye contact is so important. It shows respect for the other person and demonstrates self-confidence. If you’re looking down or you’re looking at everything in the room but me, there’s an immediate flag on the play. As the interviewer, that lack of eye contact is aggravating and unnerving.
Eye contact is among the cornerstones of not only making a good first impression but having good conversations and connections with people for the rest of your life. You should make eye contact in every conversation you have, especially among professionals.
PR pros will know when you’re avoiding eye contact, and it won’t go over well. Employers will want you to project self-confidence and assuredness, and eye contact is a surefire way to make that happen. Even if you don’t actually feel confident, it’s important to look the part. Fake it till you make it!
With enough practice, eye contact will become second nature. When you’re in a position where you’re looking for a candidate, you, too, will notice when someone desperately avoids eye contact.
So, look me in the eyes, dammit!