Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Do this to make a lasting impression at interview

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Next time you’re wondering whether you made a good first impression with an important business contact, ask yourself: What color were his or her eyes?

A friendly handshake and a gaze “just long enough to figure out what the color is goes an amazingly long way” in making a positive impression, says Carol Kinsey Goman, Ph.D and author of “The Truth About Lies in the Workplace.” (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2013)

“Our findings highlight that eye contact can signal very different kinds of messages,” says Frances Chen, assistant professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia and the lead researcher for a recent study about eye contact published in Psychological Science.

While some contact is good, too much can be intimidating, especially if the interaction isn’t strictly a friendly, social encounter.

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  • Goman, who hasn’t conducted research but has reviewed studies on eye contact, advises that when a job candidate is in an interview, he should look into the interviewer’s eyes “when he’s stating pertinent information about himself.”

    Otherwise, listeners may be skeptical about a candidate’s claims, such as past accomplishments, education and other credentials.

    As a general rule, though, Goman says that when you’re speaking use eye contact less than when you’re listening.

    “When someone else is talking, keep contact a bit more than half the time, and when you’re talking, keep it to under 50 percent of the time,” she says.

    For situations when negotiations occur, such as for a salary, “pay attention to the body language of the listener,” Chen advises. “If the listener seems receptive and open to your message, direct eye contact might have a positive impact on persuasion. However, if he or she seems upset, overwhelmed or starts looking away, trying to force direct eye contact might backfire.”

    © CTW Features

    Marilyn Kennedy Melia CTW Features