Where should you look on your device while conducting a Zoom or Skype job interview?
Several people wrote to us with that question following our recent article about delivering confident answers in virtual meetings. (You can read that piece here.)
The issue is that if you look at the image of the person you are speaking with on screen, then you won’t actually be looking them in the eye. However, if you look directly into your webcam, then you will be making direct eye contact from their perspective – but in this case you are not actually seeing the face of the person you’re speaking with.
So, what is the best way to handle eye contact in a video chat?
The answer is a bit of both. Yes, look into your camera. This is how you make eye contact directly with your interviewer. It communicates sincerity and confidence. Employers want to assess your interview answers and communication style while looking you in the eye.
However, also look away. Look at the employer’s face on screen, check out the setting they are in, change your focus. Just like in a face-to-face interview, eye contact is important, but you would not stare directly at the other person the whole time.
That would just come across as weird and creepy.
So, break eye contact, look around. But when it comes time to deliver your top selling points or express your enthusiasm for the role, do it directly into the camera. You want to be looking the employer in the eye when you communicate why you are the right person for the job.
Also, be careful not to get distracted by your own image. Most video chatting platforms include the live image from your own camera on screen. Use this to make sure that you are well-lit and in-frame, but then ignore it or minimize it. It can be distracting to see an image of yourself in real time as you speak.