We all know about the benefits of making eye contact generally in workplace and also on job interviews, but always there the question of how much eye contact I should have in a job interview? In this article we will try to answer this question.

Presentation instructor Graham Davies told CNBC that there is often “a very thin margin between the amount of interaction that comes off as ‘professionally effective’ and what sounds more like ‘sinister stalking’,” particularly in high-pressure scenarios such as job interviews.

Davies said making eye contact between 85% and 90% of the time in a job interview was a “happy medium” on what he considered a “contact continuum”—a scale that ranges from zero to uninterrupted eye contact.

In the meantime, Noah Zandan, CEO of the communications skills development platform Quantified Communications, said that maximum eye contact would be anywhere between 60% and 70% range. This involves having “more eye contact than you feel normal,” considering that adults appear to look at one another directly about 30% and 60% of the time.

In a job interview, Zandan said that this degree of eye contact will help to establish a connection with the interviewer, creating a sense of “truthfulness and reliability.” This was considered to be necessary because of the widespread belief that someone looked away while they were lying, as people continued to search for non-verbal signs of dishonesty.

eye contact in job interview

Zandan also suggested no more than 10 seconds of “bursts,” considering that longer than that it could become “small unnerving,” while a brief look might indicate a disinterest in the discussion.

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Listen actively

That being said, Zandan pointed out that there is a distinction between looking away when listening and looking to the side, generally to the left, while thinking of an answer.

“Yeah, you want to establish a genuine bond, you want to experience that bond, but sometimes you do want to pause that connection,” he said.

Similarly, Presentation Coach Davies said that breaking contact to think of an answer to a question was appropriate in a job interview, as “silent contemplation stare” could be very “disturbing” for the receiver.

To be certain, Davis said that this meant leaving the interviewer with a bad feeling if they were “stalked” by eye contact.

Zandan noted that eye contact also showed “good listening” in a job interview, demonstrating that everyone is “conscious” and “committed” to what the interviewer said.

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