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The real reason generation Y does not look the interviewer in the eye

Gen Y has been trained to refrain from eye contact.
Gen Y has been trained to refrain from eye contact.
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It is said you only get one chance at a first impression. For the job seeker lending an interview is a major victory that is often turned into a major defeat when the applicant does not make a good first impression. Three important factors will influence in interviewer within the first second of meeting a candidate. These factors include grooming with a professional look, a genuine smile and eye contact.

In a 2012 interview with ABC’s 20-20, Lauren Ferrara of Creative Circle Staffing admits he is the first thing she looks for - even before the handshake. Everyday Interview Tips says that candidates maintaining eye contact during an interview demonstrate they have confidence, focus and social aptitude.

Body language experts contend it is difficult for someone to look another person in the eye when they are lying therefore interviewers will make a negative assumption when a candidate delivers facts and figures, major accomplishments or past experiences while looking at the table or off to the side. Even if wondering glances are not while you are making glowing statements about your abilities the recruiter will read this body language as disinterest in the interview or the inability to focus according to

Despite the importance of making eye contact in a job interview members of generation Y often fail to do so. In fact members of generation YR1 third less likely to make eye contact according to a study by Forrester Institute. Many feel this is because of the technology embraced by this generation that diminishes the amount of personal contact in lieu of social media and texting. This is not the case. Forrester found that only 26% of generation Y share work information via text message, videoconferencing or video chat while 47% of baby boomers will do so. They also discovered that only 40% of generation Y you social media for business while 50% of baby boomers do so.

The difficulty with the younger generation stems from teachings that began in the early stages of education. They have been taught many lessons about “stranger danger” that have the unintended consequences of making them less social as they move through adolescence into adulthood. Chief among these is a strong teaching to not make eye contact with someone who is not a friend or family member.

This is an important consideration recruiters need to take into account when interviewing young potential talent. Small talk about non-job related matters need to be handled at the beginning of the interview in order to establish a rapport with the applicant will begin to look at the interviewer as a “friend”. This will not completely reduce the tendency to look away but it will help in establishing a baseline for the ability and likelihood of the interviewee looking the interviewer directly in the eye.

©2014 Max Impact, used with permission.