Is it better to look to the left or right while thinking of a response during interviews or does it not matter?

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  • Feb 28th, 2018 8:43 am
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Apr 21, 2004
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Is it better to look to the left or right while thinking of a response during interviews or does it not matter?

I will be conducting some video interviews with a few candidates who are allowed to use cue cards. Just wanted to know if I should even bother with eye directional movements. Is it really just a myth? ... -is-lying/

1. Eye Language

If a candidate can’t look you in the eye and looks ashamedly at the floor, it’s pretty clear that something’s wrong, but an accomplished liar, skilled in the art of deception won’t crack so easily under the pressure!

Look out for deviating eye movements.
Myth buster: It is generally believed that right-handed people will look to the right when recalling something honestly however, you know what assuming does…

It’s far more reliable to look out for sudden deviations from the candidate’s “eye-language” baseline.

For example, if your interviewee consistently looks up and to the left when answering questions, then suddenly looks up to the right when you ask why they left their last job, they’re probably fabricating a falsehood. ... g-1922058/

The first-ever study looking specifically into the myth yielded clear-cut results. In the first phase of the experiment, half of the participants were instructed to lie, saying that they had put a cell phone into a desk drawer when they had actually pocketed it in their bag. The other half were asked to put the phone in the drawer and then tell the truth. The interview was videotaped and the participants’ eye directions analyzed—and both groups showed virtually the exact same amount of looking left and right.

The second half of the experiment examined real-life lying. “We looked at tapes of high-level non-sanctioned lies—people at press conferences who were appealing for a missing relative,” says Wiseman. For half of the press conferences, the relatives speaking were later convicted for the crime, based on DNA, security camera footage or other evidence, indicating they were lying. Again, when compared to those telling the truth, they looked to the right or left no more frequently.

According to Wiseman, the myth seems to have originated in the literature of neuro-linguistic programming, or NLP, a self-help philosophy created in the 1970s and 80s. “Originally, they wrote about reconstructed memories versus generated memories—the difference between imagination and an event that actually happened,” he says. “Over the years, that somehow evolved into lying versus genuine memories.”

As the belief spread, it became accepted and incorporated into training manuals without ever being rigorously tested. “Interviewers in a lot of organizations are told to look for certain patterns of eye movements when someone talks about their past, and if they emerge, then that’s a reason to think the candidate is not telling the truth,” Wiseman says.

Although this myth has been debunked, there are some ways to analyze an interviewee’s behavior to get hints on whether they’re lying–but the methods are far more complicated that simply tracking the direction a person is looking. ”There are some actual cues that might indicate lying—such as being static or talking less or dropping in terms of emotionality,” says Wiseman, “but I don’t think there’s any reason to keep holding onto this idea about eye movement.”
6 replies
Deal Fanatic
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Dec 8, 2007
5546 posts
Stare intently DIRECTLY into their eyes. DIRECTLY. Do not blink. Do not break eye contact. Maintain DIRECT eye contact at all costs. You falter, even momentarily, you lose. You can do this.
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Sr. Member
Sep 14, 2012
554 posts
At that point, you might as well as spend your preparation time to go over your qualifications / the job's role and how you match it.
Looking left/right is the least you should worry about in an interview.
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Deal Addict
Nov 6, 2015
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Guelph, ON
Umm, how about you just listen to their answers to find out how knowledgeable they are about the job?
Deal Addict
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Aug 15, 2015
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Markham, ON
Sounds like you are assuming every candidate will lie. Sophisticated video interviewees will set up their camera so that all you can see is a blur of their body because the sunlight will shine on the camera.

Sorry wrong time of the date to be doing the interview, I cannot move my camera. Can you hear me clearly? Good good.
Sr. Member
Dec 15, 2015
706 posts
Your answers lie in the last paragraph you posted. Plus what if someone has aspergers, are you going to assume they are lying?

And the first link you posted says to look at all 5 ways, not just the one. So if your focusing on the eyes you will likely miss all the other indicators that point to them lying.