Fortunately, Gregory has an easy remedy: "Look [your interviewer] in the eyes when you begin a point, then look just below the eyes or to one side of the nose. Finish by looking the person in the eyes again at the end of your statement."
It may sound simple, but if you haven't interviewed in a couple of years, it's all too easy to leave the house without change for the parking meter or any other interviewing essentials. For this reason, experts suggest assembling a survival kit ahead of time and leaving it in your car or briefcase. Among the necessary items:
Map (or GPS), cash, change and a full tank of gas.
Bottled water and non-perishable snack in case your interview runs longer than expected.
Breath mints, toothpicks, deodorant, a spare shirt, stain removal stick, hair brush, lip balm, and any other grooming items you routinely use.
Tissues and hand sanitizer if you're getting over a cold.
Pen and notepad so you can take notes and bring along a cheat sheet of interviewer names and titles, questions to ask and those bullet points about your career I mentioned earlier.
Extra business cards and copies of your resume, references, work samples and any presentations you plan to give.
"I regularly hear of hiring managers who select a less qualified candidate because they liked the person's energy," said Debra Yergen, author of "Creating Job Security Resource Guide". "They liked their ideas. And they liked their enthusiasm. It's one of the top influencers in an interview."
Of course, when you've been interviewing for 6, 12 or 18 months, putting on a happy face is sometimes easier said than done. If you fall into this camp, Yergen has a suggestion: "Listen to a song or look at a picture or provide yourself a prop that you know will make you smile, laugh and feel good. Use that prop right before the interview and you won't believe the difference it will make."
Those hard-pressed to find a happiness prop might try envisioning that stack of past-due bills on their kitchen table all paid off. That ought to tease out a genuine smile.
Closing the interview can be tough. You want to let the hiring manager know you're excited about the position and you want to ask -- without sounding desperate -- when you can expect to hear from them next. But you also need to punctuate the meeting with a lasting positive impression.
One way to do so is to close with a question that shows you're already thinking about how you'll succeed in this new position. Alison Green, a management consultant in Washington, D.C. who writes the blog Ask a Manager, recommends this one: "Thinking back to people who have been in this position previously, what differentiated the ones who were good from the ones who were really great?"
"This question excites managers because it signals that you care about being not just good, but truly great," Green explained. Even better, she said, "They've generally never heard anyone ask it before."
Michelle Goodman is a freelance writer and former cubicle dweller. Her books include "My So-Called Freelance Life: How to Survive and Thrive as a Creative Professional for Hire" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide: Practical Career Advice for Women Who Think Outside the Cube." Follow her at @anti9to5guide.