How you interview for a job will determine whether or not you get hired. Well, I like to think that I haven’t already decided but I’ve already, at least, started to form an opinion that’s negative. What caused this businessman to form a negative opinion? Clothing. What you will you wear to your next job interview? This may seem like a shallow question, but as I interviewed experts, I realized it’s definitely a very important
thing to consider. Before you even open your mouth for the first time, you will have begun your first impression with the way you visually present yourself. In today’s video, we’ll sit down with three experts to discuss how to prepare yourself for an interview. From planning what you wear to maintaining your rituals on the day of the interview. Let’s make sure you have the best interview possible. For my non-native English students, there will also be a brief lesson at the end about how to ask for the bathroom. The first thing I want to talk about is your outfit. I asked two people who’ve done a lot of hiring and they both said, the way you present yourself, which includes your outfit, matters a lot. In fact, the wrong outfit might prevent you
from getting the job. Even before you start the interview. First impressions matter. I asked a local businessman, Steve, who does a lot of hiring for his business, how far into an interview he knows if he’ll
consider hiring someone. Listen to what he said. How long into an interview of somebody do you feel like you start to have a sense of: yes, I will go forward with this person. Oh boy, I would say, it’s probably as quick
as maybe five minutes. And sometimes, it’s even that opinion has
formed even before. It can be as early as before you even got it into the room. I could be in the foyer and in the hallway where you’re meeting that person. I hate to admit that but yeah, it can be
really quick, and really early. So you have literally called someone for an interview met them as they walked in the door and already decided there’s something about this person that’s not going to work out. Well, I like to think that I haven’t already decided but I’ve already, at least, started to form an opinion that’s negative. And what led to that? It’s terrible to say, but I’d say appearance. It is a huge first impression. If I have somebody that’s coming into an interview and they’re wearing a hoodie and sneakers, I’m forming a negative opinion of them that they haven’t prepared, and that they don’t care about what impression they’re going to be giving in my office, in my environment. What you wear gives an impression of how much you care about and have prepared for this interview. If you’ve been offered an interview, that means they already like you, but you can be sure you’re not the only one being interviewed for that position. The minute someone sees you, what you’re wearing and your body language is communicating for you. Make sure those things are saying what you want them to say. We’ll get into body language later in the course, but first let’s go a little deeper on outfit. So how do know how dressy to go in an interview? Let’s hear Steve’s advice. We don’t walk around in jeans and a t-shirt or have that extremely laid-back feel to our organization. And our…I think it’s poss- that could be fine in some organizations, but in ours our community would not see that as being a professional appearance. And so maybe that, part of that is knowing where you’re interviewing and what that culture is like, and that could be as simple as asking someone when you’re, when you’re setting up that interview. When that person is setting up the interview, ask them that question. What’s your, what’s your dress code like? So you can get a good idea what that is. Just ask. When someone contacts you to set up the interview, ask them, “What’s the dress code for your organization?” The person you’re communicating with at this point will likely be impressed that you’re researching, trying to know the organization and what’s expected. And if you’re ever not sure, it’s better to err on the side of being slightly more dressy than underdressed. You might feel like you want to wear something really memorable. They’re interviewing lots of people, right? You want them to remember you. But not for what you wore. If they’re remembering what you wore, they might not be remembering what stands out about you as an employee, and that’s what we want them to be thinking about as they’re making their decisions. I spoke with a career advisor, Laura, who works at a prestigious college here in the US. Listen to what she had to say: What advice do you give students who are going to an interview about clothing choice, and appearance, and that kind of thing? The first thing I say is to not wear anything that draws too much attention to you. You want the employer to be focused on what you’re saying, and the connection that you’re making, and not on what you’re wearing. Also not on a scent that’s too strong, or a
hair that’s out of place. So you just want to look at yourself in the mirror before you go and say: Do I look, you know, slightly boring, honestly, because you’re wanting them to focus on what you’re saying, and um, and so that’s one thing is to be thinking, you don’t want anything to be distracting. I also spoke with a woman, Cindy, who has worked as an Executive director for a non-profit in New York City. She has literally interviewed hundreds of people, and she agrees: keep your clothing simple. Simple. I wouldn’t wear fancy anything. I would keep the distractions minimal. If you normally wear earrings, I think it’s fine to wear earrings, if you don’t, I wouldn’t add anything you don’t normally wear. So there’s nothing that you don’t feel, sort of, different from how you normally feel, and that helps people feel comfortable in their skin. She also makes a good point: you don’t know what the seating situation will be in an interview, so you’ll want to think about that as you’re
choosing your outfit. I would wear something that you feel comfortable in, like, ahead of time, sitting, if you’re wearing a very short skirt, that can be super awkward. If you, depending on where you’re interviewing.
So for example, I used to do a lot of interviews in my office, and on a couch in my office. So if somebody sat down into the couch, it made it a very hard position for– Now, I usually wouldn’t sit on a couch because it was sort of awkward, but like it could make it a really awkward place to sit if you didn’t have on clothes that coverage or your legs enough. And then that would be something that was distracting to you, and possibly to the interviewer, for the interview. Same thing with anything that’s low-cut, if you’re sitting slightly below somebody, like you just don’t know what the situation is going to be, so you’re going to be as comfortable in the clothes that you’re wearing as you can, and know that like, however you might be sitting, you’re going to be covered and feel comfortable. So if you don’t have an outfit that’s very clean, simple, dressy, that you feel comfortable in, it’s worth investing in one as you start
your job interview process. Plan it ahead, wear it a few times. Don’t let your job interview be the very first time you wear something new. Make sure you know that you’re comfortable in it. You know what? You look amazing in that outfit. Now let’s talk about your ritual. Let me tell you a little personal story. My husband and I were set up by a mutual friend. The first date went pretty well, and so I was kind of nervous for the second date. I was meeting him for brunch in the morning, and before that, I met with a friend for coffee. I don’t drink coffee. But for some reason, that morning, I ordered it. And I was so jittery and had such a stomach ache, that I couldn’t eat brunch at all on our date. It was awkward because I had
significantly changed my ritual. When we’re nervous, we can make weird decisions without thinking them through. This can definitely happen when you’re preparing something as major as a job interview. Let’s listen to Laura’s advice. Do you have any advice for people about what to do the night before an interview? And then maybe like 15 minutes before the interview, as far as preparing and feeling relaxed? The night before the interview, you should not do anything different than you would normally do. So if you are normally going to bed at 10:00 p.m., go to bed at 10:00 p.m.. Try not to cram your studying, or your research into that very last night, you should be done with your preparations by the night before, so that you can just relax, you can eat a nice dinner, you can go to bed on time, and then the next morning, drink the same amount of coffee. If you normally eat breakfast, eat breakfast.
If you don’t, don’t. Just to kind of try to keep the routine and so that nothing’s out of order, and you feel a little off. And then 15 minutes before the interview, you should already be there. So give yourself plenty of time. You don’t want to be late, that’s the first point against you if you show up in an interview late. And then once you’re there, I always, personally, I go to the bathroom and just take a moment to relax in there, and just, you know, make sure that nothing is weird about my hair, that no collars are turned under. Just giving myself a once-over, and taking some time to breathe without anyone watching me. And then going out into the waiting room, or wherever you’re waiting for the employer, taking some deep breaths, and trying as much as possible from your belly instead of your chest, cause we can have really shallow breathing through our chest. But you’re taking it in through your belly, and breathing out, it’s amazing what a few
deep breaths can do for you. So take a calming deep breath and
prepare your body for that interview. We’ve just talked about preparing yourself, but it’s also really important to prepare for connection with your organization and the person
you’re interviewing with. In the next two videos, we’ll talk about how to do this by proper research, mock interviews, and thinking about your
body language. The person interviewing you will know if you’ve prepared the right way or not – so make sure you have. For my non-native students, we’re going to get your English lesson in just a minute. If you haven’t already, be sure to click the subscribe button and the bell for notifications. I make new videos on the English language and American culture every Tuesday and have over 600 videos on my channel to date focusing on listening comprehension and
accent reduction. While you’re waiting for next week’s video, a great next step would be to check out this “get started playlist.” And now, the English lesson. Let’s talk about the bathroom. I’ve noticed this can be confusing for some because there is no bath in bathrooms in public spaces. A term that might be more familiar to you is ‘the toilet’. Laura talks about going to the bathroom before an interview to give yourself one final check in the mirror, and to have just a moment to focus
before the interview starts: I always, personally, I go to the bathroom and just take a moment to relax in there, and just, you know, make sure that nothing is weird about my hair, that no collars are turned under. Just giving myself a once-over, and taking some time to breathe without anyone watching me. She goes to the bathroom, the room with
the bath. No. There’s no bath, it’s just a toilet and a sink. But even though ‘toilet’ is a common term elsewhere, native speakers in the US don’t use it. We much prefer to say ‘bathroom’ or ‘restroom’, either one of those is great, common, natural. If you say ‘toilet’, it’s a little odd here in the US. So, if you walk in for an interview early, and you have a little time to collect yourself, you can ask, “Excuse me, could you tell me where the bathroom is?” Or “could you tell me where the restroom is?” That’s a wonderful and polite way to ask. That’s it, and thanks so much for using Rachel’s English.