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HOW TO IMPRESS YOUR INTERVIEWER

VIEWS: 1 PAGES: 13

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									HOW TO IMPRESS YOUR INTERVIEWER
         IN AN INSTANT




                Yuko Shibayama




           Instructor: Professor Kitao

         Meta Linguistic Culture Theory

                 January 2004
                                                                           Shibayama 1




I    INTRODUCTION


        In our Meta Linguistics class, every student raised their hands when I asked
them if they wanted to work in the future. This means that all of us will have to go
through a job interview in a few years. There is only one goal for every one of us in
taking an interview: to pass. To do so, making a good impression on our interviewer is
crucial. Then what is the easiest way to make a good impression? One of the first
things we notice when looking at someone is what the person is wearing. Therefore, I
decided to do a research on how we can instantly impress our job interviewers, focusing
especially on job-hunting suits, or in other words, “recruit” suits.      Since all the
students in our class are female, I will look into women‟s “recruit” suits that will make
the statement: I am a professional. To make this statement, is it better to wear a suit
in a skirt style or a pants suit? Furthermore, what suit color makes the statement
stronger?


        My hypothesis is that women generally think that wearing a suit in a skirt
style is better for several reasons. Some people might believe that wearing a skirt
makes a more formal impression, and therefore is the proper choice for an interview.
Another reason is because most women wear suits in a skirt style to job interviews in
the present, so that wearing it is more assuring than wearing a pants suit. It seems
like Japanese people want to and tend to be like everybody else. This is especially
apparent in young women‟s fashion. If you walk around the university, for instance,
you can easily find a group of girls that dress exactly alike. This phenomenon is
probably the same with “recruit” suits. I also guess that suits in dark colors in black
and navy are popular, because dark colors seem more formal, and it is common sense to
wear dark colors in a formal situation.


II   METHOD


         I did research through questionnaires, books, and the Internet. I passed out a
questionnaire to 10 female college students, to mostly upper grade students who will be
taking job interviews soon. I also gave out the same questionnaire to 10 people who
are already working. Few had experience as job interviewers. The questionnaires
that were conducted are as below. See Appendix A for English translation.


    Questionnaire
                                          Shibayama 2




① フォーマルな場(結婚式、お葬式等)では、女性はズボンよりスカートを着用した方
   がよいと思われますか。
       はい
       いいえ


② 就職の面接時、スーツを着用した方がよいと思われますか。
       a. はい
       b. いいえ


③ 普段、スーツ(スカート)を着用している女性を見かけた時、どのような印象を持た
   れますか。 (複数回答可)
       a. 女性らしい        b. 女性らしくない
       c. おとなしい        d. 活動的
       e. 上品、清楚        f. 魅力的
       g. 自己主張が強い
       h. その他 ______________


④ 普段、パンツスーツを着用している女性を見かけた時、どのような印象を持たれます
   か。 (複数回答可)
       a. 女性らしい        b. 女性らしくない
       c. おとなしい        d. 活動的
       e. 上品、清楚        f. 魅力的
       g. 自己主張が強い
       h. その他 ______________


⑤-1.   ②で「a. はい」を選ばれた方は、就職の面接時、スカートスーツかパンツスーツ、
       どちらを着用した方が良いと思われますか。
         a. スカートスーツ
         b. パンツスーツ
         c. どちらでも良い


       ⑤-2. a.又は b.を選ばれた方は、それはなぜですか。(複数回答可)
       (社会人の方は b.以下からお選び下さい。)
         a. みんなが選んでいるので安心だから
         b. 仕事ができそうに見えるから
         c. 知的に見えるから
                                                                        Shibayama 3




           d. 女性らしいから
           e. おしゃれに見えるから
           f. 自己主張ができるように見えるから
           g. 上品、清楚に見えるから
           h. その他 _____________________________
           ___________________________________


        ⑤-3. を選んだ方は、それはなぜですか。
           a. スカートでもズボンでも受ける印象は変わらない
           b. フォーマルな場で女性がスカートを着用した方が良いという考え方は古い
           c. その他 _____________________________
           ___________________________________


⑥-1.   ②で「a. はい」を選ばれた方は、何色のスーツが良いと思われますか。
       (一つだけお選び下さい)
        a. 紺             b. グレー
        c. 黒             d. ベージュ
        e. その他 ______________


        ⑥-2. それはなぜですか。 (一つだけお選び下さい)
        (社会人の方は b.以下からお選び下さい。)
            a. みんなが選んでいるので安心だから
            b. 仕事ができそうに見えるから
            c. 知的に見えるから
           d. 女性らしいから
           e. おしゃれに見えるから
           f. 自己主張ができるように見えるから
           g. 上品、清楚に見えるから
           h. その他 ______________


III LITERATURE REVIEW


        According to Ms. Tamari, a teacher at Ami Air, which is a school where
students learn how to become flight attendants, “80% of whether you pass the interview
or not is determined by first impression” (Tamari‟s, 2003). In addition, she says that
“your first impression is perceived in approximately 6 seconds, and more than 50% of
                                                                            Shibayama 4




your first impression is based on your appearance” (Tamari‟s, 2003). This comment
proves the importance of making a good first impression through appearance.
         In the old times, dresses were the only option for women‟s formal clothing.
However, as women started working outside their homes, clothes to wear to work
became necessary. It is said that Coco Chanel first designed suits for women that were
easy to move in. Her suits liberated women from “tight dresses with corsets and skirts
with huge hoops”(Mori, p.186). Today, many women work and uncountable suits for
women appear in the market. These suits are not only easy to move in, but they also
send an intentional message.          The textbook says, “the clothing he chooses for the
interview sends a message”(Kitao, p.76). By wearing a suit to an interview, “he may be
intending to communicate that he is serious about wanting the job and therefore wants
to look his best”(Kitao, p.76).
         Many homepages said that some women worry that wearing a pants suit might
not make a good impression, but according to one homepage, “it does not matter”
(Shuushoku Daisakusen, 2003). Another homepage points out that “men and women
are supposed to be judged and hired equally since the revision of the Equal Employment
Opportunity Law, so wearing a pants suit is not a problem”(Mensetsu/Naitei).
However, according to another page, “women should wear a suit in a skirt style”
(Recruit Fashion Laboratory, 2003). It is also pointed out that some elder people tend
to think “women should wear a skirt in a formal event”(Mensetsu/Naitei). It seems
like this is a controversial issue.
         When you imagine a “recruit” suit, what color do you imagine it in? Probably
gray, black, navy, or perhaps beige. On the other hand, it is not common sense to wear
bright colors like red, yellow, etc. According to one homepage, “basically, there is no
rule on what color you should wear to any industry”(Recruit Fashion). Then why do
people often wear dark color to interviews? Dark colors have a sense of formality. For
example, as Professor Kitao mentioned in class, black is a color which people wear to
funerals, and in Japan, men wear black tuxedos and women wear black kimonos. Gray
“recruit” suits are popular among women, and it is said that wearing gray makes an
“intelligent” and “calm” impression (Yoshimura). Navy is said to be the color that “best
matches the skin color of Japanese, and makes a serious impression” (Yoshimura).


IV RESULTS


         Most of the results of the questionnaires matched the hypothesis and the
literature review. First of all, for question①, “Do you think women should wear a skirt
                                                                                                                    Shibayama 5




instead of pants in a formal event (e.g. weddings and funerals)?”, there was an apparent
difference between the answers from the students and the people who work. Whereas
only 50% of the students answered “yes”, 80% of the people who work answered “yes”.
               100% of both groups answered “yes” for ②“Do you think people should wear
suits to a job interview?”.
               Answers varied in question ③ , “When you see a woman wearing a suit
               C hart 1 - I pressi of w om en i a ski styl sui
                           m     on           n     rt e t                        (skirt-style), what kind of impression do
 100%                                                                             you receive?” (See Chart 1) By looking at
  80%
                                                                                  the chart, it can be seen that answers
  60%                                                          students
  40%                                                               e
                                                               peopl w ho w ork   concentrated on “c. passive” and “e.
  20%
                                                                                  elegant”. It was a surprise that only 10%
   0%
                  ve
                 ne




                                                                                  of the both groups chose “feminine” and
                  e
                ne




                ve

                 t




                c.
                 e




               iv
               ti
              an
              iv
              ni
             ni




             ti




             et
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          mi




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        h.
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      as




                                                                                  that not even one person chose “g.
     at
     d.

    e.
    c.
          t
 a.

        no




  g.
  f.
      b.




                                                                                  attractive”.
               Answers also varied in question④, “When you see a woman wearing a suit
(pants-style), what kind of impression do you perceive?” (See Chart 2) The 10% of the
                                                                                  students who chose “h. etc.” commented,
              Chart 2 - Impression of women in pants suits
                                                                                  “fashionable”.       Every    one     of    the
100%
 80%                                                                              participants chose “d. active”, and most
 60%                                                        students              people chose “g. assertive”. An interesting
 40%                                                        people who work
 20%                                                                              point is that 10% of the people who work
  0%
                                                                                  chose “b. not feminine” where 0% of the
                    e
                  ve
        d. ve

         el e

         tra t
      c. ine
     t f ine




                   c.
   f. egan

   g. ctiv
               tiv




                                                                                  students did. On the other hand, 30% of
               et
              rt i
                 i
            ss
             in

            in


           ac




          se

           h.
b. fem

         em

         pa




       as
      at
      e.
    a.
  no




                                                                                  the students chose “g. attractive”, but 0% of
the people who work did.
               For ⑤-1. “Do you think it is better for women to wear a suit in a skirt style or a
                     C hart 3 - Ski styl sui or pants sui
                                  rt e t                t                         pants style in job interviews?”, most of the
 100%                                                                             students    and    the   people    who     work
  80%                                                                             answered “skirt style”.      (See Chart 3)
  60%
                                                              students            This also matched the hypothesis. Only
  40%                                                              e
                                                              peopl w ho w ork
                                                                                  20% of the students and 0% of the people
  20%
                                                                                  who work chose “pants suit”. The same
   0%
           ski syl
             rt e    pants sui i does not
                             t t                                                  percentage of both groups chose “it does
               t
             sui                 m atter
                                                                                  not matter”.      In ⑤ -2, the participants‟
reasons for choosing the skirt style was asked(See Chart 4). Most of the students chose
“a. It is what everyone else wears, and it is assuring”, which matches the hypothesis,
                                                                                                                            Shibayama 6




and “g. It is elegant”. The 10% of the students, who chose “h. etc.” wrote, “It makes a
more serious impression”. Almost all the people who work chose “g. It is elegant”.
100% of the students who chose “pants suit” for ⑤-1. answered “f. assertive” for their
                                            ng rt e t
                C hart 4 - R eason for choosi ski styl sui                                 Chart 5 - Reason for choosing pants suit

 100%                                                                            100%
  80%                                                                             80%
  60%                                                         students            60%                                            students
  40%                                                              e
                                                              peopl w ho w ork    40%                                            people who work
  20%                                                                             20%
   0%                                                                              0%
                   e
                   e



                  nt
                 ng




                 ne




                 c.
                iv
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                bl
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               ga




                                                                                                      t




                                                                                                    nt
                                                                                      g. tiv e
               ar




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                                                                                      od r ing

                                                                                                    er
              ri




                                                                                                    c.
              ni




                                                                                        as ble
              et
              rt
              rk




                                                                                                   ar
             na




                                                                                                nin




                                                                                                 et
                                                                                               lga
            el




                                                                                                 rk
            sm
            su




           mi




                                                                                              sm
           se
           wo




           io




                                                                                                a
                                                                                               u




                                                                                                r
          h.




                                                                                            wo



                                                                                  e. emi
          el




                                                                                           ion




                                                                                             h.
                                                                                            se

                                                                                           ele
         as




                                                                                 b. ass
         fe



        as
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        c.




                                                                                          c.
       od




                                                                                       sh
     fa




                                                                                         f
     g.
    a.




    d.
    go




    f.




                                                                                     a.




                                                                                     d.
                                                                                    fa

                                                                                    f.
                                                                                   go
 e.
   b.




                                      ng   t    e
          C hart 6 - R eason for choosi "sui styl does not m atter"

 100%

  80%                                                                                   a. The impression you make does not

  60%                                                                                     change whether you choose the skirt
                                                             students
                                                                  e
                                                             peopl w ho w ork
  40%                                                                                     style or the pants style.

  20%                                                                                   b. The idea that women should wear a
   0%                                                                                     skirt in a formal event is out of date.
          a.             b.




reason in ⑤-2 (See Chart 5). 50% chose “b. It makes you look like a good worker”.
Participants who chose “c. does not matter” for ⑤-1, answered their reasons in ⑤-3
(See Chart 6). 50% of the students and 100% of the people who work chose “a. The
impression you make does not change whether you choose the skirt style or the pants
style.” 50% of the students chose “b. The idea that women should wear a skirt in a
formal event is out of date.”
               There was a clear difference between the answers of the students and the
people who work in ⑥-1. “what color do you think is the best (for suits)?” (See Chart 7)
                                                                                 Even though 0% of the students chose
                              t or           nk s
           C hart 7 - W hat sui col do you thi i the best?
                                                                                 navy, 20% of the people who work did.
 100%
                                                                                 Black was by far the most popular color
  80%

  60%
                                                                                 among the students, but gray was the
                                                             students

  40%
                                                                  e
                                                             peopl w ho w ork    most popular among the people who work.
  20%                                                                            In ⑥-2. “What is your reason for choosing
   0%                                                                            that color?”, navy was chosen because of “c.
        navy      gray         ack
                              bl        ge
                                      bei        etc.
                                                                                 It makes you look smart” and “g. It is
elegant” (See Chart 8). 100% of the students and 80% of the people who work who
                                                                                                            Shibayama 7




chose gray answered “g. It is elegant”, and 20% of the people who work chose “c. It
makes you look smart” (See Chart 9). Most of the students who chose black answered
“a. It is what everyone else wears, and it is assuring”, and 30% of the students answered
“b. It looks like you can do good work” (See Chart 10). However, 100% of the people
who work chose black chose “f. It makes you look assertive”.

             Chart 8 - Reason for choosing navy

    100%
     80%
     60%                                            students
     40%                                            people who work
     20%
      0%                                                                      Chart 9 - Reason for choosing gray
                      t




       g. iv e

                    nt
       sh n e
      od ing

                    er




                    c.
        as ble
                   ar




                 et
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                 rk



                ni
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                                                                      100%
                rt
   go ur




              na
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  e. emi




           ele

             h.
            se
 b. ass




           io
          c.

         f




                                                                       80%
     a.




     d.

    fa

    f.




                                                                       60%                                         students
                                                                       40%                                         people who work
                                                                       20%
             Chart 10 - Reason for choosing black
                                                                        0%
    100%                                                                                   t




                                                                            g. iv e

                                                                                         nt
                                                                            sh n e
                                                                           od ing

                                                                                         er




                                                                                         c.
                                                                             as ble
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     80%
                                                                                 wo



                                                                       e. emi




                                                                                ele

                                                                                  h.
                                                                                 se
                                                                      b. ass




                                                                                io
                                                                               c.

                                                                              f
                                                                          a.




     60%
                                                                          d.

                                                                         fa

                                                    students             f.
     40%                                            people who work
     20%
      0%
                      t




       g. iv e

                    nt
       sh n e
      od ing

                    er




                    c.
        as ble
                   ar




                 et
                ga
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  e. emi




           ele

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 b. ass




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         f
     a.




     d.

    fa

    f.




V     DISCUSSION


           The results of question①, “Do you think women should wear a skirt in a formal
event?” show that half of the students think it is acceptable for women to wear pants in
a formal event, but only 20% of the people who work think so. Maybe this is an
example of how younger people are more liberal than older people are.
           In question②, every single participant answered that people should wear suits
to job interviews. The result clearly indicates that wearing a suit to job interviews is
common sense in Japan. In other words, this means that if you do not wear a suit in
that occasion, you are in big trouble.
           At the present, it is socially accepted for women to wear pants as well as skirts
in daily lives. As a female, I am glad that we have this free choice. On the other hand,
in a situation like a job interview, this free choice makes women confused: is better to
wear a suit in a skirt style or a pants suit? The purpose of questions③ and ④ was to
discover the differences in the impression people receive from women wearing suits in a
skirt style and pants suits. There was a clear difference between the two results.
                                                                            Shibayama 8




Though women wearing a suit in a skirt style were highly evaluated as “elegant”, many
participants also had a “passive” impression. “Elegant” and “passive”――these were
qualities in Japanese women which were considered to be ideal in the past, or maybe
these are still so for some people today. On the other hand, women wearing pants suits
were highly evaluated as “active” and “assertive”. “Active” and “assertive”――doesn‟t
this describe modern women?        Though 10% of the people who work chose “not
feminine”, 10% of the students think women wearing pants suits “etc. fashionable” and
30% find them “attractive”.      However, not one participant in both groups chose
“attractive” for women wearing suits in a skirt style. From these points, it can be said
that female students admire women wearing pants suits, rather than women wearing
suits in a skirt style.
         So far, it may seem like pants suits are more popular among students.
However, when I asked if it is better for women to wear a suit in a skirt style or a pants
style in job interviews, most participants of both groups chose the suit in a skirt style.
Why? Most students chose because “It is elegant” and “It is what everyone else wears,
and it is assuring”. This matches the hypothesis, “Japanese people want to and tend to
be like everybody else”. Furthermore, as the Japanese proverb goes, “The stake that
sticks out will be hammered”, Japanese people have a sense that it is not good to stand
out.   What about the people who work?        They thought suits in a skirt style are
“elegant” and “feminine”. It was a surprise that only 20% of the students and 0% of the
people who work chose “pants suits”. It was also a surprise that the same percentage
of the two groups chose “it does not really matter”. Since only a small number of people
chose “pants suits” and “it does not really matter”, “Chart 5 – Reason for choosing pants
suit” and “Chart 6 – Reason for choosing „suit style does not matter‟” is rather
unreliable; these two charts would have come out very differently if one or two
participants had given a different answer. This part was the failure of my research.
         Although my hypothesis was that many participants would chose dark, formal
colors like navy and black as the appropriate color of the suits, 0% of the students and
only 20% of the people who work chose navy. Maybe navy was not popular among
students because the color reminds them of school uniforms. The color that was the
most unpopular was beige. No one in both groups chose it. I guess the reason is
because beige is a very light color and lacks a sense of formality.   Gray was the most
popular color among people who work. The main reason why gray was chosen in both
groups was because it was considered to be elegant, but 20% of the people who work also
chose “It makes you look smart”. This fits theory in the literature review, “…gray
makes an „intelligent‟ impression.” On the other hand, black was the most popular
                                                                                Shibayama 9




color among students. From how 75% of the students chose “It is what everyone else
wears, and it is assuring”, black seems like the most common color worn in job
interviews in Japan today. Black was also chosen by students as the color that makes
you look like you can do good work and by people who work, as the color that makes you
look assertive. I think this is because wearing black creates a sharp image.


VI CONCLUSION


         Until I took this class, I never really thought of clothing as an aspect of
nonverbal communication.        Moreover, I personally used to think it did not really
matter if you wear a suit in black, gray, or navy; or a suit in a skirt style or pants style to
a job interview. It may superficially seem that it does not make any difference, but I
realized through my research that the impression people receive is quite different. We
should remember that interviewers are going to be twice our age or maybe older, and as
the result of the questionnaire proves, interviewers may somewhat be conservative than
us students. Therefore, it is better off to wear a suit in the skirt style and pose as a
“passive” and “elegant” woman if you are trying to get in to a conservative company.
Or if the company is new and liberal, wear a pants suit and pose as an “assertive” and
“active” woman. It might have good effect. In any case, it is better to choose gray or
black. If we keep these points in mind, we will know how to make just the right first
impression through our clothes when we find out what kind of workers the company is
looking for.   Clothes are handy tools――not only can they be used to express our
character, but they can also be used for camouflage as well.




REFERENCE LIST


Kitao, S. Kathleen and Kenji. Nonverbal Communication. Ikubundo, Tokyo, 2002.
Mori, Hanae. Fashion. Iwanami Shinsho, Tokyo, 1993.


Mensetsu Manner no Tatsujin.
 <http://navi.mycom.co.jp/2002conts/bi/manner/index4.html>.
 Access date November 17, 2003.
Mensetsu/Naitei Q&A.
 <http://www.t3.rim.or.jp/~neco/menu/question/question04.html>.
 Access date November 18, 2003.
                                                                       Shibayama 10




Ms. Tamari‟s Airline Shuushoku Kouza.<http://sst.opendoor.co.jp/juken/index>.Access
 date November 17, 2003.
Recruit Fashion. <http://www4.recruitnavi.com/K2/QUESTION/SSD10110.htm>.
 Access date December 2, 2003.
Recruit Fashion Laboratory.<http://www.blueplanets.com/recruit/faq/faq2.html>.
 Access date November 18, 2003.
Shuushoku Daisakusen+Daigaku Daisakusen.
<http://www/so-net.ne.jp/university/recruit/>.Access date November 18, 2003.
Yoshimura Corporation.Vightex Ladies Order Suits.
 <http://www.vightex.com/ladies/index.html>.
 Access date December 2, 2003.




APPENDIX A


   Questionnaire
① Do you think women should wear a skirt instead of pants in a formal event (e.g.
    weddings and funerals)?
        a. yes
        b. no


② Do you think people should wear suits to a job interview?
        a. yes
        b. no


③ When you see a woman wearing a suit (skirt style), what kind of impression do you
    receive? (Answers may be more than one.)
        a. feminine               b. not feminine
        c. passive                d. active
        e. elegant                f. attractive
        g. assertive
        h. etc. _____________________


④ When you see a woman wearing a suit (pants style), what kind of impression do you
    receive? (Answers may be more than one.)
        a. feminine               b. not feminine
                                                                              Shibayama 11




        c. passive                    d. active
        e. elegant                    f. attractive
        g. assertive
        h. etc. _____________________


⑤-1. If you answered “a. yes” to ②, do you think it is better for women to wear a suit
     in a skirt style or a pants style?
        a. skirt style
        b. pants style
        c. does not matter


        ⑤-2. For those who answered a. or b, why? (Answers may be more than one.)
        (If you work, please choose from b.- h.)
                             a. It is what everyone else wears, and it is assuring.
                             b. It looks like you can do good work.
                             c. It makes you look smart.
                             d. It is feminine.
                             e. It is fashionable.
                             f. It makes you look assertive.
                             g. It is elegant.
                   h. etc. __________________________________________________________


                   ________________________________________________________________


        ⑤-3. For those who answered c, why?
                   a. The impression you make does not change whether you choose the
                     skirt style or the pants style.
                   b. The idea that women should wear a skirt in a formal event is out of
                     date.


⑥-1. If you answered “a. yes” for ②, what color do you think is the best?
        a. navy                       b. gray
        c. black                      d. beige
        e. etc. ___________________________


        ⑥-2. What is your reason for choosing that color?
                                                                 Shibayama 12




(If you work, please choose from b.-h.)
                 a. It is what everyone else wears, and it is assuring.
                 b. It looks like you can do good work.
                 c. It makes you look smart.
                 d. It is feminine.
                 e. It is fashionable.
                 f. It makes you look assertive.
                 g. It is elegant.
                 h.                                                       etc.
__________________________________________________________


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