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Japanese Business Interview, Female Candidate 2012/7/13 10:13
Hello,

Ifm preparing for an interview with a Japanese firm in a conservative, but not ultraconservative, industry. My questions relate to image and presence. If it helps, Ifm 32, female, Caucasian, and live in California.

- Pantsuit or skirt suits?
- I own pantsuits and skirt suits in the following colors: black, navy, and gray (charcoal, medium, and light). I feel black may be too severe but Ifve read that itfs almost the uniform of the Japanese white-collar work force. Would navy or one of the grays be out of the question or risk a negative impact?
- Would my eyeglasses be viewed as intelligent or detracting?
- Should hair be severe (tight bun) or feminine (down or softer)?

- When sitting in a chair or on a stool, I typically keep my back straight, my hands in my lap, and my knees together at a right angle to the floor. In facing a Japanese hiring manager, will this suffice or should I make adjustments? How about crossing my legs at the knee for a change of position?
- Ifve read that the Japanese donft talk with their hands. Ifm not a hand-talker but I do gesture. Should I remain conscious of this?
- In general, is it better to be concise but thorough with my answers or frame my replies more conversationally?
- Is it better to keep a smile pasted on my face and give off a ggenkih vibe or stick to my more natural composure and alertness with an occasional smile and nod?
- Is eye contact still a no-no?

I realize that these questions may sound silly. I'm satisfied with and confident about the oral component of my interview. I want to feel equally confident about my ability to give the nonverbal cues that I can adapt as an American female to the Japanese way of doing things without compromising who I am. I want to give the very best positive impression that I can and score points from the moment I meet this person.

I may have more questions to follow up. Thanks to anyone who take the time to reply.
by BB (guest)  

Re: Japanese Business Interview, Female Candidate 2012/7/13 16:54
BB,

You seem to be a reasonable person. Just be yourself and you'll be fine.

But if you were to have a choice, meaning you'd look great in either, perhaps a skirt suit would be "safer" than pants.

Black is more like a fad among younger office workers. Suit shops even insist you wear navy for recruit scenes, although the navy they sell looks almost black just because "younger people perfer it that way," they say. The conservative fathers often insist that black is too severe.

Among the Japanese, crossing legs is considered as rude, so you might want to stay away from that style, although foreigners are often excused.

Eye contact was never a "no-no" in job interviews, at least since I was 18 some 30 odd years ago. You are expected to try to look at the eyes when speaking to a person you want to persuade hiring you.

By the way, I don't know if this applies to you, but in the recent years where many college graduates are suffering unemployment, recruit specialists keep saying that it's best to act naturally and just be the wonderful self you already are.

Recruiters aren't interested in how well you can perform your ready-made scenerio. They are more interested in how well you may be able to improvise when facing trouble at your workplace, or how well you can get along with others in your industry.

So being concise or conversational or smiling or alert, that just all has to do with what kind of a professional and friendly colleage they are seeking for.

Good luck.
by Uco (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Japanese Business Interview, Female Candidate 2012/7/14 22:05
I own pantsuits and skirt suits in the following colors: black, navy, and gray (charcoal, medium, and light). I feel black may be too severe but Ifve read that itfs almost the uniform of the Japanese white-collar work force. Would navy or one of the grays be out of the question or risk a negative impact?

Gray would be suitable. Black suits and ties are reserved for funerals. Japanese salary men and office ladies normally wear dark gray suits not black.
by Donaldl rate this post as useful

Re: Japanese Business Interview, Female Candidate 2012/7/15 01:38
I am going to agree with Uco about going with skirt suit. Japan is slowly changing, but skirts are still the norm for females. Among my Japanese female college instructors, I've only had one that wears slacks. She even jokingly commented that one of the reasons she came to America was so she didn't have to wear skirts on a daily basis.

Uco didn't mention the hair style, but I think more professional hairstyles (like the bun) would come across better due to your age. I think a younger woman might be able to get away with her hair down, but from what I've seen, I'm fairly sure most keep it secured. I don't mean that in a negative way at all - the Japanese are an age oriented society and with age comes a sort of conservative approach to how you dress and act.

All-in-all, I think you should take Uco's advice on acting naturally.
by RaikouNeko rate this post as useful

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