Interviews: Appearance and Paralinguistic Matter Too!


Interviews are an important part of the screening process for job hunting. As personality is valued more than experience and skills for new graduates in Japanese job hunting, interviews should be handled accordingly to the criteria of which the applicant is judged by.

This article will explain that appearance and how one speaks shapes the impression of the interview.

What to be careful of during interviews


According to Mehrabian’s theory, there are four elements that discerns one’s impression.

The first element

Appearance, clothes, facial expression

Second element

Attitude, posture, gesture

Third element

How one speaks, volume, intonation

The fourth wall


This theory explains that the words that are spoken merely makes up of 7% of how someone feels about you in spoken communications. In other words, you are judged by your appearance and paralinguistic elements, and this theory can be applied when thinking about interviews. Therefore, although international students have a disadvantage when it comes to language, you should not worry too much, as how you speak and facial expression are much more important in an interview.

What to be careful of

First of all, appearance. By appearance, it does not mean your face. It is how you present yourself, hairstyle and “smile” . When entering the room, always smile. When answering questions, speak confidently and do not forget to keep smiling. There is no need to worry about whether your “Japanese may sound strange”. What is important to obtaining a positive impression is to be confident and to speak clear.

Next is your facial expression. For example, saying “gambarimasu” seriously and saying the same phrase without any expression will make a big difference. In addition, even if you were to make a mistake during the interview, try not to show your emotions. In order to prevent this, try practicing with a video or with someone and know how your facial expression is during interviews.

Lastly, paralinguistic characteristic. Speak slow with a clear loud voice. Speaking in a small voice gives an impression that you are confident. Same goes with speaking too fast. Speaking slowly enables your message to be conveyed, and it sounds like you have confidence. Try to be calm and speak slowly during interviews.


Contrary to the belief that you will be mainly judged by WHAT you say, please keep in mind that HOW you say it is also an important criteria of evaluation. This includes your attitude towards job hunting, how you speak, and facial expressions.

This does not mean that you do not practice WHAT you say, so please practice that too. This article was to inform you that appearance is often overlooked but is just as important and conveys many messages during the interview.

投稿者:NSA Staff