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interview dress

According to a survey of HR Managers, most interviewers form their opinion about a specific candidate within the first 10 minutes of an interview. And no matter how prepared you are to answer some hard-hitting questions when you sit down, that’s only half the battle. A good part of that impression is formed by more visual insights into your character: your body language, your attire, and the way that you carry yourself.

Before you head in for your next in-person interview, review these tips below to help make that first impression a positive one.

Dress your best

interview dress

Dress to impress and you’ll start the interview off on the right foot. Remember you’re not the only candidate they’re interviewing, so if you dress the part, you might set yourself a step ahead of your competition. Especially if your interview will take place abroad, dress conservatively and professionally. If you are attending an interview with the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC), men should wear a tie and suit jacket, and women should keep shoulders, knees and chest covered (pants suits, for example, are ideal). If you are interviewing within Abu Dhabi, you must have legs covered to the ankles and arms covered to the wrists to enter the ADEC offices.

Practice deep breathing

interview breath

Filler words (“um”, “like”, or “literally” to name a few) are a quick way to kill your credibility as a candidate. We insert these sounds and words into our speech to give our brain a moment to catch up to our mouth, so overuse may look like you’ve come unprepared for your interview. Instead of rushing to answer before you have a fully formed thought, take a second to breathe. A moment of silence is never a bad thing–it shows that you’re carefully considering your answer and you’ll sound much more confident. Pacing yourself and adjusting how quickly you speak is another good trick. If you don’t rush yourself through your answers, your brain will have more time to think through what you want to communicate before you commit to saying any one thing.

Do your research and be informed

interview research

This doesn’t have to be something that takes a lot of time, but you’ll make a much more impactful impression if you are able to answer questions with a more informed answer. Knowing a little something about the school you’ll be teaching at or the educational climate of the country will prove useful. Be clear, concise, and provide specific examples to demonstrate your knowledge of the school and its inner workings, and how your expertise will benefit the school in general. Doing some cultural research around your country of interest and demonstrating cultural sensitivity and flexibility are other key ways to stand out from other candidates.

Be prepared to discuss your strategies for working with English language learners, managing the classroom, assessment methods, and adapting to a new culture.

Watch what you eat

interview smile

Though this might look more like dieting advice than an interview tip, it shouldn’t be overlooked. It’s important that you show up for your interview with a fresh appearance, and fresh breath. Take two seconds before the interview to stand in front of a mirror and smile for yourself to check your teeth.

Sit up straight

interview posture

Posture is so important. Not only does sitting up straight give the impression that you’re generally interested in the position and what the interviewer is asking, but it will help keep you focused and engaged. Try for a neutral sitting position–don’t lean back because this might suggest boredom or general lack of interest. But leaning in too much can be just as problematic and may be read as aggressive. The best thing you can do is just sit up straight with your spine in a neutral position. Although it seems so simple, this neutral posture will convey a sense of confidence and credibility.

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