How to talk to women professionally in English

You're about to have an interview in English. Your interviewer will be a woman. What are the rules for communicating with her?

Interview prep: how to talk to women professionally in English

If you aren't from an English-speaking country you may not be used to communicating with women professionally in English. Learn the rules so you don't make a mistake.

If you are a man and your interviewer is a woman, you should be extra careful about NOT contacting her before the interview.

Professional communication with women in English

Online communication rules

If you contact her online:

Greet her correctly.

Do not call her "dear."

Do not use stickers or images with hearts or flowers.

I talked about stickers already in this article about text speak, and told you not to use them.

It's especially important not to use stickers with hearts or flowers. Like these:

Interview Genie explains how to talk to women professionally in English: Don't send photos of roses
Interview Genie explains how to talk to women professionally in English: Don't use hearts: cartoon animal with heart
Interview Genie explains how to talk to women professionally in English: Don't use hearts: photo of face with heart eyes
holding heart
flowers and ring

Why no hearts or flowers?

Heart and flowers = romance and love

Why are you using symbols of romance with your interviewer, who is a professional contact? She's not your wife, your girlfriend, or your lover, so sending her hearts or flowers isn't okay.

These are all stickers men have sent me on Facebook (men I do NOT know).

You will not make a good impression on your interviewer if you send her these. Trust me, sending hearts and flowers to us when we don't know you is a bad idea.

Other rules for communicating with women professionally in English

Don't talk about appearance

Don't mention beauty or clothing or appearance to a woman who you would like to have a professional relationship with. This is what we call a "no no."

What do I mean?

Don't tell her she's beautiful or that she "has a nice smile" or that she "looks nice." Don't mention her appearance at all.

It's not professional.

Don't ask personal questions

  • Don’t ask her if she's married or if she has children.
  • Don't ask her where she lives or if she lives alone.
  • Don't ask her about her religion.
  • Don't ask her anything at all about her personal life.

I know that in some cultures you talk to your professional contacts about your family and your hobbies. Americans do too. But not when we first meet someone.

Your interviewer may be a woman

Your interviewer, whether for school admission or a job, is likely to be a woman. In America, it is very common for interviewers to be women.

Many people who work in admissions at high schools, colleges, and universities in America are women.

Many people who work in Human Resources (HR) in companies are women. It's very common for you to meet with the HR person first, before you meet with the people you would be working for or with. The interview with them is very important, because their job is to screen candidates and they will eliminate you if you don't communicate well enough.

In addition to HR and admissions, many professionals in America and other English-speaking countries are women.

American culture

It is very common in America and other English-speaking countries for women to work. If women don't usually work in your culture, you should read this article.

Be aware of the communication rules

I know that American culture is confusing if you're not American. We seem to be very friendly sometimes and not friendly other times. I think some of the men who contact me online professionally simply don't realize that they are being impolite or flirtatious.

Remember that if you're about to interview, your interviewer has a lot of power.

You want to impress him OR her. If your interviewer is a woman, try to remember these rules so you make a good impression.

If you need more practice talking to women professionally in English before your interview, email me at jennifer@interviewgenie.com and we can work on your interview skills.