How You Speak Matters Most During Job Interviews
Steel yourself before a job interview — research shows nervous, slow-talkers tend to not get the gig.
Natalie has been writing professionally for about 6 years. After graduating from Ithaca College with a degree in Feature Writing, she snagged a job at PCMag.com where she had the opportunity to review all the latest consumer gadgets. Since then she has become a writer for hire, freelancing for various websites. In her spare time, you may find her riding her motorcycle, reading YA novels, hiking, or playing video games. Follow her on Twitter: @nat_schumaker
Interviews allow an organization to add a face — a voice — to a potential candidate. Department heads can take a look at you and assess whether or not you would fit in. The resume gets you through the door, but your personality and presentation determine whether or not you get the gig. It's nerve-wracking, isn't it? But researchers find that anxious people don't get hired.
Amanda Feiler and Deborah Powell of the University of Guelph in Canada reported their findings in the Journal of Business and Psychology, where they looked at what tics turn companies off from a nervous, but otherwise qualified, candidate.
To assess how these traits manifested themselves in a real-ish scenario, they got together 125 undergraduate students to participate in a mock job interview. The researchers videotaped the sessions, which were then rated by 18 people who gauged the interviewees' levels of anxiety and performance.
The interviewees often expressed their anxiousness through certain tics, like adjusting clothing, fidgeting, or averting their gaze. But what seemed to turn off the raters most was the speed at which the interviewee spoke. A EurekAlert! press release wrote: “The fewer words per minute people speak, the more nervous they are perceived to be.”
This slowed speech made raters assess the job candidates as less assertive and exuding less warmth.
Feiler offered this advice in a press release:
"Overall, the results indicated that interviewees should focus less on their nervous tics and more on the broader impressions that they convey. Anxious interviewees may want to focus on how assertive and interpersonally warm they appear to interviewers."
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The ability to speak clearly, succinctly, and powerfully is easier than you think
The ability to communicate effectively can make or break a person's assessment of your intelligence, competence, and authenticity.
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When we first set the Dark Horse Project in motion, fulfillment was the last thing on our minds. We were hoping to uncover specific and possibly idiosyncratic study methods, learning techniques, and rehearsal regimes that dark horses used to attain excellence. Our training made us resistant to ambiguous variables that were difficult to quantify, and personal fulfillment seemed downright foggy. But our training also taught us never to ignore the evidence, no matter how much it violated our expectations.
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