How Science Says You Can Ace a Job Interview

job interview techniques

What kinds of techniques do you employ when in a job interview? From the clothes we wear, to how easy our names are to pronounce, there are many factors for success that are considered when being interviewed. But science says that our voice is something that we really need to pay attention to.

New research has found that a person’s intellect, amiability and thoughtfulness is conveyed and perceived through their voice, rather than through text.

The study entitled, The Sound of Intellect: Speech Reveals a Thoughtful Mind, Increasing a Job Candidate’s Appeal, by Juliana Schroeder and Nicholas Epley, conducted experiments where a group of MBS students composed both verbal and written elevator pitches to hypothetical employers.

The results were unanimous across the experiments: from video to transcripts – evaluators – which included practicing recruiters – who listened to job pitches were consistently more interested in hiring the candidates than were evaluators who read identical transcriptions. Voice impressed evaluators so much so, that a more positive impression of candidates was formed, and were rated as more likeable. It was believed that candidates had more intellect, were more competent, thoughtful, and intelligent when they listened to the pitches.

“Adding a human voice—whether male or female—to written pitches made job candidates seem to have greater intellect, and increased reported interest in hiring the candidates,” reported the authors.

Why were the results so? Well, it was identified that pitch variance suggested that participants had more active and lively mind. A varied pitch can show that someone is enthusiastic, interested and actively deliberates, whereas a monotone voice suggests a less actively engaged mind. For example, when it comes to brands projecting sincerity, one study showed that when it comes to brand messaging, changing tone resonates with perceptions of brand sincerity.

Another interesting hint: an array of vocal styles could be employed to portray various traits including attractiveness, confidence, dominance, and intelligence, according to one study. For men, it was found that to best sound attractive a slow and low pitch could be adopted. This was also the case for women, but with the addition of a more hoarse voice. Men could be perceived as intelligent and confident by a loud raised tone, and women could speak louder and faster, although in the study the male voice scored higher.

Research has even discovered that power-posing can you help you interview better, too. A 2012 study showed that job seekers who initiate power poses prior to an interview, come out more successful in the end. The research found that high-power posers better maintained their composure, projected more confidence, and presented more captivating and enthusiastic speeches, which were rated higher by their evaluators, compared to those who prepared with contractive poses. The lesson here is the mind and body work in greater harmony than we may have ever thought: we exude what we manifest.

So when in an interview speak up, speak loud, and prepare mentally to ensure a more successful communicative style. As noted, “when conveying one’s intellect, it is important for one’s voice, quite literally, to be heard.”


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image: Marc Wathieu / Flickr CC

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