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Resume Surgeon > Blog > Can Your Job Interview Tone Hinder Your Employment Chances?


job interview tone

We’ve heard it many times before – body language is crucial during a job interview.

And rightly so – crossing your arms, looking away from the employer for long periods of time and yawning are all signs that you are not enjoying the interview process and that you don’t want to be there. And this body language not only demonstrates to an employer that you are bored, but it can demonstrate to them that you don’t really want the job. And as most employers have hundreds of candidates to choose from this can certainly damage your chances of being offered a role.

A recent survey of hiring managers revealed that 67% of them would be less likely to hire a candidate if the candidate couldn’t maintain eye contact during a job interview. Bad posture, lack of smiling and using too many hand gestures were all other reasons why an employer might reconsider hiring a candidate or inviting them for a second interview.

But although it’s fairly obvious that bad body language can land you in a sticky situation during a job interview, not many people focus on their job interview tone – which can be just as important when it comes to winning an employer over.

Tone of voice is hugely important because it can indicate to an employer how enthusiastic you are about the job and the industry or, on the other hand, how unenthusiastic you are about it! As many people don’t think about this it’s the one area that receives less practice before an interview.

How Can Tone Hinder Your Employment Chances?

• If you have a monotonous tone throughout the interview and don’t change it when you are asked questions, then it can suggest you are not engaged in the conversation and that you aren’t interested in what the employer is talking about.

• Having a monotonous tone can also suggest that you are not interested in impressing the employer or in showing them how much you want the job. When you attend an interview you are more than likely going to be faced with lots of competition and that competition could share a similar resume template and key skills to you. So it becomes crucial to make an application stand out from the crowd – and showing enthusiasm and eagerness to win the role is one way you can do this. But if your tone remains monotone or you don’t show excitement during the interview it can have the opposite effect and actually make an employer switch off and move on to the next candidate.

• An aggressive or defensive tone can hinder employment chances for a number of reasons. Firstly it can indicate that you haven’t done much preparation for the interview – after all, the main reason you might be aggressive in response to a question is because you don’t have the knowledge to answer it correctly. It can also indicate to an employer that you are not that great with people and being defensive in an interview will make it very difficult to build rapport with a job interviewer. Building rapport is essential if you want to make an impression and if you want the interviewer to remember you.

• A passive tone (i.e. not really responding to different questions or subjects covered) will show an employer that you are not listening to them and not really thinking about your job interview answers – it may even indicate you’re bored.

• If you rush your interview answers and speak very quickly then it won’t allow the employer much opportunity to think about your responses and it will also show you are nervous.

Tone to Use:

So what tone of voice should you use? Well, it should be varied, just like it would be if you were having a conversation with a friend. Increasing your pitch, increasing and decreasing your volume and speaking at a reasonable pace are all techniques to try when you are speaking to an employer. Raising your pitch when you are told something at interview will show you are interested in the conversation, lowering your volume will show you are thinking about the questions you have been asked and speaking at a reasonable pace will demonstrate that you are in control and that you are confident.

Tips to Improve Your Tone:

• Practice your job interview answers. Practicing your responses to job interview questions will really help you to work on tone as the more practice you do, the less surprised or caught off guard you’ll be in the interview. If you are put on the spot during a job interview it can cause your tone to change and become less controlled which could suggest you are nervous. Whilst this isn’t necessarily a bad trait, it’s better to be in control and confident during a job interview so practice your responses regularly.

• Ask a friend. Asking a friend to play the role of a job interviewer can be very helpful when it comes to job interview preparation. If your friend plays the role of the employer, it can give you the opportunity to practice speaking to them and practice your job interview tone. Ask your friend for feedback on your interview – were there any points that you sounded angry or confused in? Did your tone suggest you were bored at certain parts of the interview? And was your tone exciting enough to keep their attention during the interview? If there is some negative feedback it will give you an opportunity to work on this and improve before your actual interview.

• Record your voice. Recording your voice when you are practicing your job interview answers will help you to improve your overall tone because you can check through your answers and identify parts of the interview that need improving.


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