The voice is undoubtedly a powerful tool in our professional armoury. Indeed, I recently wrote an article about how leaders use their voice to portray different messages at different times by altering the pitch, the cadence and so on.
Being able to master your voice, therefore, is extremely valuable. A recent study suggests however that our voice may be a lot more revealing than we like to think. It’s fairly well known that we judge someone very quickly based upon various aspects of their appearance, manner and so on. The study suggests however that the key to making a good impression, including in a job interview, is the kind of voice you have.
The study, led by researchers from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, revealed that candidates were much more likely to be hired in a recruitment scenario when their CV or job pitch, was read out to them than when they read it on a piece of paper. Candidates were regarded as more thoughtful, intelligent and competent when their skills were read verbally to them, even when the words were exactly the same as those written on their CV.
The Power of Words
Interestingly, when video images were added to the audio recording, this didn’t seem to influence matters any more than the audio on its own.
"In addition to communicating the contents of one’s mind, like specific thoughts and beliefs, a person’s speech conveys their fundamental capacity to think -- the capacity for reasoning, thoughtfulness and intellect," the authors say.
The authors conducted a number of experiments whereby potential job candidates had to prepare an elevator pitch for an employer that they would love to work for. The pitches were then both written down and recorded.
The recruiters were then asked to evaluate each pitch, with one group having access only to the written statement, the second group having access to an audio recording, and a third group seeing a video of the pitch being delivered.
The results provide a telling insight into the power of words to persuade people. The recruiters who listened to the pitch rated those individuals as more competent, thoughtful and intelligent than the recruiters who read the exact same pitch. Indeed, it emerged that not only did the recruiters find these people more capable, but they also rated them as more likeable, and were consequently much more likely to hire them.
This finding was replicated in a second experiment whereby recruiters listened to trained actors read out the pitches written by the prospective candidates. Once again, when the pitches were heard rather than read, they were regarded as more persuasive.
What’s more, this was even the case amongst professional recruiters whose very job it is to weed out the wheat from the chaff. Even they were more likely to hire the candidate whose pitch they had heard rather than read.
"When conveying intelligence, it’s important for one’s voice to be heard -- literally," the authors conclude.
So if you want to land that dream job, maybe you should try and engineer a scenario where you can deliver your pitch verbally.
Have you ever changed your mind about an applicant when they applied verbally? Your thoughts and comments below please...