Your voice is more likely to get you a job than your CV

If you want to improve your chances of getting a new job, you should definitely think about sprucing up your CV and buying a new outfit. But it turns out that your time and money might be better spent at elocution lessons, because your voice is more likely to land you the gig.

Researchers at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business set up experiments to find out what effect listening to someone’s achievements had, as opposed to simply reading about them.

Professor Nicholas Epley and PhD candidate Juliana Schroeder asked a group of the University’s MBA student job seekers to create a short pitch for a company they’d like to work for. When they’d written it, they were videoed reading it.
Then a group of recruiters either read pitches, listened to the audio of them being presented, or watched and listened to the videos.

Those who heard pitches went on to rate candidates as being more intelligent, competent, and likeable, and were more likely to say they’d hire them than recruiters who only read the same pitches. (The results for audio and video were the same, suggesting that all interviews could be potentially be done over the phone in future.) (But probably won’t be.)

‘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,’ Epley says.

But it’s not only about hearing candidates’ own voices. In a further experiment, the researchers asked trained actors to read CVs aloud to some of the potential employers. Again, the ones who heard the qualifications/experience/favourite pastimes aloud were more likely to be impressed than those who simply read them.

Sounds like a win-win to me: this could keep underemployed actors in regular work and allow the rest of us to avoid job interviews and work presentations for the rest of our lives. (Julianne Moore’s not busy at the moment, right?)

Diane Shipley