Have you ever thought 'you don't mean that', or 'you don't sound interested'? This is usually when something has been said to us and the tone of voice doesn't match what was said. This is known as voice inflection, and it reflects tone and pitch.
During an interview we should make every effort to ensure we focus on sounding authentic. When you’re practising ahead of the interview, think about the speed at which you talk: try and keep it not too fast, not too slow. We can also use the speed of our voice to accentuate how we feel. For example, it’s natural to speak faster when we’re enthusiastic or excited about something. We can slow down when we’re trying to convey a point clearly.
Likewise, the pitch of our voice conveys messages, too. A monotone voice isn’t easy to engage with. We have thirty notes in our vocal range. We should practise our tone and pitch using a range of these notes to emphasise important messages and to show interest, enthusiasm, excitement and seriousness.
This may sound crazy. You may be thinking, am I really going to change my voice for an interview? But, a little inflection here and there – practised beforehand, really can make a difference.
Eye contact is another of our tools of communication. It’s tricky if you’re feeling nervous, but direct eye contact with your interviewer conveys confidence. Don’t overdo it, but certainly when you shake hands at the start of the interview, or enter and say hello, make sure you smile warmly at them and look them straight in the eye.
Check your body language, too. Our facial expression, levels of fidgeting, hand gestures, and the way we carry ourselves all also convey meaning. If you’re prone to fidgeting, have something to hold – a pen and pad perhaps – in the interview. Think about smiling before you walk in, and trying not to dart your eyes around the room. Focus on the interviewer and try and remain reasonably still.
Of course, we are who we are, and we can’t magically transform into someone else just for interviews. But at least being aware of how we come across is a good way to think before a job interview. We can all improve the way we communicate and practising before the interview, taking the above points on board, may help us communicate that bit more effectively at a time when it matters.