Your Mouth Gets Hired
By Coach Colle Davis
Diversity is the Holy Grail, the corporate goal, the hot topic and the true religion of organizations today.
With strong leadership and support, money, training, a company has the girders in place to create a diverse workforce. Yes, we need a broad array of people with different life skills to maximize the value and productivity of everyone involved. But wait, there is a hidden component that stops this process, and nobody wants to talk about it.
When we – the Royal We – meets a new person on the phone or in person, we judge them within seconds. This instant snap-shot process is not conscious, it is our lizard brain protecting us by sorting for people who are like us or for those who fit safely into our surroundings. This baked-in bias is extremely difficult to work around, it is prevalent and persistent and overcoming judgement requires special training to reduce.
What comes ‘out of our mouth’ reveals who we are. Our language, tonality, pacing, and the use of our language are the oral DNA markers of our place in society. Stop and think of the person you prefer not to listen to, and now, flip the scenario and think of the person you give the greatest credence to in a conversation. This is not an ideal picture of diversity.
The toughest hurdle to overcome by a person being interviewed for a job is becoming conscious of their speaking regarding enunciation, vocabulary choices, tenor and pace. In other words, learning to tame and train their tongue. If a job candidate does not meet the caliber of the interviewer at an educated and cultured level, the chances of landing a job above the basic entry-level are slim.
What is the solution for those who are language deficient?
- Learn to speak at a higher level by learning pacing, tonal qualities of the educated and cultured people in society by reducing their accents, learning effective body-language, and active listening skills.
- Be prepared for hard work, frustration, and amazing results. The phrase ‘fake it till you make it’ is based on hard cold experience by those who have suffered battling against biases to elevate their communication skills.
What is the solution for the interviewer?
- Take a few moments before the interview to review the person’s credentials, and in the greeting, stop to compliment the person on some facet of their resume. Complimenting a person reduces bias by forming an agreed-to connection to their work.
- Now comes the hard part for an interviewer, listening through the candidate’s language to hear them without prejudice.
- Be aware of a new bias related to listening without judgement, age. Younger employees hear through the noise of the dialect easier than older people. There is no condemnation here; we are talking about bias and hearing/seeing it to temper its impact.
- Conducting phone interviews makes it difficult to control one’s bias. It takes practice for an interviewer to ask their candidate to be honest, ask them to slow down, provide them answers in a different way, or giving them more time to wander around the answer.
Diversity is much harder to achieve than you imagine. It requires patience, care, good listening skills, a recognition of your biases, and support from your organization.
- Some people are not good for your organization under any circumstances, and yet they can talk like they belong.
- Give some eager up-and-comers who are less polished the opportunity to show their value and humor to your group.
- These hard charges with the rough edges often make great employees. Plus, you can train them to talk like you.
For more tips and tricks for dealing with people of all ages, contact me. Colle Davis firstname.lastname@example.org 804 467-1536 (EST). Your first session is FREE. If you find value in your time with me, I offer additional support in your career advancement or during your career transition. This risk-free offer for refining your skills is held in a relaxed setting in Richmond, Virginia, with a cup of coffee, from Colle Davis, an Executive Coach with a thirty-year track record of success. Virtual sessions are also available.