Having an accent does not necessarily mean that there will be less job opportunities available to you or that you may miss out on a promotion at work. Your ability to respond to the interviewers questions, and convey your knowledge and abilities clearly, is more important that the existence of an accent. However, if you have a strong accent and the interviewer has difficulty understanding your responses, it may be time to explore your options.
An experienced and professional recruiter/interviewer will know not to let an accent get in the way of a hiring decision, however sometimes subtle emotions can come into play, and they may make a difference on the persons judgement.
You might think that an individual should be hired on the basis of their qualifications and experience only and certainly that may well be the case for certain jobs. However, we only need to refer to research carried out where more than 350 graduate employers from a range of industries were asked about the most important selection criteria they use when recruiting. Employers were presented with a list of ten common skills and personal attributes and were asked to select their top three. The most common quality nominated by employers was interpersonal/communication skills, with nearly 75 per cent of employers rating this as one of their most important selection criteria.
Therefore the ability to communicate effectively, both in spoken and written English is essential in the Australian workplace.
If you find that your accent is hindering you from effectively communicating with others, there are some things you can do to improve your chances at a job interview.
Firstly, a job interview is stressful enough so try to relax because an accent is not a negative thing, it is part of who you are, your identity. When you are in an interview try to speak slowly and use good English grammar.
Secondly, consider enrolling in an Accent reduction course which will help to identify your problem areas and learn strategies to improve them. An experienced accent coach will provide the right guidance and tips to help you improve the clarity of your speech.
Mr Chua found that after several unsuccessful interviews it was time to do something about it. He enrolled in a accent reduction course for job interviews to help him improve his spoken skills for his upcoming interview. Mid way through his course he went for an interview and afterwards he sent us his comments – “thank you for your help with my interview practice. My job application has been successful and I start work next week!”
So remember, if you have a job interview coming up, get some professional help to make sure you succeed at your next interview.