Could your Accent Stop you From Getting your Dream Job?
Everyone knows that an employer cannot discriminate because of race, ethnicity or national origin. However, can you be discriminated against on the basis of your accent?
According to the law, the answer is maybe. Hiring decisions cannot be based on accent if the accent does not impact the employee’s ability to be understood. However, if a job requires clear communication, an employer can use accent as a reason not to hire or promote an employee.
The Reality of Accents in Hiring Practices
In a Monster.com story, Dianne Markley, a professor at the University of North Texas at Denton says, “Sometimes an accent leads to the perception that the person can’t perform this job.” Markley’s graduate research looked at how accents affect the hiring process. She found out that even regional American accents can have an effect on an employer’s decision to hire. Her research showed that potential employees who have accents that are identified with a certain region may end up facing discrimination during the hiring process. Her research suggested that those accents that are less identifiable are rated higher.
According to Victor Arias, the comanaging partner of the diversity practice at executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles, “A professional tries not to let an accent get in the way of hiring decisions. But subtle emotions can come into play and they may make a difference. Clearly, people make judgments based on accents.” Arias said that although companies usually understand how important diversity is, he does not know any company that looks at and addresses how a person’s accent affects hiring decisions.
How To Prepare for an Interview When You’re Worried About Your Accent
It is important to use strategies such as speaking slowly and using good grammar when interviewing. Carlos Soto, president of the National Hispanic Corporate Council also said, “Prepare more than anyone else. Practice your answers in English. An accent shouldn’t matter, but it does. That’s life.”
If you want to gain confidence in your communication skills and ensure that your accent doesn’t play a role in your professional growth, call or contact Carolina Speech Services today to learn about our accent modification programs. (704) 845-1605