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Asked by Andrew on November 20, 2014

I have a very low tone voice. I will get a call from a recruiter who right as I answer will ask if I just got up out of bed. The answer is no, this is just who I am and I am speaking to you in my normal tone. If somebody asks, "Are you interested?" I will say, "Yes absolutely!" But to them it may not sound convincing. I started to tell my interviewers about this during an interview just to let them know that this is who I am. You think mentioning this is doing more harm than good?

Answered by Desiree, Hiring Expert at Hewlett-Packard, on December 19, 2014

Hello! I completely understand what you are referring to. I have had encounter a few situations similar to yours and would like to share what was done upfront.
Set the tone. Introduce yourself and politely ask if they can listen to you properly. Apologize if there’s any inconvenient or difficulties with the communication and show concern on making sure that you can be heard clearly before starting the interview. Also, kindly ask if there is a need to adjust your tone of voice and take that opportunity to explain your situation.
By showing your concern instead of sharing your previous experience, you will make this interview about you and the current interviewer and nothing else.
Hope this helps and good luck on your searches!

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Answered by Dana, Hiring Expert at ManpowerGroup, on December 4, 2014

I have interviewed candidates in the past with a similar concern, and I think there are a couple of things you can do to help your chances of being perceived as interested, enthusiastic, and engaged. I agree with the previous respondent that it’s always a good idea to ask the recruiter or hiring manager if they can hear you clearly, and to make sure you only take these calls in a peaceful, uninterrupted environment with absolutely no background noise.

I would also make a conscious effort to smile on the phone, and to maybe speak more loudly than usual. It feels a little bizarre at first, because they can’t obviously see you smiling, but when you physically smile as you’re speaking it can change the tone of your voice ever so slightly, and the other person may notice a genuine difference. It’s a secret most customer service experts know about, and many recruiters smile on the phone, too.

I have also heard of candidates briefly jumping up and down before a call, waving their arms around, or doing some silly vocal exercises to bring excitement and energy into their voice before beginning an interview. Again, it sounds sort of odd, but I have heard from candidates that this kind of activity can help! You may find other examples online.

If you start to notice that the interviewer’s interest is waning, or they seem to doubt your level of commitment to the application process, I would try to keep things relaxed and positive. Strive to be personable, responsive, and cheerful. Tell them how much you appreciate the chance to have this conversation, and express how much you look forward to next steps in the process!

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Answered by Cassandra, Hiring Expert at Verizon, on December 19, 2014

In reading your dilemma I see the issue of tone but I'm wondering about your use of inflection during the interviews. Though the tone of your voice is low does it convey excitement, enthusiasm or inquisitiveness? All of those verbal emotions can be achieved effectively through use of inflections when speaking. Today, the phone interview is the industry standard and it's necessary to put your best you on display during the call so that you can get to the next round of interviews. I think it's important to make an extra effort to convey the right tone (interested/engaged and excited) when responding to interviewer questions since we are trying to learn about who you are and if you're a fit for the role and company with an opportunity.
You've asked the question whether mentioning your tone issue does more harm than good. I think it can be great to talk about the issue in an interview if you provide and demonstrate examples of how you've improved the situation. Of the many skills that interviewers screen for, the ability to recognize and then embark on change is important and encouraged. If you have changed the tone of your voice then I encourage you to keep working at it and potentially work with a career coach to assist you with how to change the way you sound, if necessary. Good luck on your next interview!

  

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