Hearing loss, especially age-related hearing loss, is a common condition that affects many job seekers. Here are some strategies that will help you to better manage the situation and improve your job interview chances.
Strategies to tackle phone interviews
1. Ask for a written interview instead – employers may conduct a telephone interview to shortlist suitable candidates for a face-to-face interview. If you have difficulty with telephone interviews due to hearing loss, you should be open about your hearing loss and request a written interview by email. Employers have an obligation to make reasonable adjustments.
2. Use a telephone aid – there are plenty of devices which can amplify sound to a level which will allow you to hear the other person on the line. These are called ALDs (or assistive listening devices) and for a job interview by telephone, an external amplifier or extra loud phone will do the job. You may also find it useful to conduct the interview in a quiet room where you can focus on listening to the interviewer and not be disturbed by background noises.
3. Prepare responses – remember the employer is interested in you as a person and your experiences. Do take the time to sit down and think about who you are and what you’ve achieved. When you’ve thought through how you can add value to a specific employer, you’ll be able to easily add examples in the answers you provide.
4. Conduct a mock interview – if you haven’t had a telephone interview for a while or you’re looking to try a new telephone amplifier, a mock interview is often the answer. The interviewer can be a friend, family member or interview coach and they can ensure you are ready for the real deal.
Strategies to tackle face-to-face interviews:
5. Position yourself – if you’re in a job interview and find it hard to hear the other person, consider these strategies. Move closer and position yourself so that you’re facing the interviewer. Watch the speaker’s face, lips and gestures for clues as to what they’re saying.
6. Fill in words – don’t strain to hear every word. People with normal hearing miss words during an interview as well and ‘fill in’ the missing words to understand the concept. You should adopt the same strategy.
7. Use a hearing aid – hearing aids are small micro-engineered computers that can amplify external sound to a suitable level. In recent years, hearing healthcare professionals have seen large changes, not just in what hearing devices can do, but in how they are worn. These changes can be attributed to a reduction in the size of components, increased durability and cosmetic concerns on the part of the wearer. In most cases, the hearing aid will not be visible, so any concerns about cosmetic appearance are unjustifiable.
8. Think about your body language – your verbal content only provides 7% of the message the interviewer is receiving from you. Therefore, both your body language (55% of the message) and the way you speak, such as voice tone (38%) are more important than the actual words you use in your job interview answers! The best way to be aware of your interview body language is to practise in front of a mirror. Also, pay attention to the interviewer’s body language. You ideally want the interviewer to be doing the same things you are, like maintaining eye contact, nodding, smiling and leaning forward.
9. Bring a note pad – you don’t want piles of notes but a few bullet points can help you focus on saying the things that you want to talk about. You can prepare a couple of questions to ask the interviewer at the end of the interview.
10. Control your nerves – take two deep breaths before you start; this will help you to slow down when you start to speak and create a more confident first impression. Pausing also gives you time to collect your thoughts and you’ll be less likely to lose track of what you’re saying.
Job interview mistakes:
Hearing loss is a common condition and you should disclose your condition to the interviewer to avoid unexpected concerns and misconceptions. Employers have a responsibility to make reasonable adjustments for interviews and employees. People who suffer from hearing loss without disclosing their condition or without taking steps to improve the situation could be seen as difficult to work with by their co-workers or by their managers.