According to a 2005 survey conducted by The Royal National Institute for Deaf People, the estimated number of people hard of hearing in the UK is 9 million, of which, 2.5 million are between the ages of 16 to 60 years which also represents a large part of the job market. If you do suffer from hearing loss, attending job interview might seem daunting.
Here are some strategies, which will help you to better manage the situation and to improve job interview chances. We have divided these into telephone based interview tips and face to face interview tips, because you could be faced with both as part of the recruitment process.
Strategies to tackle phone interviews:
1. Ask for a written interview instead – employers will often conduct a telephone interview to short list 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. Choose the right environment – it is important that you are able to concentrate on hearing the interviewer, so you will need to choose the right environment. First consider where the interview can take place. Naturally, a quiet environment is preferred to a noisy environment and a landline has better reception and sound amplification than a mobile phone.
3. 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.
4. Take a mock interview – if you haven’t had a telephone interview for a while or you are 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 interview.
Strategies to tackle face to face interviews:
5. Position yourself accordingly – if you find yourself in a job interview and find it hard to hear the other person, consider these strategies. Move closer and position yourself so that you are facing the interviewer. Ensure that the room is well lit and you can see the interviewer clearly. Watch the speaker’s face, lips and gestures for clues as to what’s being said.
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.
8. Think about your body language – this compliments the words you say. The best way to be aware of your interview body language is to practice 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.
Job Interview mistakes to avoid:
Hearing loss is a common condition which affects over 9 million people in the UK alone, 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, a situation you can avoid easily.
Article by hearing aid seller, Hearing Direct. If you wish to find out more about hearing loss you can read our guide to hearing loss. If you have any concerns about your hearing or you suspect you might be suffering from hearing loss, you should book an appointment with your local GP for a basic hearing test.