A sparkling CV and a can-do attitude may be the key ingredients to be hired, but a husky voice may prevent young women from bagging their dream job.
Young women with a husky voice are less likely to be hired after the final round of interview, according to a new study.
A University of Miami researcher and collaborators found that using a creaky, low pitch voice gives women a negative image, especially in the context of seeking employment.
Although previous research has suggested that vocal fry that is low in pitch and creaky sounding is associated with education and upward mobility, the new study indicates that vocal fry is actually perceived negatively, particularly in a labour market context.
The study indicates that women who speak in vocal fry are perceived as less attractive, less competent, less educated, less trustworthy, and ultimately less hirable.
The corresponding author of the study, Casey A Klofstad, said these findings suggest that perceptions of speakers based on their voices can influence hiring preferences for female job candidates.
“Our results show that the vocal fry fad is a hindrance to young women who are trying to find work,” said Klofstad.
“Lack of experience due to their younger age, a historically poor economic environment, and sex discrimination are all barriers to labour market success for this demographic. Given this context, our findings suggest that young women would be best advised to avoid using vocal fry when trying to secure employment,” said Klofsted.
Researchers recorded seven young adult females aged 19-27 years, and seven young adult males aged 20-30 years, speaking the phrase “thank you for considering me for this opportunity” in both their normal tone of voice and in vocal fry.
The pairs of recordings were then listened to by 800 study participants (400 women and 400 men). After listening to each pair of voices participants were asked to choose whether the person speaking in vocal fry or normal voice was the more educated, competent, trustworthy, and attractive of the pair.
The study participants were also asked which person they would hire.
Participants selected the speakers of the normal voices over 80 per cent of the time for all five judgements.
The results also show that while perceptions of education, competence, trustworthiness, and attractiveness each affected willingness to hire, perceptions of trust had the greatest influence.
The study suggests that job candidates who use vocal fry are not preferred particularly because they are perceived as untrustworthy.
The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE.