scorecardHaving a regional accent can be bad for your interviews, especially an Indian one: study
  1. Home
  2. Careers
  3. Interviewing
  4. Having a regional accent can be bad for your interviews, especially an Indian one: study

Having a regional accent can be bad for your interviews, especially an Indian one: study

Having a regional accent can be bad for your interviews, especially an Indian one: study
Careers2 min read
English isn’t the first language for a large majority of Indians. And while this certainly highlights the prevailing wonderful diversity of languages in our country, the presence of a regional accent can be a major source of anxiety for citizens hoping to land a job at international firms.

This paranoia isn’t totally unwarranted either. International studies have already shown that there is a high chance you might be discriminated against if your potential employers hear Indian, Chinese or Mexican accents in telephonic interviews, compared to British-accented candidates. And now, more research has just confirmed the same.

Analysing data from 22 individual studies comprising 3,615 participants, the research team made two significant discoveries: applicants who communicate in nonstandard language are perceived as less competent compared to their standard language-speaking counterparts, even when qualifications are identical.

Secondly, the study found that this perceived incompetence can markedly reduce the "hirability" of accented candidates, indicating a pervasive bias against nonstandard language speakers in the recruitment process. Further, South-Asian, Indian and Mexican accents were treated more negatively than other accents in the US.

Moreover, the study debunked the notion that professional human resources managers are immune to these biases, highlighting that both professionals and nonprofessionals alike exhibit similar discriminatory tendencies. Even when interviews are conducted by fellow nonstandard language speakers, the disadvantages persist, underscoring the deep-rooted nature of accent bias in hiring practices.

In light of these findings, the researchers propose practical recommendations to mitigate accent-based discrimination in personnel selection. The authors advocate for the implementation of structured interviews with predefined questions focusing solely on job-related criteria. By prioritising qualifications and suitability based on the content of responses rather than accent or language usage, organisations can foster a fairer and more inclusive selection process.

"Evaluations should be made with regard to the candidate's qualifications and suitability for the position — as demonstrated by the content of their answers, not their accent or the language they use," asserts lead author Niklas Schulte. “This could help us to reduce the negative effects of bias or misplaced judgments and ensure a fairer selection process.”

The findings of this research have been published in Applied Psychology and can be accessed here.

READ MORE ARTICLES ON




Advertisement