​ If there is one piece of advice that I could give to both candidates and clients it would be to consider American Poet William Carlos Williams’ quote “It is not what you say that matters but the manner in which you say it”

In recent months I have become increasingly aware that there is a sentence repeatedly passing the lips of my colleagues to their great frustration: “You don’t sound very keen!”

Communication is about content and delivery.

All too often I speak with clients who are talking me through a role they are recruiting for and no matter how many positive adjectives or buzz words they use or how many times they re-iterate what a great opportunity it is, if their tone is dull with no emphasis on key words and limited intonation then the job sounds boring. The same goes for a candidate giving interview feedback. Taking interview feedback should be one of the most interesting parts of my job, but when I speak with someone who tells me how the interview went and the delivery of what they are saying is monotone -almost as if it is a strain for them to speak - then it does not matter how many times they tell me they are incredibly keen as the way they are saying it leads me to believe the contrary. Sometimes candidates feel they cannot be honest and say it went well but they are not sure it will be the right opportunity for them. As a recruiter I would much rather this than hear someone sounding indifferent telling me how this would be a fantastic career move for them.

Who would you believe?

Some research even suggests that we will more readily believe a poor argument explained to us in a convincing manner than one based on sound logic but presented by someone who sounds unconvinced or uninterested. Professor Albert Mehrabian established a classic rule on the effectiveness of spoken communication. He found that where there seemed to be an inconsistency between the speaker's words, tone of voice and body language, we would tend to read their meaning in the following way:

  • 7% of meaning is in the words that are spoken

  • 38% of meaning is paralinguistic (the way that the words are said)

  • 55% of meaning is in facial expression.

Would you believe this is the MEDIA Industry?!

What is even more concerning is the industry I recruit into: Media. We all know that it doesn’t matter how many innovative ideas you have, if you can’t deliver them in a way that connects with people and relates to them in a meaningful way, you won't get results. So if I was hiring a candidate I would place far greater importance on how someone captures your attention.

Fortunately if 55% of meaning is in a facial expression then candidates are lucky that they are not giving me face to face interview feedback!