Stutterers Face Challenges in Job Interviews
People who stutter may be
harder workers because they have to compensate for their
disability, speech experts say.
That’s good news for employers.
“People who stutter often have a temperament that’s
perfectionist because many have to work tirelessly to gain
fluency,” said Barry Guitar, Ph.D., professor of speech-language
pathology at University of Vermont. Dr. Guitar has dealt with
his own stuttering on the job.
If employers dismiss candidates for employment because of
a speech impediment, they may be losing an opportunity to hire
a hard-working, dedicated employee.
“It’s important for employers to look beyond the
disfluencies to see the underlying qualities of the applicant,” adds
Pat Garahan of San Diego, who has been on both sides of the
fence as an employer and as a job candidate/interviewee who
stutters. “Listen to what applicants say, rather than
how they say it.”
The research is conclusive that people who stutter perform
successfully in a range of jobs that require communication
skills, from sales to medicine to public relations.
However, this may not be evident
during the initial interview, perhaps the most stressful
speaking situation for everyone, much less someone who stutters.
The best way to approach an employee’s stuttering is
through honest communication and by refraining from making
assumptions about job-related abilities and skills.
On the other hand, people who stutter have a responsibility
to be forthright with their employers and should be willing
to talk about how their stuttering might impact particular
areas of performance.
“Past research has shown that when you are open about
stuttering to your employer, you are far more comfortable in
the workplace,” emphasizes Jane Fraser, president of
the Stuttering Foundation of America. “If you hide your
stuttering, you not only put yourself under tremendous pressure
but also limit your effectiveness on the job.”
Stuttering: Answers for Employers,
a free brochure now in its all-new fourth edition for 2006,
has reached more than half a million employers and people
who stutter during the past six years. It’s the perfect
tool to take to a job interview because it dispels the many
myths surrounding stuttering, gives concrete facts about
the disorder, and contains tips on how to handle stuttering
in the workplace.
Readers can download Stuttering: Answers for Employers by
clicking here (PDF), call toll-free 800-992-9392, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org,
or write the Stuttering Foundation for a copy at 3100 Walnut
Grove Road, Suite 603, Memphis, TN 38111-0749.
Facts and Myths About Stuttering:
• More than 3 million Americans
• People who stutter are as intelligent and well-adjusted
as those who don’t stutter.
• Stuttering is not the result
of emotional conflict or fearfulness.
• Don’t assume that people
who stutter are prone to be nervous, anxious, fearful, or
shy. Stutterers have same full range of personality traits
• People who stutter often
have excellent communications skills. Many are very often
qualified for and interested in positions requiring them
to deal with members of the public on a daily basis.
• Stuttering varies widely in different people and varies
in the same person over different times and places. Like all
of us, they often have “good” and “bad” days
with their speech.
• For those who stutter, a
job interview is perhaps the single most difficult speaking
situation they will ever encounter and is not indicative
of how they would speak on the job.#