If you're trying to land a job, it's much better to explain why you're the perfect candidate in person than in an email, a new study suggests. And it's got nothing to do with power suits—it's all about your voice. Employers are more likely to rate people as intelligent if they hear their pitch than if they read it, say researchers at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. In their experiments, the researchers had students prepare videotaped pitches for their dream companies. Evaluators rated the applicants more highly if they listened to the audio rather than reading the same words in a transcript, the researchers write at phys.org. Watching the video didn't seem to affect the scores at all.
"In addition to communicating the contents of one's mind, like specific thoughts and beliefs, a person's speech conveys their fundamental capacity to think—the capacity for reasoning, thoughtfulness and intellect," says lead researcher Nicholas Epley. In the tests, "intellect was conveyed primarily through voice," perhaps through subtle variances in pitch and cadence, writes Wray Herbert at the Huffington Post. He thinks it backs up that age-old advice about the importance of wrangling face time with a potential boss. Or as a post at Counsel & Heal puts it, "work on your voice to get your dream job." (In other voice research, a study finds that lousy singers can improve—by singing more.)