Stammering During an Interview

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alice 687
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Hi all,
I wondered if you could help.
I have a job interview on Monday. I have no problem preparing for it and answering practice questions, but my stammer is a real hinderence. Despite being able to control it on a daily basis with only very minor hiccups, in an interview I cannot seem to!


Any advice would be much appreciated!


Alice.
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BurstingBubbles
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(Original post by alice 687)
Hi all,
I wondered if you could help.
I have a job interview on Monday. I have no problem preparing for it and answering practice questions, but my stammer is a real hinderence. Despite being able to control it on a daily basis with only very minor hiccups, in an interview I cannot seem to!


Any advice would be much appreciated!


Alice.
Hi there,

Speech and Language Therapist here :wavey: Did you have to fill out any info on the job application where you could let them know you have a stammer e.g. under health? It might be a good idea just to let them know either before hand or at the start of the interview - not just to make sure that they don't interrupt you (which they shouldn't be doing!) but for your own confidence/reassurance. They should not be able to discriminate against you due to the Equality Act 2010 and should allow you extra time if you need it. This is not a reason for you not to get the job, especially since in day to day life you're managing it.

Remember that even people without a stammer really struggle in interviews too e.g. they might talk too fast, run out of breath for their sentence, voice may be shaky. So no interviewer is going to expect complete confidence or fluency (which doesn't exist).

It's great that you've been preparing. Do you know if you can take any notes in? If you got really stuck could you write down the word?

I'm not sure if you're asking for specific stammering advice or just general advice? But for specific stammering advice... what type of stammer you have? Is it repetition of the first sound of a word, elongating the sound, and/or blocking on the sound (where the sound doesn't come out)? My main tip would be, if you get stuck on a sound, try and think of the next sound, rather than trying to repeat the sound/word again e.g. if the word was 'because' and you were saying b, b, b - try not to start from the beginning of the word with the b sound, but think of the next sound e.g. the e sound so b, b, -ecause. rather than b, b, because - this way you move on with the word. You can also slide into the sound by making it a softer sound. Obviously it's hard to demonstrated this on here - but if you feel that you may need any further support with your stammer then do contact your GP or see if you can self-refer to your local adult Speech and Language Therapy service

Let me know if you have any questions at all!
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alice 687
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(Original post by BurstingBubbles)
Hi there,

Speech and Language Therapist here :wavey: Did you have to fill out any info on the job application where you could let them know you have a stammer e.g. under health? It might be a good idea just to let them know either before hand or at the start of the interview - not just to make sure that they don't interrupt you (which they shouldn't be doing!) but for your own confidence/reassurance. They should not be able to discriminate against you due to the Equality Act 2010 and should allow you extra time if you need it. This is not a reason for you not to get the job, especially since in day to day life you're managing it.

Remember that even people without a stammer really struggle in interviews too e.g. they might talk too fast, run out of breath for their sentence, voice may be shaky. So no interviewer is going to expect complete confidence or fluency (which doesn't exist).

It's great that you've been preparing. Do you know if you can take any notes in? If you got really stuck could you write down the word?

I'm not sure if you're asking for specific stammering advice or just general advice? But for specific stammering advice... what type of stammer you have? Is it repetition of the first sound of a word, elongating the sound, and/or blocking on the sound (where the sound doesn't come out)? My main tip would be, if you get stuck on a sound, try and think of the next sound, rather than trying to repeat the sound/word again e.g. if the word was 'because' and you were saying b, b, b - try not to start from the beginning of the word with the b sound, but think of the next sound e.g. the e sound so b, b, -ecause. rather than b, b, because - this way you move on with the word. You can also slide into the sound by making it a softer sound. Obviously it's hard to demonstrated this on here - but if you feel that you may need any further support with your stammer then do contact your GP or see if you can self-refer to your local adult Speech and Language Therapy service

Let me know if you have any questions at all!
Hello!
Thank you so much your help. Although I sometimes repeat a sound or syllable, my stammer mostly presents itself as a 'sound block' where I cannot get the word out at all. However whenever I slow down the pace of my speech, it's totally fluent! 😔 I try and tell myself to speak slowly as I am able to in everyday life, but the pressure of situation to prevents me from doing so! It's very frustrating as I know I'm capable of it!
I think I will tell the interviewer that I have a stammer and do my absolute best to speak in slow, calm manner.
Thank you also for being so understanding! I have seen Speech Therapists in the past and some have felt that because it only manifests itself during phone calls, presentations and job interviews, I am 'making a mountain out of a molehill'. I guess I am lucky that I have such control over it, but to be frank, I can't spend the rest of my life never making a phone call or going for a job interview!


Alice x
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BurstingBubbles
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(Original post by alice 687)
Hello!
Thank you so much your help. Although I sometimes repeat a sound or syllable, my stammer mostly presents itself as a 'sound block' where I cannot get the word out at all. However whenever I slow down the pace of my speech, it's totally fluent! 😔 I try and tell myself to speak slowly as I am able to in everyday life, but the pressure of situation to prevents me from doing so! It's very frustrating as I know I'm capable of it!
I think I will tell the interviewer that I have a stammer and do my absolute best to speak in slow, calm manner.
Thank you also for being so understanding! I have seen Speech Therapists in the past and some have felt that because it only manifests itself during phone calls, presentations and job interviews, I am 'making a mountain out of a molehill'. I guess I am lucky that I have such control over it, but to be frank, I can't spend the rest of my life never making a phone call or going for a job interview!


Alice x
That makes sense! Perhaps something like having your hand by your side and gently tapping your finger against your leg (or somewhere out of view) per word to keep a slower and more regular pace may help? I tend to speak very quickly when I'm nervous, but speaking slower may actually come across as more confident and give them time to write down any answers you give - remember that there is no rush and they should schedule a longer amount of time for your interview than they expect it to take anyway!

You are definitely capable of it and have so much worth saying :yep: :hugs:

Yeah I think telling them at the start may help with that feeling of 'the elephant in the room' - this can help any reaction from them and also take some of the pressure off you. Let them know what helps you best and how they can support you, e.g. them giving you more time, letting you just stammer it out, and showing that they are still listening. At the end of the day, communication is a two (sometimes more with a group of people) way responsibility - they have just as much responsibility, if not more, for listening to you as you do getting your message across to them. To be honest, if they cannot support you with this then it's probably not a good place to work and you're better off somewhere that is inclusive and supportive.

Was this NHS Speech therapy? Honestly it might be that their 'criteria' (due to funding) is that if you can get by in most day to day life situations then you would need to be discharged - but they should never make you feel that you are making a bigger deal out of it than it is. I'm sorry that you had that experience and it's not okay. There is a definite shift now towards acceptance of stammering and managing it rather than 'fixing' it, (as it doesn't need fixing it's just one small part of who you are which makes you awesome - think about how this likely makes you more patient and accepting with others)

What sort of job are you interviewing for? (don't have to say if you don't want to!)

Edit: this website may have some helpful things on it if you've not seen it already: https://stamma.org/
Last edited by BurstingBubbles; 2 months ago
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alice 687
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(Original post by BurstingBubbles)
That makes sense! Perhaps something like having your hand by your side and gently tapping your finger against your leg (or somewhere out of view) per word to keep a slower and more regular pace may help? I tend to speak very quickly when I'm nervous, but speaking slower may actually come across as more confident and give them time to write down any answers you give - remember that there is no rush and they should schedule a longer amount of time for your interview than they expect it to take anyway!

You are definitely capable of it and have so much worth saying :yep: :hugs:

Yeah I think telling them at the start may help with that feeling of 'the elephant in the room' - this can help any reaction from them and also take some of the pressure off you. Let them know what helps you best and how they can support you, e.g. them giving you more time, letting you just stammer it out, and showing that they are still listening. At the end of the day, communication is a two (sometimes more with a group of people) way responsibility - they have just as much responsibility, if not more, for listening to you as you do getting your message across to them. To be honest, if they cannot support you with this then it's probably not a good place to work and you're better off somewhere that is inclusive and supportive.

Was this NHS Speech therapy? Honestly it might be that their 'criteria' (due to funding) is that if you can get by in most day to day life situations then you would need to be discharged - but they should never make you feel that you are making a bigger deal out of it than it is. I'm sorry that you had that experience and it's not okay. There is a definite shift now towards acceptance of stammering and managing it rather than 'fixing' it, (as it doesn't need fixing it's just one small part of who you are which makes you awesome - think about how this likely makes you more patient and accepting with others)

What sort of job are you interviewing for? (don't have to say if you don't want to!)

Edit: this website may have some helpful things on it if you've not seen it already: https://stamma.org/
The vacancy is for Sales Assistant role in a prestigious ceramics shop.
Are they allowed to discharge you?!
Thank you for the information, I'll look into that.

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BurstingBubbles
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(Original post by alice 687)
The vacancy is for Sales Assistant role in a prestigious ceramics shop.
Are they allowed to discharge you?!
Thank you for the information, I'll look into that.

Alice c
Ooh lovely!

I mean the NHS speech and language therapy service might discharge a patient (e.g. yourself) from the service if the stammer or other communication difficulty is not seen as severe enough to meet their criteria. Yes this is allowed, services can't keep people in their service indefinitely. It often depends on each individual service/location

Good luck :woo:
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alice 687
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Thank you!! 😊
It's interesting that should mention the shift in attitude towards stammering. That is the exact experience I had with my last Speech Therapist! I was very much wanting techniques to be able to control it whereas she was just trying to get me to accept it, which of course isn't a bad thing!

Alice x
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alice 687
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Hello!
I just thought I'd tell you that I got the job!

thank you so much for all your help!

Alice xx
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BurstingBubbles
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(Original post by alice 687)
Thank you!! 😊
It's interesting that should mention the shift in attitude towards stammering. That is the exact experience I had with my last Speech Therapist! I was very much wanting techniques to be able to control it whereas she was just trying to get me to accept it, which of course isn't a bad thing!

Alice x
Oh sorry I didn't see this because I wasn't quoted so didn't get a notification - but yes I think our service normally does a mix of techniques and acceptance :yep:
(Original post by alice 687)
Hello!
I just thought I'd tell you that I got the job!

thank you so much for all your help!

Alice xx
Congratulations!! so pleased for you!! :woo:
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alice 687
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Hello again!
Thank you for all your support.
I wanted to ask your advice about something else stammer-related.
I was chatting with a couple of friends who both know I have a stammer and that I worry about it. One of them turned to the other in front of me and said "I saw a doctor who had a stammer....It was difficult". The other turned to her and said "oh, I bet you were like come on!!! Just get the word out!!!" Rightly or wrongly, seeing as he knows I have a stammer ( although you honestly wouldn't know on a daily basis), I was a little bit upset by his remark. However had he not known that I had one, I would have been more understanding. I approached him about it afterwards and he denied the whole thing. "I don't know what you're talking about, I'd never do that. I only take the mickey in a friendly manner". Sadly I never got an apology! Do you think I'm being over sensitive?

Alice.
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BurstingBubbles
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(Original post by alice 687)
Hello again!
Thank you for all your support.
I wanted to ask your advice about something else stammer-related.
I was chatting with a couple of friends who both know I have a stammer and that I worry about it. One of them turned to the other in front of me and said "I saw a doctor who had a stammer....It was difficult". The other turned to her and said "oh, I bet you were like come on!!! Just get the word out!!!" Rightly or wrongly, seeing as he knows I have a stammer ( although you honestly wouldn't know on a daily basis), I was a little bit upset by his remark. However had he not known that I had one, I would have been more understanding. I approached him about it afterwards and he denied the whole thing. "I don't know what you're talking about, I'd never do that. I only take the mickey in a friendly manner". Sadly I never got an apology! Do you think I'm being over sensitive?

Alice.
I don't think you're being over sensitive at all. I think their remarks come from a lack of education and understanding. For example they (hopefully) wouldn't say something like that about someone who had another communication difficulty e.g. someone who had a stroke or cerebral palsy - so it's not okay for people to say things like this about who has a stammer - it's literally discrimination (Equality Act 2010). If you feel safe to do so, I would bring it up and explain it's not something that people can control or just be able to 'get their words out'. Education around stammering is improving but we still need to keep that conversation about it going. Don't worry if people get a bit defensive when you bring it up, that shows that they probably know their in the wrong and they're embarrassed!

I hope things are going well otherwise
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alice 687
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This probably sounds harsh but I lost respect for him after that, especially considering he used to work with people with learning difficulties. I was particularly hurt by the fact that he made it seem as if I had completely misinterpreted him and that this was entirely my problem, when my other friend that was there also felt it was disrespectful and that he could have at least apologised! However he is known for being quite a self -centred person to the point of being narcissistic! Nothing was ever his fault!

Alice x
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(Original post by alice 687)
This probably sounds harsh but I lost respect for him after that, especially considering he used to work with people with learning difficulties. I was particularly hurt by the fact that he made it seem as if I had completely misinterpreted him and that this was entirely my problem, when my other friend that was there also felt it was disrespectful and that he could have at least apologised! However he is known for being quite a self -centred person to the point of being narcissistic! Nothing was ever his fault!

Alice x
No it's not harsh at all I'd feel the same too (whether it was a disability that I had or not). Sometimes it is a case of needing to educate people and they realise but sometimes the person just happens to be horrible it might be that he's embarrassed and trying to cover up his mistake but not going about it the right way. I know it must be really hard but try not to take it personally :nah:

Btw I'm not getting notifications when you reply to this thread I just happen to see someone has posted in the thread. You can use the quote button to quote people so they get a notification to say you've replied. Otherwise people may miss your reply!
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