7

I've had a mild stutter/stammer since my childhood and occasionally it'll show during a phone interview. I can be completely calm & relaxed during an interview and still stutter and there isn't really anything I can do about it.

Anyway, I'm wondering if it's better to announce that I have a stutter before a phone interview, or if it's generally regarded as "TMI". I'm afraid that if I do stutter during a phone interview, the interviewer might be weirded out and it could affect my chances at landing a new position.

  • I can't suggest this professionally since I don't know how severe it is, but you could consider going to a speech therapist depending on how severe it is. – Zibbobz May 7 '15 at 20:25
  • @Zibbobz The timeframe within which speech therapy can be effective is much longer than preparing for this job interview would allow. – Myles May 7 '15 at 20:43
  • @Myles This is true, which is why I'm not suggesting it in my answer - it's more general advice for the future. – Zibbobz May 7 '15 at 20:46
10

Unless you are interviewing for voice overs I wouldn't worry about it - at all.

What is important is what you are saying and that you don't let a little stuttering keep you from expressing your thoughts. Also how you handle your stuttering says a lot about your character and your ability to control this (small) issue.

As an interviewer I don't want to hear about your stuttering ahead of time. I don't think it would turn me off to you but it certainly wouldn't add anything. If we are in an interview and you stuttered, then make a joke about it or just tell me you stutter.

The fact is it isn't a big deal. But if you make me feel uncomfortable then that is a factor. And this doesn't matter if you told me ahead of time or not. I have a good friend that stutters and he is very light-hearted about it. He handles it so well that I honestly believe he uses it to his advantage and he has a line of jokes (and women fall for this so fast it isn't funny).

On the other side of this you could quit talking or act like it doesn't exist or seem upset and this could be detrimental. As an interviewer I want to know that someone can communicate with peers and that peers will want to talk to them.

7

Mention that you are afflicted with a stutter before your scheduled interview, unless you want to produce your stutter as a surprise during the interview. Letting you know that quite a few people don't react well to surprises. And if they are distracted by surprises during the interview when they should be directing their attention to your suitability for the position, your chances of looking good may dim your candidacy comparative to other candidates.

5

If it is just a nervous tic, you can simply mention it and apologize for it politely if it comes up, and continue the interview from there. It really depends upon how severe this is, and how much you feel it would impact your interview. Since you mention that it is a mild stutter, this will probably do for you. For anyone looking for more advice on a more severe stutter, I've written some advice below.


If it is more than just a nervous tic, and you feel it would negatively impact your interview, it is better to be up front with it and let them know - if it is part of a general condition that they should know about, better still to let them know about that as well.

This could still hurt your interview, since a stutter can be very distracting, and if you feel it would be extremely detrimental you could ask for an IM-based interview, but only do this if it is a certified or extremely disabling disorder - and only if you know that the position won't call for you to speak publicly for the company.

  • Why should somebody apologize for a shutter? Kevin is just built different. That is true for all of us as we are unique – Ed Heal Mar 16 '16 at 22:07
  • @EdHeal Because in an interview, a stutter can make it difficult to understand what you're saying. Even if you can't help it, it's still polite. – Zibbobz Mar 17 '16 at 12:48
3

If it will affect your performance in the interview, let them know beforehand (ideally when you're invited, either by email or phone).

I have a stammer and my wife is involved in interviewing in her company and both her and the main hiring manager agree that it's best to let them know beforehand for a number of reasons:

It avoids surprises; they can plan in advance to put more weight on your non verbal strengths; it's just plain polite.

Keep it casual and light, it's a quick heads up, nothing more.

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