The influence of non-native accents on hiring success.

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The impact of non-native accentedness in the workforce is a well-researched topic, however, not coupled with a prejudice control (Roessel et al., 2019). For this reason, the present study elaborated on two research questions. Firstly, to what extent does the evaluation of a non- native English accent differ from a native English accent regarding hireability, comprehensibility, status, and solidarity? Secondly, does prejudice control impact how a speaker is perceived in a job interview? These research questions were examined via an online questionnaire. The respondents were recruited online and assigned to one of the four conditions randomly namely, German-accented with prejudice control, German-accented without prejudice the control, British accented with prejudice control, and British accented without prejudice control. Participants were assigned to listen to an audio fragment and afterwards evaluate the speaker’s suitability for a position as a human resources manager. Results suggested that generally a British English accent was rated higher than a German- accented English. It could be observed that the first research question was somewhat confirmed for comprehensibility, status, and solidarity. Despite, for solidarity, no significant effects could be determined across any of the conditions. Regarding the second research question, no significant effects could be determined for prejudice the control across conditions. A possible explanation for these findings might be that in this study listeners and speakers did not share a first language (L1). Research has already depicted significant effects for speaker and listeners that share a L1 (Hendriks, van Meurs & de Groot, 2017). Recommendations for further research include exploring the topic of prejudice control in more detail and investigating other types of accent varieties. Previous studies provide valuable insights for business operations in multinational corporations (MNC) concerning how non-native accented speech is perceived by native English listeners but also by non-native listeners. Key words: accentedness, prejudice control, non-native accents, hireability, evaluation, comprehensibility, status, solidarity.
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