Today’s employment scene can be as tough to navigate for businesses as for job seekers, and the Human Resources Management Association wants to help them both.

On Monday, December 12, the HRMA will host two events at the Hyatt Princeton Hotel. At 4:30 p.m. HRMA’s Careers In Transition Committee will present “the Power of Your Interview Presence,” a free seminar by interview and career services coach Amy Castoro, who lives and operates her business, the Irimi Group, in Princeton Junction.

At 6:30 p.m. Tim Thomas, owner of Makarios Consulting in Downingtown, Pennsylvania, will present “Building and Executing a Sustainable Leadership Training Program,” which is designed to help business owners and HR professionals enhance their ranks. Cost: $60. Call 609-844-0200 or visit

Castoro, who earned her bachelor’s in organizational psychology from Adelphi University in 1985, has consulted with companies ranging from the small to the giant (such as the Walt Disney Company and Adecco) for more than 20 years. And in her time, she has come to understand the importance of best (i.e., relaxed) behavior when it comes to the interview process.

As much as 93 percent of what we say is communicated by how we say it, Castoro says. This is especially important on the phone, where the volume, tone, cadence, and mood of your voice can make or break your chances for landing a face-to-face interview and a job. Screechy, high-pitched, nasal voices are hard enough to deal with — verbal tics like “umm” and “like” and “you know” just make things worse.

Voice, breath, and mood are the key indicators of how believable someone is, especially over the phone, Castoro says. When we are stressed (as in an interview) our breathing accelerates, our voices get higher pitched, and we speak more quickly.

“When we are relaxed our voice tends to reflect our inner state by sounding deeper, slower, and more connected to what is happening around us.”

So when you’re faced with the question, “Why do you see yourself as a strong candidate for this position?” you will make a more convincing case if you speak more slowly, more deeply, and more thoughtfully.

“By learning to settle your breath low into your body, your voice will automatically come from a more resonate place,” Castoro says. “Taking a few minutes before the interview to consciously notice where your breath is in your body and consciously dropping it lower in your body will help you relax.”

Thomas’ program will be a case study showcasing specific steps for building a rich, sustainable leadership training program in your company, such as needs assessments, program development, modules to address gaps in leadership skills, trainer certification, and the implementation of a pilot program.

Thomas, who founded his company in Feasterville, Pennsylvania, in 2003, earned his bachelor’s in sociology from the University of Akron in 1987. He also holds a master’s of divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary and a master’s in training and organizational development from Saint Joseph’s University.

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