Lecture Notes 01/16/2014
Interviewing – an interactional communication process between two parties, at least one of whom has a
predetermined purpose and usually involves the asking and answering of questions.
Interactional: exchanging ideas, sharing of responsibilities
Process – constantly changing over time
Two parties – interviewing party vs. interviewee party
Purpose – get a job or position
Types of Interviews
Information gathering – visit all the tabling groups in the mall
Selections – do you work for us? Do we work for you?
Problems of E’s/R’s behaviors – meeting to discuss elements that aren’t working
Problem solving – solving external problems
Persuasion – sales interview; the people who interview you on the drag
explore an industry of interest
enact the interview process in professional contexts
meet professionals & let them meet you establish networks
three different people in different positions at different organizations – 30 minutes each
No phone interviews
Choose topic wisely
Choose location wisely
No one affiliated with UT
Don’t choose someone you know
Use the same schedule of questions for each interviewee, avoid choosing Es that are too different from one
3 topic areas, 1820 questions
Es should not all hold the same position
Beware of “peak” times for certain industries
The proposal is very important
Course packet: page 1118
Personal network Family
Contact person on websites
How to contact an E:
Email, phone – be polite and professional
What they need to know: they will be audio recorded & asked to fill out a brief critique form
What you need to know and why: mailing address for letter of introduction (p. 18)
Call or email 1 week before to confirm the date, time and location
I’m interested in:
Environmental law – 3 different environmental lawyers ?
What does it entail?
What are the biggest issues you’ve faced in this field?
What don’t people understand about environmental law?
How does the compensation from environmental law differ from that of other types of law?
What led you to this field?
Why is this an important global issue?
How do these issues benefit the community directly?
What other area of law might you be interested in, if not this one?
What advice would you give to an aspiring environmental lawyer?
What would you have changed about your education process preparing for this position?
Field topic is due by email or hard copy
Topic & 4 potential interviewees
Bring laptop for WSJ subscription
Read chapter 2 (p. 1954) January 30, 2014 01/16/2014
Open/Closed January 30, 2014 01/16/2014
Directive – R has control
Non directive – E has control
It’s best to use a combination of both!
Closed Questions: narrow in focus and restricts the E’s freedom in responding
Moderately closed: ask for specific, limited pieces of information
What was your initial reaction to the jury’s verdict?
Which medical conditions run in your family?
Highly closed: typically ask respondents to identify a single piece of info
Which of these channels, ESPN, Comedy Central or lifetime do you prefer to watch?
How much are you asking for the used laptop?
Be careful of questions that begin with “how much.. how many… how often…” these are CLOSED
Bipolar: limit respondents to only one of two opposing choices
Are you a conservative or a liberal?
Are you familiar with the new antivirus software?
Open questions: expansive, often only specify a topic, allow freedom in responses
Highly open: provide the respondent with virtually no restrictions
Tell me about your work history
What do you know about communication? January 30, 2014 01/16/2014
Go into a lot of detail about your favorite job
Moderately Open: some restrictions, but respondent still has wide latitude to respond.
Tell me about your internship at IBM
What do you know about interpersonal communication?
On most assignments, only 20% of your scheduled questions are allowed to be
closed… so it’s important to be able to tell an open question from a closed one!
Primary: introduce topics or new areas within a topic; can stand alone and make sense
How did you become interested in consulting?
Tell me about your most challenging time at UT
What is your name
Do you like Chinese food
What training do you have in statistical analysis
Secondary (probing): followup questions to primary questions; don’t make sense on their own
Silent probe – use silence to allow E to complete statement
Nonverbal; context dependent – can be very polite or pretty rude
Nudging probe – brief/encouraging
go on, uh huh? So… January 30, 2014 01/16/2014
Clearinghouse probe – makes sure everything is covered
is there anything else I need to know?
Use this at the end of a section
Informational probe – additional information or explanation
Tell me a bit more about this fear you mentioned
What happened next?
Restatement probe – rephrasing when question isn’t answered or understood
Yes, but would you accept this position if it was offered to you?
Reflective probe – reflects answer to verify or clarify
So what you’re saying is…x?
Mirror probe – ensures you understand a series of answers correctly, then verifies
Let me check these directions to make sure I got them straight. Head north on I35, exit MLK
For most assignments, you will be required to provide 2 secondary questions for each
primary question, so be able to tell the difference between them!
Neutral: allow respondents to answer without overt direction or pressure from questioners
What did you think of black swan?
Leading: suggest the answer expected because questioner leads respondents to it
Didn’t you like black swan?
Loaded: extreme leading questions
Wow, did you actually LIKE black swan? January 30, 2014 01/16/2014
IDENTIFICATION OF QUESTIONS (activity)
“Tell me about yourself”
Open. Neutral. Primary.
“You generally pay close attention to detail, don’t you?”
Closed. Leading. Primary
“By middle school you mean grades 58?”
Closed. Neutral. Secondary. Reflective Probe.
“What was your salary on your last job?
Closed. Neutral. Primary.
“Why do you think he said that?”
Open. Neutral. Secondary. Informational Probe.
Open. Neutral. Secondary. Nudging Probe.
“Are you a conservative or a bleeding heart liberal?”
Closed. Leading (loaded). Primary.
“What else would you like to say about this program?”
Open. Neutral. Secondary. Clearinghouse Probe. February 4, 2014
1. determine your purpose: why interview at all?
Probing interview purpose: discover facts about the case that you didn’t previously know
Can help you determine things like types of questions, etc
2. Sources can include you rpersonal network (extended network), online resources, libraries, corporate,
church, school and courthouse records, etc.
3. Good research allows for two benefits to the interview:
ensures that you ask intelligent and insightful questions that you can’t get answers to elsewhere
helps you avoid false assumptions about the E or the purpose of the interview
4. Create a journalistic interview guide:
who was involved
when did it happen
where did it happen
how did it happen
why did it happen
helps you find the holes in your research
5 Criteria to keep in mind for Phrasing Questions
1. Language does the E share the same language? Be aware of multiple meanings February 4, 2014
2. relevance – needs to be clear why you are asking questions, explain question if not directly related to
3. Information level – E must have the knowledge to respond intelligently, example: what is the average
starting salary of a new hire at competing firms?
4. Complexity – is the question too complicated for the E to determine what you are asking?
5. Accessibility – refers to the E’s reluctance to answer a question because of social, psychological or
situational constraints. Ex: who are you voting for
Common Question Pitfalls – AVOID AT ALL COSTS
BiPolar trap: when you ask a bipolar question designed to elicit a yes or no answer when you wanted a
detailed answer or specific information
Wrong: do you know what happened next?
Right: What happened next
Avoid: do, have, can, would, will
Begin with: what, why, how, explain, tell me about
OpentoClosed Switch: when you ask an open question but before the E can answer you rephrase to a
closed or bipolar question
R: Why did you leave UT early? Was it because you graduated?
this is an element of the speedy question
Speedy Question: when two questions are asked in a row without waiting for an answer
(openopen, closedclosed, closedopen)
DoubleBarreled Inquisition: when you ask two or more questions at the same time instead of a single,
R: Tell me about a typical day as a lawyer and why you decided law was right for you
Leading Push: when you ask a question that suggests how someone should respond (intentional or
unintentional) February 4, 2014
R: I really like the new changes, don’t you?
R: you have to wear a suit EVERY DAY?
Guessing game: when you try to guess information instead of asking for it (usually a string of closed
WRONG: R: were you home at that time?
R: were you on campus?
CORRECT: R: where were you at that time?
Yes (No) response: when you ask a question that has only one LOGICAL answer: a yes or a no.
R: (asked of a student) do you want to graduate?
R: (asked of a CEO) is this a good company to work for?
Double Starter: when questions begin with two question prompts, and only one is really needed
WRONG: explain to me how to get promoted in this industry
RIGHT: how does one get promoted in this industry?
WRONG: Describe why you made the shift from academic to business
RIGHT: why did you make the shift from the academy to business?
RIGHT: describe the reasons you made the shift from academic to business
Typology Questions: when you categorize the type of response you want unnecessarily
R: what type of work do you do?
What sort of feelings do you have about this sort of ice cream?
WSJ clipbooks & presentations
Employment interview: related to the immediate future
WSJ clipbook: read more about it in your Course Packet (p.1920) due April 17 01/16/2014
Monkey, mouse, elephant, zebra, horse, 01/16/2014
Opening the Interview:
Orienting the E – giving the E a preview
Balance of Structure and Interaction
Too much structure = robotic or impersonal
Too much interaction = not professional or casual
Greeting, Introduction, Reference/Purpose
Confirming verbal & nonverbal behavior
Name and organizational affiliation
R: Hello, my name is Ashley Horton. I’m a reporter with the local newspaper. So nice to meet you. Thank
you for agreeing to meet with me today. (firm handshake)
A process of establishing and maintaining a relationship between E and R by creating feelings of goodwill
Should be interactive (let E respond to questions) 01/16/2014
Should be relevant to interview
R: So, this is a lovely neighborhood. How long have you lived here? (wait for answer) How do the residents
generally get along here?
time – need to give an exact time
procedure – ask if you can take notes; ask if they mind if you rercord
topics to be covered – preview which topics will be covered in the int