MODULE 2, UNIT 3: INTERVIEWS TO VERIFY STUDY, INDUSTRY AND WORK

by Unre Visagie

Key questions

  • What is the purpose of an interview?
  • How are questions and questionnaires used in interviews?
  • How are observations used in interviews?
  • What kinds of interviews are there?
  • What are the features of a structured interview?
  • What problems are there with interviews? What can be done about them?
  • What is the procedure for doing an interview?

3.1 CASE STUDY

Mary wants to be a teacher. However, her parents believe that she should study to be a nurse. This makes Mary uncertain. Eventually she decides to go to Mrs Baloyi, a teacher who does career guidance, to help her resolve the issue. Initially they sit, talk, and discuss the issue at length.  Mrs Baloyi asks her numerous questions regarding her likes, dislikes and values.  Exploring and discovering helps her realise that she is indeed interested in similar careers in various industries. In addition, she realises that she can work while expressing her passion.

Mrs Baloyi helps her learners to form groups and visit different industries, schools, hospitals and identified businesses. Mary has thus been guided to do the personal exploration and discoveries mentioned in Module 1. She realises she can apply her talents in many areas and ways. She still enjoys playing with small children, looking after them and teaching them to sing and dance, but the entertainment industry, company crèches and many other jobs also offer appealing opportunities. She can now choose either to access the workplace and learn while she works, or to enter further education. She has learned where and how to apply for bursaries and other funding methods and what the requirements are.

Mrs Baloyi now uses the contents of PCAR03X (Module 3) to prepare Mary for interviews for further education, an industry of choice and work access.  PCAR0xX also guides Mary to inform and ask others for help in her preparation to gain successful access to education, industry of choice, resources, organisations and the Internet.

3.2 PURPOSE OF AN INTERVIEW

This course uses the same techniques that allowed you to explore and discover in preparation for your work and industry selection.  You will use this to guide the career seeker towards successful entry into university or college and access to the workplace.  One of these techniques is the interview.

The case study given above indicates one purpose of the interview.  Can you recognise it?  The above interview was used to guide and expand Mary’s awareness and to let her become aware of and explore and discover interests, aptitudes and values.  Although this is the main purpose of your interview with the career seeker, it is not the only purpose.  A list of uses of interviews includes:

  • Seeking information about a subject, person or company:  Giving information or transferring information through an interview (Wikipedia explain Rhetoric as the triangle of good communication in Ethos, Pathos and Logos)  Read about rhetoric and the three ways to persuade
  • Listening or therapeutic purposes, as in the therapeutic interview:  Sampling opinions, for example, to determine how many people will vote for a certain political party
  • Research or
  • Guiding a person to gain a better self-understanding and insight into job choices.

Module 2, Unit 3, Activity 1

  1. Study these Interview principles.  Consider how this can assist you to match your traits and preferences with industries. You will use the same techniques to help career seekers find their match.
  2. Discuss what you have learnt with colleagues who are studying with you.
  3. Use Dictionary, Wikipedia or a Google and conduct an extensive search to learn more about interviews.
  4. Remember that you are exploring and discovering and the information stimulate our thinking and creates an awareness of where we are and what we know.
  5. Study job interviews and general investigative interviews.  The aim of your study on interviews is to investigate what effect interviews have on your exploration and discovery from PCAR01V.
  6. Answer the following questions:
  • How can you use open and closed questions in an interview?
  • Write down two specific uses for each.
  • Think about the purposes of a structured way of asking questions in the context of an interview.
  • Write down two purposes.

Record your experiences by completing the above activities in your MiCareer Book as part of your assignments.

Module 2, Unit 3, Activity 2

  1. Refer to your own information in your MiCareer that you gathered in PCAR01V.
  2. Be the candidate. Let the facilitator interview you to investigate one area of your personality, interest, talent and aptitude. Remember that the idea is to focus on and find matching areas of your studies, industry of choice and work choice.
  3. Use Dictionary, Wikipedia and a Google search to explore and discover these matching areas.
  4. Write down an open and a closed question challenging or verifying the match for each area. You must clarify if, how and why the match exists.
  5. Record your experiences by completing the above activities in your MiCareer Book as part of your assignments.

Module 2, Unit 3, Activity 3

  1. Refer to your own information from your MiCareer that you gathered in PCAR01V.
  2. Be the Facilitator while you guide the candidate to use interviews to investigate one item from his or her personality, interest, talent and aptitude. Focus on his or her studies, industry of choice and work choice.
  3. Use Dictionary and Wikipedia or a Google search to explore and discover matching areas. Remember that you are exploring and discovering. The information will inspire you to think about the manner in which you formulate questions that you ask you clients. It should also create an awareness of the level at which you function.
  4. Write down how you facilitated an open and a closed question, challenging or verifying the match for each area.
  5. Record your experiences by completing the above activities in your MiCareer Book as part of your assignments.
  6. Discover more about being a facilitator.  Make use of Tutorial Letter PCAR01V/103/2008 for communication skills and websites like mindtools to improve your communication skills.  Remember, in order to get the most out of your interview, you need good communication skills!

Module 2, Unit 3, Activity 4

  1. Refer to your own information from your MiCareer that you gathered in PCAR01V.
  2. Act as an Observer while the facilitator guides the candidate with interviews,
  3. Use Dictionary and Wikipedia or a Google search to explore and discover matching areas.
  4. Write down how you observed and gave feedback during open and closed questions used in the interview, challenging or verifying the match for each area.
  5. Record your experiences by completing the above activities in your MiCareer Book as part of your assignments.

Discover more about being the Observer.    Explore the Internet to find tips on giving and receiving feedback.  Both the role of the interviewer or the facilitator (the person who guides the conversation) and the interviewee or the candidate (the person who is the focus of the interview and answers the questions – also called the respondent) varies.  However, the facilitator and the candidate role have this in common: the one person seeks information, which is supplied by the other with the aim of achieving mutual benefit. The interviewee/candidate gives access to the interviewer/facilitator to what is ‘inside his/her head.’ As potential career guidance practitioner, you are training to be the facilitator for future clients.

As facilitator, it is your job to assist a person explore and discover his/her knowledge regarding  future career options, e.g. what a career seeker is interested in, his/her likes or dislikes (values and preferences) and their thoughts (attitudes and beliefs) by interviewing them.

Feedback:

Let us briefly return to our case study.  Mrs Baloyi aims to guide Mary. Mary will in turn achieve clarity about opportunities that match her interests and aptitudes. Mrs Baloyi asks the questions and is the interviewer.  Mary, on the other hand, explores, discovers and answers the questions and is the interviewee.

3.3 COMPARING QUESTIONNAIRES AND INTERVIEWS

In the previous study unit, we discussed questions and questionnaires. We looked at how these are used to help you and your future clients make decisions regarding their future careers.   Interviews are personal and therefore people may be more positively inclined towards them.  However, this can be a time-consuming method.  Look at the following table and see whether you can decide what the advantages and disadvantages are of using questionnaires or interviews.

Place a D for disadvantage and an A for advantage next to the aspects which are disadvantages or advantages of each method.
INTERVIEW QUESTIONNAIRE
Information is personally collected by the interviewer Information may be obtained by any person
Very personal Impersonal
Many opportunities for asking questions Questions limited to those on the questionnaire
Probing is possible – delving deeper into the matter Probing is difficult
One (or a few) persons at a time is normally interviewed Many people can answer a questionnaire simultaneously
Reliability is limited Reliability is fair
Interviewee need not be able to read and write Person completing the questionnaire needs to be able to read and write
Emphasis on interview skills of interviewer Emphasis on writing skills of the one who compiles the questionnaire

The direct interaction of the interview is a source of both its advantages and its disadvantages. One advantage is that it allows for greater depth than with other methods of data collection. On the other hand, it is prone to subjectivity and bias on the part of the interviewer. The fact that many individuals can simultaneously use the questionnaire is a great advantage but this also means that it cannot be personalised and collect detailed information from the particular respondent.

3.4   SOME PROBLEMS ENCOUNTERED WITH INTERVIEWS

In Unit 1, we spoke about the validity of a measuring instrument.  One of the problems with measuring instruments (such as an interview) is its validity.  A measuring instrument is valid if it tests what it is supposed to test.  In other words, does the test to determine intelligence, really test intelligence or does it test personality, interest or something else?  If it really tests intelligence (and not something else), then the test is valid.

The interview is not always a valid instrument because of bias. Sources of bias are the characteristics of the interviewer, the characteristics of the respondent, and the substantive content of the questions.  In other words, the attitudes and opinions of the interviewer; a tendency of the interviewer to see the respondent in his/her own image; a tendency for the interviewer to seek answers that support his/her preconceived notions; misperceptions on the part of the interviewer of what the respondent is saying; and misunderstandings on the part of the respondent of what is being asked.  Studies have also shown that the following can be sources of bias: race, religion, social class and age.

Module 2, Unit 3, Activity 6

  1. Refer to your own information from your MiCareer that you gathered to date. Use information from questionnaires in Unit 2 and Interviews in unit 3 to learn and use the techniques together.  Compare the purpose of Questionnaires and Interviews and how they support each other.
  2. Use Dictionary and Wikipedia or a Google search to explore and discover matching areas. Remember that you are exploring and discovering. The information will inspire you to think about the manner in which you formulate questions that you ask you clients. It should also create an awareness of the level at which you function.
  3. Write down two scenarios in which you believe questionnaires (Click on Quantitative to read and understand quantitative) and interview (Click on Qualitative to read and understand qualitative) methods will function best.
  4. Bias in questionnaires: Do you believe that questionnaires are repeatable and tend to be objective? Write a paragraph on your opinion and briefly motivate your answer.
  5. Bias in interviews: Let us say, as a child Mrs Baloyi was unhappy at school. She never liked her teachers and always felt that they were unkind to her and preferred working with other children.  Do you think this could make Mrs Baloyi negatively biased towards people considering the teaching profession?  Write down you answer, Yes or No. Then write a short paragraph explaining your choice.
  6. How do questionnaires and the interviews complement each other? In other words, how can they be used together to reach a common goal?
  7. Record your experiences by completing the above activities in your MiCareer Book as part of your assignments.

Feedback:

Any interviewer brings his or her bias to the interview and must work hard not to project that past onto the client’s choices. Any interviewer could be biased when discussing the teaching profession with Mary.  Interviewers need to be aware of their own subjective feelings and keep these in check when interviewing their clients.

How can bias be reduced? Consider these suggestions.

  • Careful formulation of questions so that the meaning is clear;
  • Thorough training of interviewers so that they are more aware of the possible problems;
  • An interviewer who is as similar as possible to the respondents, for example, with regard to race or gender;
  • Creating an atmosphere of friendliness and trust so that respondents are honest about their feelings, values and opinions;
  • Look up bias in interviews on the WWW for further infomation; and
  • Get observers during your interviews to give feedback and grow your competencies.

3.5 SUMMARY

In this unit, we explored the use of the interview when enabling you to help your future clients gain self-knowledge and thus enable them to choose an industry or work of their choice while build their career.  This relates to the purpose of interviews.  We have also compared questionnaires and interviews, linked observation and interviews and discussed different kinds of interviews. We also examined the problems with interviews and some possible solutions for these problems. Remember to be aware of of these problems and always to seek solutions of your own. Finally, we reviewed the procedure for conducting an interview.  In the next unit, the techniques of developing groups and connecting to people with resources are discussed.

About Unre Visagie
I am a master coach with 30 years of career and business coaching experience. I have built and sold many of my own multi-million dollar companies. I have always built my companies based on the principle of successful people make a successful company. I invest in people. As your coach you get 30 years of experience to help you do the work you love and earn the salary you want.

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