The Interview


The Interview Essay, Research Paper

The Interview

Type Of Interview

For my assignment I chose to examine an interview I was a party to at my

place of employment with the local Association For Community Living. It was an

orientation meeting for a new client moving into a group home where I currently

work as a Direct Care Worker. Under the classification of interviews, my

analysis focuses on an Information Giving type of interview.

As outlined in class, information giving interviews are used to obtain

facts, opinions, feelings, attitudes, reasons for actions, trends or beliefs.

My specific interview was to inform, organize and assist the staff team, of

which I am a member, in supporting a new individual moving into the house.

Purpose Of The Interview

The purpose of this interview was to instruct the staff team on current

programs and supports surrounding this individual, as well as to train and coach

staff on handling techniques used through stressful periods. Lastly, this

interview was to clarify all procedures to be used with this individual.


The setting for our meeting, which is of importance, was a meeting room

at our local Head Office. The meeting took place at 1900 on January 9, 1996.

The meeting included the supervisor and three staff team members.

A physical description of the environment is as follows: a large wooden

rectangular table sits in the centre of the room with 12 chairs around it, there

are 2 cluttered bookcases along one wall and a large white board along another

wall. There are no pictures on the walls and no telephone. The meeting took

place after business hours so the building was quiet, empty and very dark.


The opening of this interview began with cordial greetings and small

talk, as we are all well-acquainted with each other. The purpose of the

interview was established and we moved quickly into the body of the interview.


The supervisor, as the interviewer, was in the information giving

position. The staff team were informed of relevant background information and a

brief history of the individual. We began to develop new perspectives as a team

by reviewing current procedures, handling techniques, supports and activities

all the while trying to improve on them if possible. Problem solving was

undertaken to determine strategies to support this individual with the move and

any changes or adjustments. Confrontation was used by staff to identify

discrepancies and distortions in the information. After much brainstorming,

responsibilities were designated to each staff member for implementation. As a

staff team we set goals for ourselves.


As the supervisor shifted the conversation towards questions or concerns

surrounding the new client, I began to feel things drawing to a close. All new

information was reviewed and summarized to ensure understanding. The staff’s

new role was clarified and the next steps were identified. After a final round

of clearinghouse questions, we agreed to meet again to review and evaluate our

progress after a trial period (one month).


Inclusion refers to how much a party is willing and able to take part in

an interview. The staff team were willing and able to learn. The supervisor

was able but seemed somewhat closed to offering specific information. For

example, the supervisor was evasive to questions regarding specific amounts of

support required for the new client.

As the interview progressed, the unwillingness on the supervisor’s part

to exchange information caused defensiveness in the staff members. The

supervisor continued this throughout and staff became noticeably upset and



Control refers to the degree of power each party in the interview has to

influence the nature and/or outcome of that interview. The supervisor, from my

point of view, had more control due to job position/status, as well as having

the information that staff was seeking. Control was exercised by the supervisor

by limiting the amount of information shared. This had a negative effect on

staff and the interview as a whole.

The power struggle between staff and supervisor seemed to increase as

the interview progressed. The staff became agitated to receive further

information and the supervisor became less inclined to offer any.


Affection refers to the degree of warmth between the parties in the

interview. This is completely a personal perception on my part. The supervisor

appeared hostile towards two staff members in particular. I base this judgement

on complete lack of eye contact and verbal bluntness with these particular staff.

The supervisor was seemingly speaking to one staff only. I felt negative

feelings from staff towards the supervisor intensifying as the interview

progressed (body language, verbal cues). Everyone became questioning of each

other and leery of the information being shared.

Level Of Interaction

There are three main levels of interaction. Level 1 being Action-

Reaction. Interviews often start at this level, which exhibits the least degree

of communication. Interactions deal with non-threatening questions and

responses are usually superficial. Level 2 is Interaction. This level deals

with more intimate or controversial areas. Nothing more is revealed than need

be. Level 3 is Transaction. This level is the highest degree of interpersonal

involvement, formed through trust and positive rapport. All parties are

actively listening and responding with a high degree of intimacy and honesty.

In my opinion, this interview would very much be considered within Level

2, Interaction. The interview began at Level 1 during the opening phase and

entry into the body of the interview (superficial small talk to pass time). It

then progressed to Level 2 as we entered further into the body of the interview.

We began to discuss more intimate details of an individual’s life and ideas for

support were shared. Personal feelings were briefly touched upon. Both staff

and supervisor were asking and answering questions of each other without

offering too much information. I don’t believe that this interview ever

attained Level 3.

Verbal & Non-Verbal Communication

Verbal and non-verbal communication signals are presented by every

individual. These signals are very important because they alter our responses.

Ninety percent of any message we convey is non-verbal, even when talking. It

has been shown through research that the non-verbal messages tend to outweigh

the verbal messages.

My perception of the verbal communication from the supervisor would be

described as: abrupt, fluctuating high-pitched voice, incomplete phrases, jerky

speed of speech, very repetitious with many hesitations throughout the interview.

My perception of the staff member’s verbal communication could be best

described as: quiet, tense, frequent hesitations, many irregular pauses in

speech, repetitious questions with a varied inflection in voice.

The non-verbal communication I perceived from the supervisor could be

best described as follows: eyes cast downward, sighing frequently, often having

raised eyebrows, rapid breathing, infrequent smiling at selected participants,

stiff and shifting posture with some head nodding noted. I perceived the non-

verbal communication from the staff to be: shoulders shrugged, leaning back in

seats, sideways eye glancing, crossed legs, folded arms, sighing, slouched

posture, clasped hands and some head nodding.

Questioning & Interviewing Techniques

The placement and types of questions used during an interview can be

very important to providing framework and encouraging desired topics. Closed

questions, which are used to get specific facts and limit information shared,

were used very frequently by the supervisor during this interview (”Do you

agree?”). Open-ended questions, which allow more sharing of information and

control, were used very infrequently and mostly by staff members rather than the

supervisor (”How do we proceed from here?”). Indirect questions, which are less

threatening questions in the form of statements, were infrequently used during

the interview (”You seem confused.”).

Focusing on the interviewing techniques used by the supervisor during

this interview, I noted that minimal encouragers (head nodding) and accenting

(repeating key words) were used. Paraphrasing and summarizing were also used by

both staff and supervisor to convey and assure understanding of relevant

information to the other party.

Effectiveness Of The Interview

This interview was effective in sharing only some of the relevant

information. I would say it was not as effective as it could have been due to

the breakdown in communication as the interview progressed. The staff’s

perceived evasiveness of the supervisor caused further tension and frustration.

The ineffectiveness of the interview to alleviate staff’s concerns regarding the

new client was evident to me after speaking with co-workers following the

closing of the interview.

The Interviewer’s Strengths & Weaknesses

I feel bias in surveying the strengths and weaknesses of my supervisor.

Under strengths, I would say that my supervisor ensured that there would be no

distractions, allowed each individual opportunity to share feelings or ideas and

arrived on time and well organized with a detailed agenda. I would say that my

supervisor was ineffective in responding to questions, closed minded to

suggested alternatives and unsupportive of the staff team.

How Might The Interview Have Been Improved?

I feel more knowledgeable due to my class studies to be able to suggest

viable alternatives to improve on the outcome of this interview. I believe that

each party should be more open to others’ ideas and be aware of mental arguing

with others. Each party must try to keep personal feelings out of professional

settings by being aware of biases and putting them aside if possible. I also

believe that honesty amongst all parties (complete and accurate information,

sharing of true feelings) is vital to developing a successful helping

relationship. Each party must concentrate and listen to what the other is

saying to be able to gain a true understanding of one another.

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