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Information Interview

 

Disciplines > Human Resources > Job Analysis > Information Interview

Description | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Understand the work by interviewing the people who perform the job to elicit the detail of what is done, how it is done and the skills and knowledge that are required.

Depending on the situation, you may prepared a detailed questionnaire beforehand or may alternatively start only with a few guiding principles and probe for details as areas of note are discovered.

A simple method that can be useful in some situations is to ask them to talk you through a typical day. 'What happens next?' is a useful question here. Similarly, you can use this walkthrough for individual parts of a process.

Interviews are also useful for capturing emotive aspects of the job as you can read 'full body communication' to detect more subtle communicative elements.

Always keep the purpose of your interview in mind when doing this, constraining any temptation to dive off into areas of interests that will not add value to the outputs of the process.

Discussion

Use of questionnaires and checklists in interviews can be distracting for the interviewee and prevent or limit the ability of the interviewer to probe for details. This can be mitigated by giving greater leeway to the interviewer, using the checklist more for guidance (and the interviewer should, of course, be given guidance on this).

A problem with interviews is that you may hear what they want you to hear, for example covering up what they perceive as failings or idealizing the process.

Walking through real situations is useful to capture what really happens.

Interviews can also be combined with other methods, for example using the interview as a follow-up to a self-report of some kind to confirm overall structuring and explore areas of further interest.

See also

Questioning techniques, Body Language, Structured questionnaire, Selection interview

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