Thursday, March 15, 2012

Unstructured and structured interview

Unstructured interview

Here the interview is a conversation with no prepared questions or predetermined line of investigation. However, the interviewer should explain:
  • the purpose of the study is and
  • the particular focus of this interview

The roles and the purposes give structure. The interviewer generally uses a questionning strategy to explore the work the job holder performs. Listening and taking notes are very important. These enable follow up questions to be posed. The questions and responses - with summaries enable the interview to be controlled. The conversation takes on a structure with areas being considered, explored, related to each other and revisited to secure the depth of information required in job analysis.

An unstructured interview involves question and response and may be free flowing but it becomes structured in the sense that the interviewer has a purpose and needs skill to

  • establish a relationship
  • ask well-structured questions to generate a conversational flow in which the interviewee offers information - factual, opinion, subjective and objective about aspects of the job
  • to ensure information recieved is heard and understood - listening, clarifying and reflective summarising
Effective listening requires concentration and this can be disturbed by interruptions, the interviewer's own thought processes and difficulty in remaining neutral about what is being said. Notes need to be taken without loss of good eye contact. Cues need to be picked up so that further questions can be asked to probe issues and areas of interest.

Structured interview

A structured interview may assume a definite format involving:

  • charting a job-holder's sequence of activities in performance
  • an inventory or questionnaire may be used
Care is needed to set up such interactions. A specialist analyst is not involved and participants need to know what they are doing, why and what is expected as a result. They may be trained as interviewers and not structure the interview as recommended. Notes and records may be needed for subsequent analysis.

A structured interview may be akin to a staff appraisal or job evaluation interview carried out by a manager with a subordinate. The manager is the analyst.


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