Posted by: jennagalbreath | May 14, 2017

Activity 7.1: Self-Reflexive Interviewing

Often in my past career, I was a co-moderator in a focus group, or I was in the back-room with clients, taking notes. Up until now, I don’t believe I’ve considered my physical traits or demographics and if and how they might play a role in interviews and focus groups in soliciting responses.

The things that stand out most about me are that I’m a tall, white, female. I appear confident and hold direct eye contact, which can make some people nervous. My “thinking” face can sometimes appear like a scowl (I’m working on that!). I asked my mom and sister other things that might stand out, and they both pointed out that being feminine in what I wear or even my makeup that day would have an effect in interviews, especially as I consider interviewing a method for my final project. Since I would be interviewing communication executives and decision makers, I think business attire and normal daily makeup will be appropriate.

One piece of feedback I’ve received from employers and mentors alike is that I’m a very thoughtful listener. I’ve been told that my thoughtfulness while listening, slowness to respond, and patience to let others speak makes other people around me feel important and heard, something that I anticipate will be a strength during interviewing. On the flipside, this is also where my direct eye contact could affect some people differently, and instead of making them feel heard, could make them nervous.

When I think through the types of interview, I prefer un-structured the most, as it gives me the flexibility to probe as topics of interest come up. This allows me to capitalize on my strengths of truly listening, instead of already “knowing” what question I’ll ask next.

All of this together, if channeled strategically, should make me an effective interviewer. I think the purpose of this exercise was to reflect on all factors that may influence an interview and responses, when it can be all too easy to solely focus on the questions themselves.

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