Social Survey Data Collection

3. Recruitment

Qualities Needed for Interviewing

When recruiting interviewers the following characteristics are considered essential:

  • Ability to communicate. This is usually the competency that is given the greatest weight, as it covers so many different dimensions of the job.  This is also particularly apparent on the doorstep, where the interviewer will usually only have a small amount of time to convince the respondent to participate. They need to be able to communicate with people from all backgrounds as the work will regularly take them outside of their own social strata. It also applies to the physical delivery of the survey: does the applicant speak clearly?
  • Nimble thinker. Interviewers need to quickly translate visual and verbal clues to assist in constructing responses to aid survey participation.
  • Availability and flexibility.  The job will often involve working unsocial hours.  At its simplest, the interviewer needs to be out when others are at home.
  • Well organized. It is essential that interviewers are well organized and disciplined if they are to handle their work effectively and economically.  They need to be able not only to plan and carry out their daily work but also to follow strict survey procedures.

Formal educational qualifications are relevant only insofar as they indicate the presence of the qualities listed above.

Be honest with new recruits about the expectations and demands of the job.

It is important that potential recruits are made aware of all of the above requirements and demands of the job.  Interviewers that have quit in the first 12 months of employment have regularly reported as their reason for leaving that the job was different from what they had expected.  It pays for survey organizations to review their recruitment literature to ensure that it states clearly what we are asking new recruits to do.

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