Social Survey Data Collection

3. Recruitment

Exercise 1

Following is a job description for a social survey interviewer which sets out the key competencies required, and conditions of employment.

Review the description and select which of the questions following it would be appropriate to ask.

JOB DESCRIPTION
Social Survey Interviewer
: This position involves interactions with people, in their homes, to find out more about their health status, employment, education and access to the health care system among other important issues.

Job requirements include: Friendly approach, ability to communicate and interact well with people. Ability to persuade reluctant individuals to agree to be interviewed while respecting their rights as a research subject. Ability to organize and manage time effectively. Travel is a requirement of the position and ability to conduct interviews in a variety of locations. Sensitivity to multi-cultural populations is a must. Strong interpersonal skills are required with ability to interview difficult respondents. Evening and weekend work may be required.

Specific duties will include: Planning and preparing for survey; visiting addresses in person; making contact with the household member; gaining co-operation to participate; following study protocol; administering questionnaires; collecting and recording data and checking data; returning data to study site.

Questions

  • Can you give me any examples of where you have had to communicate with Latinos?
  • I see Spanish listed on your resume as a skill, where did you learn to speak it?
  • The hours for this position are evening and weekend. Do you have any obligations that will conflict with those hours?
  • Are you able to work evenings and weekends?
  • This position would require you to enter respondent’s homes, to that end we want to make sure we have hired a trustworthy individual. Have you ever had charges brought up against you for assault, drug position, drug distribution, etc.?
  • This position would require you to enter respondent’s homes, to that end we want to make sure we have hired a trustworthy individual. Are there any concerns that would prevent you from comfortably performing these interviews?
  • In the position you would be spending 90% of your time traveling within the Boston Area. We are looking for a person who is familiar with the area, how long have you lived in the area?
  • In the position you would be spending 90% of your time traveling within the Boston Area. We are looking for a person who is familiar with the area – do you have any concerns with interviewing respondents in Boston and surrounding areas?

Answers:

  • Can you give me any examples of where you have had to communicate with Latinos? Correct
  • I see Spanish listed on your resume as a skill, where did you learn to speak it? Incorrect

Remediation for both correct and incorrect: Asking about where a skill was learned may elicit a response such as, I am originally from Ecuador and it is my Native tongue. A more appropriate question would be, “This position will require ability to conduct interviews and gather sensitive health history information from respondents in both English and Spanish speaking populations. When interviewing for a vacancy it is best to ask the interviewee for some evidence of a skill. For example, “Can you give me any examples of where you have had to communicate with Latinos,” is a more appropriate question which may lead to other examples of studies they have worked on.

  • The hours for this position are evening and weekend. Do you have any obligations that will conflict with those hours? Incorrect
  • Are you able to work evenings and weekends? Correct

Remediation for both correct and incorrect: Asking if the person has other obligations may create a situation where they feel they need to divulge personal or family information. A better question is really only about whether the person is able to work those hours.

  • This position would require you to enter respondent’s homes, to that end we want to make sure we have hired a trustworthy individual. Have you ever had charges brought up against you for assault, drug position, drug distribution, etc.? Incorrect
  • This position would require you to enter respondent’s homes, to that end we want to make sure we have hired a trustworthy individual. Are there any concerns that would prevent you from comfortably performing these interviews? Correct

Remediation for both correct and incorrect: It is not appropriate to ask a candidate about any arrest record. If it is job related it may be appropriate to ask about convictions and it is information that can be collected on an application. However, convictions do not de facto disqualify a candidate. For example if a candidate was convicted of vehicular homicide you could consider the person for a receptionist position, but not for a position requiring driving to homes.

  • In the position you would be spending 90% of your time traveling within the Boston Area. We are looking for a person who is familiar with the area, how long have you lived in the area? Incorrect
  • In the position you would be spending 90% of your time traveling within the Boston Area. We are looking for a person who is familiar with the area – do you have any concerns with interviewing respondents in Boston and surrounding areas? Correct

Remediation for both correct and incorrect: It is not a job requirement to live within a certain area. Also, the question could elicit a response disclosing whether the candidate owns or rents. This potentially provides information about their socio-economic status. Also, asking about where they live does not give you any information about how well they know the area. Someone who has been in the area for 6 months may be able to navigate just as well (especially with a GPS) as a person who has lived in Boston for a lifetime.