Shirley J. Caruso, Ed.D.
According to Rossett (1999), interviews are the most common way of gathering performance analysis data. Conducting one-on-one interviews with employees, managers, and executives allows them an opportunity to share ideas, clarify misconceptions, and to express their opinions, perspectives and points of view (Gilley, Eggland, & Gilley, 1989).
During a one-on-one interview, the interviewer asks questions of the interviewee in an attempt to seek opinions. The one-on-one interview seeks to unveil data that is not observable, such as expertise or feelings.
What types of questions are asked?
Rossett (1999), categorizes interview questions into six kinds:
- Ideal Position
- Devil’s Advocate
- Flawed Position
Hypothetical questions encourage the interviewee to think about how the problem or situation might be handled. These sentences begin with words like how might, suppose, and what if
Ideal position questions urge the interviewee to imagine masterful performance for example. If you were witnessing masterful performance, what would it look like?
Devil’s Advocate questions encourage the interviewee to take an opposing position. If the interviewee has expressed favoritism toward training as a solution to the problem, for example, ask the interviewee to describe performance if training were not an option.
Flawed Position questions encourage the interviewee to speculate on the opposite. If you are discussing masterful performance for example, ask the interviewee to describe the opposite (poor performance).
Interpretive questions tie together responses to previous questions and encourage reaction from the interviewee. Ask the interviewee to suggest probable causes for the performance problem.
Straw questions encourage responses from the interviewee.
If the performance problem relates to letter composition for example, you may ask the interviewee to look at a sample letter and tell you what is liked or disliked about its composition.
Advantages and Disadvantages of One-On-One Interviews
|More than just information is revealed. An opportunity is provided to observe body language, gestures, and nonverbal behaviors that may be more telling than spoken ideas and opinions. A feel for the culture of the organization is obtained.||Unpredictable, the information gathered or outcomes of the meeting cannot be controlled.|
|Flexible but should be created around a structured framework to maintain continuity from one individual to the next.||Can be viewed by the interviewee as an opportunity to vent frustration or anger. Interviewers should remain neutral, expressing no opinions one way or another.|
|Build relationships with members of the organization.||Interviewing techniques are difficult to master. HRD (human resource development) professional must develop the skills necessary to discuss difficult issues openly and honestly while maintaining focus.|
Gilley, J., Eggland, S., and Gilley, A. M. (1989). Principles of Human Resource Development. New York, NY: Basic Books.
Rossett, A. (1999). First Things Fast: A Handbook for Performance Analysis. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer.