• Russell P. Wicks
Part of the Psychology for Professional Groups book series


If there is one universally applied technique to be found in behavioural research it is ‘interviewing’. If there is one technique basic to all professional practice it is the interaction between people that is called ‘interviewing’. It is the nature of this interaction between people which is the concern of this chapter. It is to be hoped that what is said can be applied not simply to ‘the interview’ in ‘an interview situation’ but to all purposive contacts between individuals, the critical feature, it is claimed, being the purposive nature of the encounter. The participants bring hopes, fears, expectations, misconceptions and many other cognitions to the situation most times in the hope that their wishes will be met, fears reduced and so on. Customarily this view is found in the characterization of an interview as a ‘conversation with a purpose’. So it is, but ALL those participating in an interview have their purposes and not simply, for example, the interviewer. In the complex transactions of getting and giving information we observe effort aimed at achieving purposes. Thus the psychologist testing a client by means of, say, the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale is conducting an interview as defined.


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  1. Argyle, M. (1973) Social Interaction. London: Tavistock.Google Scholar
  2. Argyle, M. (1975) Bodily Communication. London: Methuen.Google Scholar
  3. Atkinson, J. (1971) A Handbook for Interviewers (2nd edn). London: HMSO.Google Scholar
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Annotated reading

  1. Anstey, E. (1976) An Introduction to Selection Interviewing. London: HMSO. Originally prepared for staff training in the Civil Service, this practical guide is useful for the advice it gives on general preparation for selection interviewing as well as the conduct of interviews.Google Scholar
  2. Bingham, W.V. and Moore, B.V. (1959) How to Interview (4th edn). New York: Harper & Row. A classic work. An early attempt to offer general guidance for those engaged in selection, survey interviews and counselling. Rather general in its approach.Google Scholar
  3. Cannel, C.F. and Kahn, R.L. (1968) Interviewing. In G. Lindzey and E. Aronson (eds), The Handbook of Social Psychology, Volume II: Research methods (2nd edn). London: Addison-Wesley. A systematic account of the research interview. Tends towards a theoretical presentation, problems of reliability and validity and measurement using interview data being examples. Includes discussion of interview technique, question form and the training of interviewers.Google Scholar
  4. Cross, C.P. (1974) Interviewing and Communication in Social Work. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. A useful guide to the ‘helping’ interview. Represents the movement towards enhancing social skills of all involved in such encounters.Google Scholar
  5. Sidney, E. and Brown, M. (1973) The skills of Interviewing. London: Tavistock. Aimed at managers, especially personnel staff. A generally acclaimed book, based on the extensive experience of the authors, it offers a very practical guide to the selection interview.Google Scholar
  6. Sidney, E., Brown, M. and Argyle, M. (1973) Skills with People. London: Hutchinson. A guide for managers. Concerns itself with a wide range of topics: communication in general, social skills, interviews, meetings and committees, interpersonal skills and training in social skills.Google Scholar
  7. Ungerson, B. (ed.) (1975) Recruitment Handbook (2nd edn). London: Gower Press. Very useful guide to the context of job interviewing, preparing job specifications, advertising, references; all the supporting activities of selection are covered.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The British Psychological Society 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Russell P. Wicks

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