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Interviewing: Principles and Practices, 10/e
Charles J. Stewart, Purdue University--West Lafayette
William B. Cash, National Louis University--Evanston

An Interpersonal Communication Process

Chapter Summary

In this chapter, we developed a summary model of the interpersonal communication process that contains the many interacting variables present in each interview: two parties, exchanging of roles, perceptions, levels of exchanges, verbal and nonverbal messages, feedback, listening, situation, and outside forces. Interviewing is a dynamic, complicated process between two complex parties operating with imperfect verbal and nonverbal symbols guided and controlled by perceptions and the situation. The ability to listen (for comprehension, empathy, evaluation, and resolution) and to employ silence strategically are often more important than what we have to say.

A thorough understanding of the process and the multidimensional relationship that exists between parties is a prerequisite for successful interviewing. Both parties must be aware that perceptions of self, the other party, how the other party sees us, and the situation are critical in determining how interviews progress and whether desired outcomes are achieved. We must acknowledge and adapt to the influence of outside forces.

Interviewer and interviewee must be flexible and adaptable in choosing which approach to take (directive, nondirective, or a combination) not only because each party is unique and each situation is different, but because each party is molded and affected by demographics such as age, sex, race, and culture. This chapter has tried to enhance your awareness of how demographics and culture affect relationships, self-esteem, disclosure, levels of communication, language, nonverbal communication, and territoriality. In the global village of the 21st century, we must be aware of how different people and different cultures communicate.