International Journal of Applied Linguistics

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Volume 5 Issue 1 (June 1995), Pages 3-150

Asking personal questions in mock job interviews (pages 33-43)

A job interview role‐play situation was used to examine the strategies that interviewers employ when asking personal as compared to neutral questions. In the first experiment, mock interviews were conducted in either a face‐to‐face setting or over the telephone. Participants played the role of an interviewer and a confederate acted as the interviewee. The hypotheses tested were: 1) personal questions would be asked later than neutral questions; 2) more hesitation markers, tag questions and hedges would be used when asking personal questions than for neutral ones; 3) the behaviours hypothesised above would be more pronounced in the face‐to‐face than in the telephone setting. Support was found for the first two hypotheses but not for the third. In order to examine whether or not hypothesis 2 (hesitation markers, tag questions and hedges) was confounded by hypothesis 1 (order effect), a second experiment was carried out in which the order of personal and neutral questions was randomised across subjects. The results confirmed hypothesis 2.

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