Social Survey Data Collection

4. Interviewer Training

Though there are many ways in which training of new interviewers can take place, there are always some important aspects that need to be covered. For example, there tend to be three stages in the training of a survey interviewer.

  • Stage 1: Basic or formal introductory training
  • Stage 2: On the job training
  • Stage 3: Survey specific training

The first two mainly cover the generic skills of an interviewer, while the latter represents the information they need to carry out a specific study.  These can be carried out sequentially, although it is likely that stages 2 and 3 will be done in a complementary manner.

Stage 1: Basic or Formal Introductory Training

At a minimum, formal generic training should cover the following:

  • How to organize workloads;
  • Establishing contact and gaining co-operation;
  • Conducting the interview;
  • Interviewing techniques and methods of recording responses.

In addition, initial training will also likely cover the administrative tasks required to fulfil the job.  Some of these will be related to the survey process, such as how to return work to the office, but it will also cover tasks like how to make pay and expenses claims.  For the new starter, the latter will be very important.  Since most new starters will inevitably find the job difficult in the first few weeks and months, mainly because they will find it hard coping with rejection on the doorstep, it is in the survey organization’s best interest to make sure that the processes for supporting their staff work correctly from the outset.  Difficulties with getting paid or delays in processing expense claims have the potential to be tipping points in an interviewer’s decision to voluntarily leave the job.