Note: There’s two parts to the weekly interview assignment: the written summary (worth 40 points) and the submission of the Skills Assessment Sheet (worth 10 points). Both are to be submitted SEPARATELY.
Although the main focus of this course is on counseling theories, another aspect and important component to the course involves students learning and practicing some basic interviewing skills as well. Counseling involves talking to people about their various issues, but before one can become an expert on those particular techniques, one must FIRST learn and practice some basic interviewing skills.
Each week, you will be interviewing someone about a particular topic of their choice, and throughout that interview you will be practicing some basic – yet fundamental – interviewing skills. These assignments are specifically designed for the student to experience firsthand what it is like to interview (and simply talk to) an individual. With each assignment/interview, there is a corresponding skills attending sheet that is REQUIRED to be completed.
1. Locate an adult volunteer (someone age 21 or older…NOT A CHILD) who is willing to assist you as you practice basic attending skills, questioning skills, and reflecting of feelings. Explain to your volunteer that they will assist you by simply discussing with you a topic of their choice as you practice your basic attending skills, questioning skills, and reflecting of feelings for approximately 45 minutes to one hour. Ideally, it is best to find someone EARLY in the week, tell them about the assignment, and then have them think about what they would like to talk about throughout the week. Then, after they’ve had some time, you can conduct the interview. Always plan ahead with an interview, and have the questions you would like to ask them ready BEFORE the interview begins. BE READY AHEAD OF TIME.
2. It’s advised to choose a different volunteer each week. This will teach you to become familiar with working with different clients for each interview in the future.
3. When it comes time for the interview event, chose a QUIET, formal setting, as opposed to a public event, a restaurant, a game, a movie, etc. The two of you need to be alone and focused on one another throughout this interview event.
4. Before the interview begins, advise your volunteer that you will discuss their observations with them after the practice session.
5. Print out a copy of the skills monitoring sheet BEFORE the interview. Give your volunteer the Skill Monitoring Sheet to refer to during the interview. They will be completing this form after the skill practice is over. (You will then be submitting this as a separate assignment. The skill monitoring sheet MUST be filled out by hand and signed by the person you interviewed.)
6. After the interview ends, and they complete the skill monitoring sheet, you are to write a one page (minimum) summary of the entire interview event. One COMPLETE page, no half pages, or 3/4ths of a page, with no large spaces (especially at the top and bottom of the page). NOTE: Any summary that is less than the minimum amount of one FULL page will not receive a passing score; specifically, any summary less than a full page will receive 24 points, which is a D.
7. What to include in the written summary: The interview assignments are NOT about the person you interview or even about the things that they said; rather, these interview assignments are about YOU and improving your ability to talk with individuals over long periods of time (such as in an interview or counseling session). That being said, the written summary of the interview should focus on YOU and YOUR PERFORMANCE throughout that interview.
In the beginning of the summary, BRIEFLY include the name of the person you interviewed, who they are, and how you know them. Additionally, include the topic(s) that were discussed. Following this BRIEF introductory paragraph, the remainder of the assignment (the body of the paper) should be utilized to summarize the entire event, focusing on YOU and YOUR PERFORMANCE throughout the interview.
There is much more to an interview than just the words being said. Although there are two individuals talking to one another, there are more than just spoken words occurring here: there’s your preparation work involved, the environment that the interview is taking place in, the emotions involved between both of you, the physical reactions occurring with both of you (stress, nervousness, fear, anxiety, etc.), the overall tone of the interview, and anything else that may occur during the interview. In your summary, focus on (and include) ALL of this.
What’s important here in these summaries is how YOU responded to what was occurring, and how you performed. Were you nervous? Why? Where you scared to talk to this person? Why? Was it an awkward situation? Why? Were you comfortable? Why do you feel you were? Anxious? Stumbling over your words? Include EVERYTHING, both the good and the bad. Do not sugarcoat the experience here; if it was a BAD interview, include this in the summary, and then elaborate on what you thought went wrong. And most importantly, do not forget to include how the interview even WENT. Did it go good? Did it go bad? Was it horrible? Be sure to include in the summary how it went overall.
Use a final, VERY BRIEF paragraph concerning how you are going to approach your next interview, along with what you feel you need to improve on and how you are going to follow through with that.
What NOT to include in the written summary: Most importantly, do not simply recant what another has said to you; “And then he told me about his grandma and then he said this and then he said that and then he told me…etc.” Again, this is summary is about you, not them, or what they said. Further, do not include your thoughts on the topics being presented by the person you interview. For instance, if they bring up the topic of abortion, do not write an entire paragraph dedicated to your views on the subject. Those thoughts are not related to your performance and should not be elaborated on here.
NOTE: Examples of summaries can be found on the BlackBoard course site. You can use these examples as a guide in writing your own each week.
8. Submit the summary as an attachment; do NOT type the summary into the dialogue box.
9. Complete the Skills Assessment Sheet as a separate assignment (See directions in the Assignments for each Module)