Tag Archives: i do face to face interviews

An easy life

‘You are living an easy life, aren’t you? You ain’t doing nothing!’

the old man said. I pass his house every day when I walk or run* with my dogs. When he and his dog are out in his front yard, I stop and talk, so my dogs get this beautiful rare chance to hang out with another dog that, albeit a bit cranky, doesn’t behave like an erratic maniac like many other dogs around here.

 
Most of what the old man says is difficult to hear, because his voice is like a soft, mumbling creek of linked words strayed with Aussie idioms, and garden noises in the surroundings zap out some of them too. However, I usually manage to pick up enough key words here and there to estimate what we’re talking about, and make friendly expressions and statements (one syllable is sufficient) every now and again to prove my participation in the conversation.

I like him, and I like listening to him.  He is a bit like my grand mother (R.I.P), and I enjoy seeing his joy about having someone to talk to, while my dogs have a great time relaxing in the grass and pestering their ‘friend’.

The above quote is one of the sentences that I did hear in full, and I’m pretty sure that’s what he said. Slightly insulted, I told him that I work as a research interviewer with variable hours, I ain’t ‘ain’t doing nothing’. ‘OK’, he said, and maybe something along the lines of ‘that sounds like a great job’.
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Face to face interviewer job – Performance review

Muppet - Performance review
Image source: Muppet character found on Good Fun Mania

 
I have survived my second in-field evaluation / performance review for the interviewer job. It went surprisingly well. The first did too… so maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised anymore. I guess it means that I’m actually good at this job.

I just counted that I have done over 100 face to face interviews in private homes if I include the ones I did for my BA thesis and another student project back in the uni days. And I think I have the hang of it!

 
In-field evaluations of a face to face interviewer job…

The in-field interviewer performance evaluations take place as follows:

First, my supervisor emails me to say that the time is up for a new evaluation and asks for the address and time of my next interviews. Then we meet there & then, and she follows me around like a shadow, taking notes. She doesn’t interact with respondents but tries to be like a fly in the air*. And yes, it makes me nervous.
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The bush neighbourhood and the dog pound

The neighbourhood I currently drive in for the interviewer job is down a long no-through road that branches into a network of curvy, secluded no-through roads on the edge of bushland. The suburb is semi-rural with paddocks with grazing horses, cattle and sheep as well as stretches with bush and forest, and no street lights after a certain point. Evenings are dark and quiet apart from the sounds of birds and insects in the forest alongside the road, and the air smells dry and fore-sty.

 

bushapes

 
When I drive out there after dark I actually keep my car doors locked*. I have a strong LED torch handy and have finally unpacked the pocket alarm I got from my employer to carry it with the work equipment. What do a female Scandinavian like me know about Australian stranger danger…  The bush is a deep unknown space where people can disappear without a trace**.

The houses sit on large blocks of land behind long driveways and large rugged front lawns; often fully fenced. It doesn’t look like a rich suburb despite the large properties; many houses look old and wooden with DIY extensions, and some have caravans and rusty cars huddling around them.

 
Neighbourhood assumptions

Here are my assumptions about people who have chosen to settle in this type of neighbourhood:

  • They like nature and serenity
  • They prefer to be left alone by people
  • They have big guard dogs to protect against intruders

Guard dogs is the real potential danger; a highly unpredictable variable. Here are my strategies  for minimising dog risks:

 
Dog Danger Avoidance Strategies

From the perspective of a resident dog, everything is wrong with the presence and behaviour of me entering its territory. Trespassing, snooping around, being a stranger, even nervous (although I try to hide it)… It is its job to keep me out.

For that reason, I’m armed with dog treats when I enter an unknown property (hoping that all dogs take bribes). Before I enter the gate of a fenced property, I whistle and call to lure potential dogs out in the open, and if I see any, talk to them with my most friendly, light-pitched, gentle voice.  I continue to whistle and call calmly as I walk up the driveway to show potentials dogs that I am unworried and not trying to sneak up on anyone.

So far it works, but I haven’t yet had to enter a property with rottweilers or one of the humongous sized Neapoletan Mastiff-type dogs I have seen.

 

neapolitan mastiff

 
 
Stray dog dramas

On the first few days driving in the area a different type of dog drama came up:

On the second day a couple of stray dobermann crosses appeared from the bush and followed my car. I was driving slowly, looking for addresses with open windows, music in the radio and dog treats in the driver’s door. They disappeared into the bush again after a while.

The next day, when I stopped the car to write an address in Google Maps, a Staffy X-like little dog came over. It had severe Mange with almost half of the fur missing on it back and was underweight, shy and very hungry. I gave it some treats and tried to grab the collar so I could see if there was a name tag (there wasn’t), but it was scared and bolted when I reached out***.
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