The significance of mastering the proper interviewing techniques cannot be overestimated. When a social worker knows the essential peculiarities of communication and is aware of the newest communication theories, he or she is more likely to help the people. It is vital to constantly upgrade one’s knowledge of interviewing techniques and assess one’s abilities. Knowing the limitations of one’s methods may help the social worker to find ways of overcoming them. Thus, feedback from colleagues and persistent work upon improving one’s skills are the factors that can greatly assist in shaping the interviewing techniques.
Effective interviewing involves much more than it may seem at first sight. It does not only mean asking questions and noting the answers. Some of the biggest challenges met by social workers are mastering the ability to paraphrase and provide empathetic responses. Empathy presupposes the understanding and evaluation of the client’s situation (Summers 120). An empathetic response involves hearing beyond what the person is saying, which is frequently a challenging task. Paraphrasing presents another challenge as not all social workers know how to apply it and reach a better agreement with the client (A. Evans et al. 586).
What concerns the skills I have developed throughout the course, I would like to mention eye contact and the flow of the interview. I did not use to realize how important eye contact is during an interview. When a social worker does not maintain eye contact with a visitor, he/she may think that the interviewer is not interested in his/her case (D. Evans et al. 27). Thus, it is necessary to keep eye contact which will assure the clients that the interviewer is interested and supportive. Another skill I improved throughout the course is the flow of the interview. I used to let the clients speak uninterruptedly or ask questions which could sometimes change the course of the interview. Not I realize how important it is not to let anyone (me or the client) distract and alter the flow of the conversation.
Still, there are two skills I feel unconfident about and would like to improve. They are paraphrasing and giving appropriate emphatic responses. I need to learn to paraphrase to sound more understanding and sympathetic at the interviews. Emphatic responses skill is needed for my better comprehension of the clients’ problems. I plan to develop these skills by reading related articles and book chapters and asking for advice from my colleagues. Using specific literature and taking lessons from people’s personal experience will be the best ways of improving my interviewing techniques.
Quality interviewing and case management are not only the means of communication with the clients. Appropriately chosen interviewing techniques and correctly applied management skills can help create social change in our professional area. If social workers do their best to pick the right methods and to use them in practice, they will help a lot of people to relieve their stress and pressure. Such changes will lead to having a more healthy and satisfied society. Also, people will become more willing to share their issues with the social workers if they feel a positive attitude and if they see that the interviews are bringing beneficial outcomes. Therefore, it is of outstanding importance for social workers to develop and constantly upgrade their communication and interviewing skills.
Evans, Angela D., et al. “The Use of Paraphrasing in Investigative Interviews.” Child Abuse and Neglect, vol. 34, no. 8, 2010, pp. 585-592.
Evans, David R., et al. Essential Interviewing: A Programmed Approach to Effective Communication. 9th ed., Cengage Learning, 2017.
Summers, Nancy. Fundamentals of Case Management Practice: Skills for the Human Services. 5th ed., Cengage Learning, 2016.