As always, you can find our longer notes on our blog:
wordsandactions.blog. In this episode, we discuss job interviews.
In the introduction, Bernard mentions the finding that employers
give lower ratings to candidates who interview on video. This is
Blacksmith, N., Willford, J. C., & Behrend, T. S. (2016).
Technology in the employment interview: A meta-analysis and future
research agenda. Personnel Assessment and Decisions, 2(1), Article
2. Available at:
The first part of the episode also features a short interview
with Dorottya Cserző, whose recently completed PhD thesis was on
video chats. Her relevant publications are:
Cserzo, D. (2016). Nexus analysis meets scales: An exploration
of sites of engagement in videochat interviews. In Singh, J. N.,
Kantara, A., & Cserző, D. (eds) Downscaling Culture: Revisiting
intercultural communication. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars, pp.
Cserzo, D. (2020). Intimacy at a distance: Multimodal meaning
making in video chat tours. In Thurlow, C., Durscheid, C., &
Diemoz, F. (eds) Visualizing Digital Discourse: Interactional,
institutional and ideological perspectives. Berlin: Mouton
DeGruyter, pp. 151-169.
In reply, Dorottya cites research on sound vs image problems
in video chats:
Rintel, S. (2010). Conversational management of network
trouble perturbations in personal videoconferencing. ACM
International Conference Proceeding Series, 304–311.
Rintel, S. (2013). Video Calling in Long-Distance
Relationships : The Opportunistic Use of Audio / Video Distortions
as a Relational Resource. The Electronic Journal of Communication,
23(1 & 2).
Still in the first part, we introduce the cooperative
principle and conversational maxims (see glossary). The series Big
Bang Theory includes lots of examples where the main character
breaks one or several of those maxims, e.g. in this clip:
identify which maxim(s) he breaks?
The second part of the episode features an interview with
linguist Celia Roberts. (There is also a sociologist of the same
name, and a colleague of one of the hosts once declared that he
would like to supervise a PhD student who could be examined by both
Celias.) As an emerita professor, she can look back on a number of
projects and publications; the ones most relevant to the topic of
job interviews are (in chronological order):
Roberts, C. (1985). The Interview Game and How It's
Played. London: British Broadcasting Corporation.
Roberts, C., & Sarangi, S. (1999). Hybridity in
gatekeeping discourse: Issues of practical relevance for the
researcher. In Sarangi, S., & Roberts, C. (eds) Talk, Work and
Institutional order. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, pp. 473-503.
Roberts, C., & Campbell, S. (2005). Fitting stories into
boxes: Rhetorical and textual constraints on candidates'
performances in British job interviews. Journal of Applied
Linguistics, 2(1), 45-73.
Campbell, S., & Roberts, C. (2007). Migration, ethnicity
and competing discourses in the job interview: Synthesizing the
institutional and personal. Discourse & Society, 18(3),
Roberts, C. (2011). ‘Taking ownership’: Language and ethnicity
in the job interview. In Pelsmaekers, K., Rollo, C., Von Hout, T.,
& Heynderickx, P. (eds) Displaying Competence in Organizations:
Discourse perspectives. Basingstoke: Palgrave, pp.
Roberts, C. (2013). The gatekeeping of Babel: Job interviews
and the linguistic penalty. In Duchêne, A., Moyer, M., &
Roberts, C. (eds) Language, Migration and Social Inequalities: A
critical sociolinguistic perspective on institutions and work.
Bristol: Multilingual Matters, pp. 81-94. [A summary by Ingrid
Piller can be found here:
In the interview, Celia refers to the notion of the
‘entrepreneurial self’, which was advanced both by Paul Du Gay and,
in German, by Ulrich Bröckling:
Bröckling, U. (2013). Das unternehmerische Selbst: Soziologie
einer Subjektivierungsform. [The entrepreneurial self: Sociology of
a form of subjectivation] Frankfurt a. M.: Suhrkamp.
Du Gay, P. (1996). Organizing identity: Entrepreneurial
governance and public management. In Hall, S., & Du Gay, P.
(eds) Questions of Cultural Identity. London: SAGE, pp.
Celia uses a number of metaphors to talk about the interview
process and the positions of interviewer and interviewee. One is
that of the Roman god Janus, who is depicted with two faces looking
in different directions.
Unfortunately, the FAQ video that she mentions is not publicly
We hope you enjoyed the mini-series and indeed the whole of
our first season. Say hi to us on our twitter @_wordsactions_ or on
our Facebook page: @WordsandActionsPodcast.
See you again for the start of our new season in