Chapter 4Juggling “I”s and “we”s with “he”s and “she”s
Negotiating novice professional identities in stories of teamwork told in New Zealand job interviews
Teamwork is perennially among graduate employers’ most wished-for competencies, and how candidates respond to teamwork questions can be pivotal to success or failure. This chapter addresses novice interviewees’ struggles to construct professional competence in line with the normative expectations of the competency framework. Drawing on a corpus of 30 graduate interviews collected in New Zealand, the analysis highlights the discursive struggle to balance individual and team identities in orienting to achievements and difficulties, explored in terms of Bamberg’s (2011) three identity dilemmas: sameness/difference, agency/control, and constancy/change. It reveals how identities are talked into being in the tension between the “we” and the “I”, in attributing blame and in acknowledging a learning outcome, which are crucial to constructing an employable identity.
- Identity struggles in job interviews
- Competency-based interviews
The graduate recruitment context
- Theoretical background
- Data and methodology
- Identity Dilemma 1
- Identity Dilemma 2
- Identity Dilemma 3
- Discussion and conclusion
1988 Styles of Success: On Impression Management as Collaborative Action in Job Interviews
. Linkoping: Linkoping University.
Akinnaso, F. Niyi and Ajirotutu, Cheryl S.
“Performance and ethnic style in job interviews
.” Language and Social Identity
, ed. by John Gumperz
, Cambridge: CUP
“Positioning with Davie Hogan: Stories, tellings, and identities
.” In Narrative Analysis: Studying the Development of Individuals in Society
, ed. by Colette Daiute
and Cynthia Lightfoot
, 135–157. London: Sage.
“Who am I? Narration and its contribution to self and identity
”. Theory and Psychology
21 (1): 3–24.
“Narrative Practices and their Analysis
.” Plenary paper presented at 13th International Pragmatics Conference, New Delhi.
Campbell, Sarah, and Celia Roberts
“Migration, ethnicity and competing discourses in the job interview: Synthesizing the institutional and personal
.” Discourse and Society
2012 Skills Employers are Looking For
. Retrieved from [URL]
Champy, James A.
1995 Re-engineering Management: The Mandate for New Leadership
. New York: Harper Business
2014 Narrative Analysis
. Abingdon; New York: Routledge.
Drew, Paul and John Heritage
1992 Talk at Work: Interactions in Institutional Setttings
. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press.
Erickson, Frederick, and Jeffrey Schultz
1982 The Counselor as Gatekeeper: Social Interaction in Interviews
. New York: Academic Press.
Gee, James P., Glynda, A. Hull and Colin Lankshear
1996 The New Work Order: Behind the Language of the New Capitalism
. St. Leonards, N.S.W.: Allen and Unwin.
He, Agnes Weiyun
“Co-constructing institutional identities: The case of student counselees
.” Research on Language and Social Interaction
28 (3): 213–231.
, “Formalising organizational meaning
”. Discourse and Society
10 (1): 49–65.
“The patterned behavior description interview: The best prophet of the future is the past
”. In The Employment Interview: Theory, Research, and Practice
, ed. by Robert W. Eder
and Gerald R. Ferris
, 158–168. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Levinson, Stephen C.
“Activity types and language
Kerekes, Julie A.
“Winning an interviewer’s trust in a gatekeeping encounter
.” Language in Society
“Talking back: ‘Small’ interactional response tokens in everyday conversation
”. Research on Language in Social Interaction
36 (1): 33–63.
McLachlan, Murray, Stewart Forsyth and Linda Cassells
1992 Job Winning in New Zealand
. Auckland, N.Z.: Penguin Books.
Merman, Stephen K., and John E. McLaughlin
1982 Out-interviewing the Interviewer: A Job-winner’s Script for Success
. Englewood Cliffs, N.J: Prentice Hall.
Ochs, Elinor and Lisa Capps
2001 Living Narrative: Creating Lives in Everyday Storytelling
. Cambridge, MA: HUP
Rees, Claire, Forbes, Peter and Bianca Kubler
2006 Student Employability Profiles: A Guide for Higher Education Practitioners
. York: The Higher Education Academy, in association with the Council for Industry and Higher Education (CIHE) and Graduate Prospects.
2010 Communicative strategies in the behavioural job interview: The influence of discourse norms on graduate recruitment
. Unpublished PhD thesis, The University of Auckland.
1985 The Interview Game and How it’s Played
. London: BBC.
Roberts, Celia, and Sarah Campbell
2006 Talk On Trial: Job Interviews, Language and Ethnicity
. Leeds: Corporate Document Services.
Sarangi, Srikant, and Celia Roberts
(eds) 1999 Talk, Work and Institutional Order: Discourse in Medical, Mediation and Management Settings
. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
2006 In Other Words: Variation in Reference and Narrative
, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
2013 Exploring Professional Communication: Language in Action
. London: Routledge.
‘“It’s not necessarily the words you say…it’s your presentation”: Teaching the interactional text of the job interview
.” Journal of Pragmatics
39 (11), 1974–1992.
The University of Auckland. n.d.
. Retrieved from [URL]
Tucker, Richard, and Neda Abbasi
“The architecture of teamwork: Examining relationships between teaching, assessment, student learning and satisfaction with creative design outcomes
.” Architectural Engineering and Design Management
Vic Careers: Career Development and Employment. n.d.
Employment Skills Survey
. Victoria University Wellington. Retrieved from: [URL]
Cited by 3 other publications
Greenbank, Emily & Meredith Marra
. Addressing societal discourses: negotiating an employable identity as a former refugee
. Language and Intercultural Communication
pp. 110 ff.
This list is based on CrossRef data as of 9 november 2023. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers.
Any errors therein should be reported to them.