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Education and Training: High school

Salary: Median—$23,670 to $33,114 per year

Employment Outlook: Fair

Definition and Nature of the Work

Interviewers assist people with such tasks as opening bank accounts and filling out medical documents, charge account applications, consumer surveys, and other forms. Interviewers may work for financial institutions (such as banks or credit unions), health-care facilities, market research companies, or the government.

Job responsibilities include gathering and verifying information, creating files, and performing processing tasks. The type of employer determines the specific duties of interviewers. Admitting interviewers work in hospitals, clinics, or doctors' offices. They gather information for patients' admissions, fill out discharge records, and process payments. Interviewers working in outpatient areas may also schedule appointments, provide general information, and escort patients. Market research interviewers usually work for market research firms conducting surveys on various topics. They interview people using a prepared list of questions and forward the results to their employer. Eligibility interviewers work for the government and assess the eligibility of individuals who would like to take part in government assistance programs such as welfare and public housing. They gather financial and personal information on the applicants and determine if they qualify for government aid.

Education and Training Requirements

Most employers expect interviewers to have a high school diploma, although there are no formal educational requirements. Courses in word processing and a familiarity with computers are valuable. Interviewers must have good communication skills and a strong command of the English language. They must also be detail oriented. Some experi ence with telemarketing or other telephone-oriented work is an advantage. Employers generally provide on-the-job training.

Getting the Job

Interested individuals can consult the classified ads in local newspapers or Internet job sites for job openings. They can also apply in person to the personnel offices of financial, medical, or research companies.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

Successful interviewers can become supervisors. Advancement to other positions within the financial, medical, or marketing fields is possible with additional training and education.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 515,000 interviewers were employed in the United States in 2004. Employment of interviewers was expected to grow more slowly than average for all occupations through the year 2014. Employment growth for interviewers should vary by industry, but it was expected to be fastest in the health-care industry and social assistance sectors. The slowest growth rates were anticipated in the financial sector. Many new jobs for interviewers should become available with personnel services, since more companies are contracting out for clerking services instead of maintaining a full-time staff.

Working Conditions

Full-time interviewers usually work a forty-hour week in offices or at designatedworkstations. Much of the work is routine. Interviewers may sit for long periods, often in front of a computer screen from which they access information while dealing with customers on the phone. They communicate with individuals in person, by telephone, or by mail. Angry or upset customers can make the job stressful at times. Many interviewers work part time.

Where to Go for More Information

American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, AFL–CIO
1625 L St. NW
Washington, DC 20036-5687
(202) 429-1000

Service Employees International Union
1313 L St. NW
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 898-3200

Earnings and Benefits

In 2004 the average annual salary for interviewers varied depending on the industry. Eligibility interviewers for the government earned the most, with a median annual salary of $33,114, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The median salary for interviewers who did not work in the financial industry or for government eligibility programs was $23,670 per year. Interviewers receive standard benefits packages, which generally include health insurance, paid vacations, and a retirement plan.

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