The Effect of Interviewer Experience, Attitudes, Personality and Skills on Respondent Co-operation with Face-to-Face Surveys

Annette Jäckle, Peter Lynn, Jennifer Sinibaldi, Sarah Tipping


This paper examines the role of interviewers' experience, attitudes, personality traits and inter-personal skills in determining survey co-operation, conditional on contact. We take the perspective that these characteristics influence interviewers' behaviour and hence influence the doorstep interaction between interviewer and sample member. Previous studies of the association between doorstep behaviour and co-operation have not directly addressed the role of personality traits and inter-personal skills and most have been based on small samples of interviewers. We use a large sample of 842 face-to-face interviewers working for a major survey institute and analyse co-operation outcomes for over 100,000 cases contacted by those interviewers over a 13-month period. We find evidence of effects of experience, attitudes, personality traits and inter-personal skills on co-operation rates. Several of the effects of attitudes and inter-personal skills are explained by differences in experience, though some independent effects remain. The role of attitudes, personality and skills seems to be greatest for the least experienced interviewers.


nonresponse; interviewer survey; Big 5 personality traits

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