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Become an NORC Field Interviewer

NORC field interviewers are vital to our nationwide survey research operation. They talk to people from every conceivable walk of life—by telephone and in person—to obtain information on issues like health care, employment, and education.

 


 

The work we do at NORC has lasting social significance, and the data we gather helps legislators and others involved in setting policy make informed decisions for the welfare of all Americans in an increasingly complex society.

The interview is the basic tool by which we are able to provide this data and the interviewer is the one who makes it all possible.

Our field interviewers tell us they enjoy meeting all kinds of people and seeing America from different points of view. If you are curious about the world around you, are open to meeting new people, and like facing new challenges, this may well be the job for you.

Job Requirements for Field Interviewers

In addition to meeting specific job requirements, employees hired for this position must present evidence of their identity and authorization to work in the United States (I9 documentation) and must undergo a background check. We also require: a valid drivers license (exceptions can be made for applicants from major urban centers such as New York City), proof of auto liability insurance and unlimited use of an automobile in good working condition; a working home phone number; ability to carry a laptop computer and survey documents and supplies, and availability to attend in-person, paid training sessions (no exceptions).

NORC is an affirmative action, equal opportunity employer that values and actively seeks diversity in the workforce.  We evaluate qualified applicants without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, veteran status and other legally-protected characteristics.

Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming a Field Interviewer at NORC

What do NORC interviewers do?

​Our interviewers are the backbone of our nationwide survey research operation. They talk to people from every conceivable walk of life—either by telephone or in person—to obtain information on issues that will affect social policy. The people being surveyed, who are called respondents, are chosen through a complex scientific sampling procedure. Interviewers administer carefully developed, field-tested questionnaires to respondents. These questions will either be printed, on laptop computers or other digital devices. Interviewers are responsible for protecting respondents’ privacy by keeping their answers confidential. Interviewers also keep accurate records and give reports on their work, usually through weekly calls to a Field Manager.

How much are interviewers paid?

​​Interviewers are paid at a starting rate determined by their geographical area and their qualifications. Interviewers are paid on an hourly basis for all authorized time on an assignment, and reimbursed for all necessary expenses such as mileage, postage, and telephone calls. Their work is monitored and evaluated on an ongoing basis. At the end of the year, interviewers in good standing may receive an increase in pay in accordance with their performance and NORC’s guidelines for that year.

What hours do interviewers work?

​Interviewers’ work hours are scheduled according to the demands of NORC’s individual project deadlines. However, Interviewers may set their own work schedule, within certain limits. Interviews must frequently be conducted in the evenings and on weekends—or whenever the respondents are most likely to be at home and available.

How much work are we talking about?

​The amount of work depends on the specific assignment and on how much time NORC has available to do the interviewing it has been contracted to conduct. Expect the schedule to be extremely variable. Some months there may be no assignments. In other months Interviewers are asked to work 20 hours per week or less. Sometimes they are even asked to work 40 hours in a given week.

What about training?

​NORC’s experienced managers train people to become expert Interviewers. All newly hired Interviewers receive general training. In addition, each project requires several hours of study at home and/or attendance at a project training session (often in another city). NORC pays expenses for these training sessions. Interviewers must successfully complete all required training as a prerequisite to continued employment.

What benefits are available?

​See the benefits available to Field Interviewers, including retirement savings and limited health benefits.

Why do some people decide interviewing is not for them?

​The job of interviewing has much to offer—in terms of challenge, interest, flexibility, and a chance to be part of important work. But it also has some features that may be less attractive to some people. Before applying, we ask that you take a moment to think about these aspects of the job. While interviewing is rarely boring, it can be difficult, tiring, and stressful. You will be asked to conduct a specific number of interviews during a specific time period regardless of bad weather, bad roads, and other obstacles. Most respondents are cooperative and many are delighted to participate in a survey, but others will be difficult. You must feel comfortable knocking on strangers’ doors, often in unfamiliar neighborhoods. You will frequently be asked to work evenings and weekends. The job also involves considerable clerical work, which must be performed with meticulous care. Finally, remember that interviewing is not regular “part-time” work in the traditional sense. Only rarely will a survey need interviewers for three or four hours a day, five days a week. If you can’t fit your personal life around the highly irregular schedules that our field periods demand, this job will not be a good fit for you. We ask that you think carefully about whether you will be happy in a position with these challenges and constraints. Interviewing can be a highly rewarding profession, but it isn’t for everyone.

Still interested in being a field interviewer?

NORC is looking for self-motivated, reliable, outgoing, persuasive people who are good time managers. Work for interviewers is most often sporadic, so applicants must be available for part/fulltime work and have a very flexible schedule in order to interview respondents when they are available.

The position requires that interviewers gain the cooperation of respondents, often at their front doors, although there is no product or service selling. Field interviewers prepare weekly reports for their Field Manager. The report includes analysis of case progress as well as Interviewer hours and expenses. The Field Manager works closely with Interviewers to assist with field problems, help build interviewing skills, and prepare for upcoming projects.

Current Job Opportunities

View all Field Operations job opportunities at NORC's Career Central website