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11.3 Emotional Interviewees

11.3.1In some interviews, the interviewee may become emotional. It is important to handle these responses in a calm and professional manner. Some emotional responses are:

11.3.2Anxiety - the interviewer should try to put the interviewee at ease. This could be done by allaying any undue anxiety. It may be necessary to temporarily stop the interview and wait for the person to regain his or her composure.

11.3.3Aggressiveness - try to identify and understand the reason for the aggressiveness. It may be the result of a misunderstanding which can easily be corrected. It will not help if the interviewer adopts a similarly aggressive attitude.

11.3.4Nervousness - some people deal with nervousness by being eager to talk and tell the story. The interviewer should try to determine why the person is talking so much. It may be that the person is under some kind of stress and likely to break down. It may also be that the interviewee is trying to talk his or her way out of the situation. Careful judgements may need to be made in these circumstances. A good strategy is to use questions which call for short simple answers.