Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Karen Tracy

Second Advisor

Cindy White

Third Advisor

David Boromisza-Habashi


This research study investigated communication in job interviews in an employment agency from a practical perspective and a critical perspective by conducting an interpretive discourse analysis which characterizes the job interview as a speech event and analyzes interactional strategies the applicant uses to make a positive impression, communicative problems which occur during social interaction in this context, and how identity influences social interaction and the outcomes of job interviews. The job interview is a test of the applicant's verbal skills, and the interviewer's expectations for those skills are analyzed and defined as Applicant Communicative Competence (ACC). This discourse analysis identified communicative patterns for 20 applicants in temporary employment interviews and found that identity is a factor which can cause problems between interlocutors with dissimilar identities.