Project Title

Verbal Behaviors in Employment Interviews: Analyzing Employers’ Assessments of Interview Speech Produced by Interpreters for Deaf Applicants

Name of Award

Carol Easley Denny Award

Date Awarded

4-25-2019

Department/School

ASL and Interpreting, Communication

Project Description

Erica Alley, Assistant Professor of Interpreting Studies and Communication Equity, and Elizabeth Otto, Assistant Professor of Communication Studies, are awarded $15,000 for their project, “Verbal Behaviors in Employment Interviews: Analyzing Employers’ Assessments of Interview Speech Produced by Interpreters for Deaf Applicants.”

This project seeks to highlight the challenges faced by deaf job seekers. Majority populations obtain employment with greater success than marginalized groups because success in an employment interview is contingent on communicating in the style of dominant groups. Ideal candidate profiles that favor white, heterosexual, able-bodied, and masculine identities are seen as the self-evident “right” ways to be in employment interview contexts. In contrast, deaf job candidates face challenges because the verbal and nonverbal behaviors associated with positive impressions are mostly under the purview of an ASL-English interpreter when interviewing with a hearing employer. Using data collected from a prior study, Alley and Otto will survey employers regarding their assessments of speech produced by different ASL-English interpreters in response to the same video of a deaf job candidate answering interview questions in ASL. This work seeks to establish both the significant hurdles faced by deaf job seekers and the potential bias inherent in employer preferences related to employment interview communication.

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