The negotiation of professional identities in job interviews: (im)migrant job applicants in a Norwegian health service institution
This project aims at evaluating the role of communicative competence and language proficiency in Norwegian as a second language in the process of negotiating professional identities in job interviews. The working hypothesis is that communicative proficiency in Norwegian is a key element in the construction of migrants’ professional identities in interaction, which can often overshadow the applicant’s formal qualifications. Central to this hypothesis is the problem of the definition of ”sufficient” language proficiency , often hidden in vague formulations such as the applicants ”må beherske norsk både muntlig og skriftlig” (must be proficient in both oral and written Norwegian) (IMDI 2011).
In order to answer this question, I track two recruitment processes that take place in a Norwegian health service institution: one for a low-qualified position and one for a high- qualified. The data for analysis are the recordings of the job interviews done in relation with these recruitments. The data are analyzed by the analytical methods of Conversation Analysis, a field specialized in interaction in institutional settings, though the study is placed within the analytical paradigms of interactional sociolinguistics and, more generally, discourse analysis and identity studies.