Interviewing Egypt's Mubarek
Newsletter volume 1 number 1
How could we have ideas about interviewing one of the leaders in the Arab world? As is true with interviewing anyone from a culture different than ours, understanding cultural values is the starting point to understanding the individual.
At Management Team Consultants we have applied a model for understanding cultural diversity to the interview. The model comes from Edward T. Hall, author and world famous cultural anthropologist, who works with global companies like General Motors and IBM.
With this model, any interviewer can consider the culture candidates come from and how that shapes their values about individual identity, interpersonal relationships, time and communication. Hall places these four values on a continuum of high to low context. Egypt is a moderate-high context culture, in contrast with the U.S. which is moderate-low.
Most Americans have filters that can limit their understanding of someone from another culture. When we train managers, we explain the values in high or low context cultures and provide a simple device to show when filters begin to influence one's reactions to others. This awareness, coupled with other techniques, helps interviewers really understand what is happening in the interview. President Bush is welcome to call us.