This job is sometimes referred to by alternative titles
Survey interviewers collect facts and opinions by interviewing people. They conduct interviews for market research companies and other organisations.
New survey interviewers usually earn
$15-$19 per hour
Experienced survey interviewers usually earn
$20-$40 per hour
Source: Trade Me, 'Salary Guide', September 2015.
Current job prospects
How many people are doing this job?
Source: Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, '2003-2012 Occupation Data' (prepared for Careers New Zealand), 2012.
Pay for survey interviewers varies depending on experience.
- Those starting out usually earn between $15 and $19 an hour.
- Experienced survey interviewers may earn between $20 and $40.
Some companies offer performance incentives and long-service incentives.
Some experienced survey interviewers are self-employed. They contract their services to market research companies for an hourly rate, which is usually between $20 and $40.
Source: Trade Me, 'Salary Guide', September 2015.
- MoreBusiness.com website - use this calculator to convert pay and salary information
- Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment - information on minimum pay rates
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the figures and diagrams in our job information)
What you will do
Survey interviewers may do some or all of the following:
- phone people to make appointments for interviews
- interview people in person or by telephone at their home or business
- approach and interview people in the street, or other public places such as railway stations or shopping centres
- ask set questions on the survey questionnaire
- record the answers on a survey form, computer or tablet
- keep a record of the interview for the survey supervisor.
Skills and knowledge
Survey interviewers need to have:
- knowledge of their interview topic and different interview methods
- good communication and people skills for dealing with a wide variety of people
- good listening skills for accurately recording information
- research and writing skills, including the ability to spell correctly
- good keyboard and computer skills.
- may work full time, part time or on a casual basis
- work in many different locations including market research company offices and call centres. They may also conduct surveys in people's homes or on the street
- sometimes travel locally or nationally to conduct surveys
- may be required to complete a set number of interviews within a certain time frame, which can make the work pressured.
What's the job really like?
Rochelle Tapuai - Survey Interviewer
A job that's great for building people skills
Rochelle Tapuai works as a survey interviewer for a large market research company. "My job is to ring up a random selection of people and interview them about their opinions on current issues in New Zealand or a company’s products or services. Our clients then use that information to better their customer services or improve their business.
"Being able to talk to different respondents and hearing so many different points of view helps you deal with people and understand the different ways people think."
Remaining polite in difficult circumstances can be challenging
"You need to have patience and be persistent with your respondents. Sometimes when they refuse to talk to you or are quite rude you can take it personally. But you have to remember that you’re representing your company and your client, so it’s important to make sure you’re always polite."
Efficient multitasking is key
"We also have to take down everything our respondents say verbatim. So fast typing skills and an eye for detail are important to ensure you take down their answers accurately. But I get given a lot of training and support so I feel confident in what I’m doing."
Survey interviewers usually train on the job. However, to become a survey interviewer you may also need:
- a good standard of spoken and written English
- good keyboard and computer skills
- a driver's licence.
There are no specific secondary education requirements for this job. However, NCEA Level 1 English and maths are preferred.
Survey interviewers need to be:
- outgoing, confident and motivated
- tactful, polite and friendly
- able to put people at ease
- persistent and patient
- able to follow instructions
- accurate and honest when recording information
- able to keep information private
- good at planning and organising.
You need to be cheerful, positive and well-presented, because if you knock on someone's door looking scruffy and in a grump, they're not going to invite you into their home.
Janet Lawson - Survey Interviewer
Useful experience for survey interviewers includes:
- public relations work
- hospitality work.
Survey interviewers must be fit and healthy as they may need to walk long distances. Good hearing is also important.
Telephone interviewers need to be able to sit for long periods.
Find out more about training
- Market Research Society of New Zealand
- (09) 476 0439 - firstname.lastname@example.org - www.mrsnz.org
- New Zealand Institute of Sales
- (09) 887 4155 - www.instituteofsales.co.nz
- New Zealand Marketing Association
- (09) 361 7760 - email@example.com - www.marketing.org.nz
Check out related courses
What are the chances of getting a job?
Despite a gradual decline in the number of people working as survey interviewers, vacancies often arise because many survey interviewers work on a casual or part-time basis, and only stay in the job for short periods.
Numbers are falling due to:
- online surveys becoming increasingly popular, reducing the need for interviewer-assisted surveys
- some companies using cheaper overseas call centres, to cut costs
- inconsistent spending on market research.
Short-term opportunities arise every five years when survey interviewers are needed for Census work. The last Census was in 2013.
Types of employers varied
Survey interviewers may work for:
- research firms
- large private companies
- government departments.
Some experienced survey interviewers are self-employed and work on contract.
- Herbert, M, human resources manager, AC Nielsen New Zealand, Careers New Zealand interview, June 2015.
- Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, '2006-2014 Occupation Data' (prepared for Careers New Zealand), 2015.
- Statistics New Zealand, 'Census of Population and Dwellings', 2014, (www.stats.govt.nz).
Progression and specialisations
Survey interviewers may progress to supervisory, fieldwork project management, or market research analyst roles, as well as telemarketer work.
Last updated 2 September 2016