Cultural Background Interview Essay Questions


I interviewed "Flamingo," a Filipino women, in her mid-60's, married to a Filipino man, upper-class (i.e. both doctors), Catholic background, who immigrated to the U.S. from her native land - the Philippines.

I'd like to clarify before I go any further that there was a definite "cultural communication barrier" in that "Flamingo" had difficulty understanding several of the questions & my attempts to rephrase the questions unfortunately did not seem to be helpful. With that in mind, here is what I was able to gather from the interview, which I might add, I found to be very intriguing!!

Flamingo was able to go into great detail regarding the 1st question, which proves to be the heart of my interview:

What kind of traditions & rituals do you have to commemorate a death? "After a death there is a 10 day rosery in which a group of people (i.e. both immediate & extended family), get together at the home of the deceased & have daily prayer meetings to honor the deceased." What I found to be extremely facinating is that the body of the deceased remained (embalmed -spelling?) in the house during these 10 days of prayer.

There are other facets of this ritual/tradition as well. For example, everyone in the family must wear black for one year. This includes gender expectations & variations in that men must wear black around their arm and women must wear a black cloth. In addition, during this year, there are to be no marriages or party's (i.e. no celebrations of any kind).

When I asked Flamingo, "how she felt about life after death" - she became somewhat "giddy" (e.g. she giggled & seemed a little embarrassed) in that she wasn't quite sure how she felt about it. She said that some of her family (i.e. grandma, aunt) believes in this concept because they claimed that they actually heard a voice once coming from a

cousin that had died. She said that she's also heard about it on "those shows" on T.V. She concluded by saying, "I don't know, I guess it's true, the "people" say it's true."

"Critique" of interview:

I really enjoyed this "task." I found the interview fascinating & the cultural differences between myself and "Flamingo" to be astounding!! What I found to be so interesting (as a result of this interview & from our readings) is that despite our cultural & gender differences, we still all share the same goal(s): to make sense of the grieving process & to get on with our lives; not to be mistaken w/letting go or forgetting about the deceased but somehow integrating this "new" relationship w/the deceased into our lives in such a way that will enable us to lead our lives in a more "manageable" way.

I think that Shapiro describes more eloquently what I'm referring to as common cultural "goals" as, "the utility of cultural practices (e.g. rituals/traditions) as a means of helping families as they cope w/a loss in order to enable the family to move through the tasks they need to accomplish in order to successfully deal w/the loss."

Return to Cultural Interviews
Written for Grief in a Family Context, HPER F460, Summer, 1998.
1998, Paige Phelps. All rights reserved. Interested parties may contact her through the course instructor, at

Personal Interview Questions and Sample Answers

When you go on a job interview, in addition to being asked job interview questions about your employment history, your skills and qualifications for the job, your educational background, and your goals for the future, you'll also be asked personal interview questions.

What You'll Be Asked About

These will be questions about you personally - your personality, your work style and work ethic, how you handle stress, what you expect from an employer, and how you handle certain situations.

When an employer asks questions about you and how you work, they are trying to determine if you're a good match for both the job and the company culture. For example, if the role requires someone who is flexible and can work as many hours as needed to get the job done, but you can't commit to the overtime, you may not be the right person for the position.

There aren't any right or wrong answers to these interview questions, but do be sure your responses match what you know about the job and the company. The company is looking for candidates who match their requirements and the closer you fit the job description, the more competitive you'll be.

One caveat, however – try to answer each question as honestly as you can, both as you do these exercises and when you are actually answering these questions in an interview. It generally doesn’t work to try to pretend to be someone you are not in order to land a job.

Use the Questions to Help Decide if You Want the Job

Interviewing works both ways, and you can use these questions as a way to determine if the job is what you're looking for in your next position. These types of interview questions can help you - as well as the hiring manager - determine if the role is a good match for what you're looking for in your next job.

Before you head out to a job interview, review these personal interview questions and sample answers to get an idea of what you'll be asked and the best way to respond.

Examples of Personal Interview Questions

  • How would you describe the pace at which you work? - Best Answers
  • Do you prefer to work independently or on a team? - Best Answers
  • Give some examples of teamwork. - Best Answers
  • What type of work environment do you prefer? - Best Answers
  • If you knew your boss were 100% wrong about something, how would you handle it? - Best Answers
  • Describe a difficult work situation/project and how you overcame it. - Best Answers
  • Describe a time when your workload was heavy and how you handled it. - Best Answers
  • More job interview questions about your abilities. - Best Answers
  • More job interview questions about you. - Best Answers

Once you have sat down and come up with honest answers to these questions, you can feel confident in your ability to answer almost any question that will be directed your way during a professional job interview.

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