While interviewing or being interviewed is considered a nerve-wrecking process for many, it doesn’t have to be, if you just take the time to get prepared, beforehand (Mencher, 2011). A little bit of research and preparation can mean the difference between a successful interview or an epic failure.
With that said, here are a few tips and techniques that can make the novice questioner seem like a veteran interviewer:
First things first, like the Boys Scouts, “Always be prepared.”
Prepare carefully by learning background information about the topic and the person you will be interviewing (Mencher, 2011). Look at the company website or social media posts, you can pick up some great talking points and ice breakers.
Planning Involves an Agenda
Develop questions ahead of time so you can plan your time efficiently. If you outline the topics that you need to cover, you will be sure to gather the important information (Singer, 2007).
Establish a Rapport
Insight gained from the website or social media posts can help you establish a genuine connection and encourage the flow of conversation. Ask open and closed-ended questions and be prepared to take notes (Singer, 2007).
Open-ended questions are great for getting someone talking but be mindful of your agenda. Sometimes the conversation can be derailed if we deviate from the topic.
Listen Carefully with Eyes & Ears
We communicate with words but also our body language and gestures. Listen and watch attentively for non-verbal cues. Stay open to what is being said, ask clarifying questions, and present options as suggestions (Robertson, 2005).
Mencher, M. (2011). Interviewing Principles chapter in, Melvin Mencher’s News Reporting and Writing (12th ed.) New York, NY: McGraw Hill Education.
Robertson, K. (2005). Active Listening: More than just paying attention. Australian Family Physician 34(12).
Singer, W. (2007). How to Interview Subject Matter Experts. Intercom 54(9), p. 16. Retrieved from https://saintleo.brightspace.com/d2l/le/content/89312/viewContent/3254123/View