How to Conduct the Perfect Interview
By: Alexandra Arrell, PR/Media Coordinator
Interviewing an individual for a professional position or educational purposes can be a daunting process. Not only do you want to be organized and well-prepared, but you want to make someone feel comfortable and have them trust you with their personal information. By following this step-by-step guide, you will be able to make yourself standout at your next interview.
This is the most important part of the interview process because it will help you to get more details for the questions you may want to prepare. Going into the interview, you should already know about the interviewees' life and what they do. The research will help you to develop more in-depth questions and get answers that other people were unable to learn. The more interest you show in their life, the more they will be willing to share and get you the exclusive story you want.
2. Developing questions
If you do not ask the right questions, you will not have the best quotes or information to create an engaging story. The questions should be:
Open-ended: to give them the ability to expand instead of saying “Yes” or “No”
Original: to showcase your preparation and get information they have not revealed to other interviewees before
Exciting: to get the interviewee talking about something they are passionate about
3. The interview
In my experience as a journalism student, here are the three things I have found to be the most important:
Active listening: this will help you stay on top of the questions, be able to ask follow-ups, and stay engaged in the topic they are discussing
Confidence: be confident in your research and the questions you are posing
Comfortability: show that you are comfortable with them, and it will make the interviewee more comfortable because they trust you to write fairly about them
4. Tips and tricks
There are many things that can go wrong during an interview, here are some of the ways to prevent factors besides the interview from messing you up:
Ask them if you can record the interview beforehand to prepare them to be on camera and recorded.
If they ask, share the questions with them prior to the interview. Some people like to prepare before, and if they do, do not add any more questions because a surprise will frustrate them.
While recording, if it is on your phone, put your phone in airplane mode to avoid distractions.
Before you start the interview, ask them to spell out their first and last name on the recording to make sure you spell it correctly in print.
After the interview, create a document with the transcript and timestamps because it will be helpful when finding quotes for the final story.