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How to Conduct an Interview

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Vivian Chen

on 17 December 2013

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Transcript of How to Conduct an Interview

How to Conduct an Interview

What Is An Interview?
One-on-one conversation
Mutual exchange
Create something that will inform, inspire, influence
Question # 3
You are assigned an interview profile on Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas. Do you:
Question # 2
You are given the opportunity to speak with world-famous chef and host of
Gordon Ramsay. Do you ask him:
Question # 1
You are interviewing Mayor Rob Ford for the local news. Do you greet him by:
The Seven Stupendous Steps to Conducting an Interview
Part One: Before the Interview
Part 2: During the Interview
Hit the table when you are ready to give an answer

Each question is worth 500 points

If contestant gives wrong answer, question is open to anyone

Contestant who has the most points at the end wins
Why Conduct an Interview?
Responses w/ more depth
Qualitative vs. quantitative data
Literary magazine
Reading Habits Feature
Interview with a Librarian
Seven Stupendous Steps to Conducting an Interview
Mini-Quiz Show Game
Skill-Development Activity
Discussion Questions
Step One:
Determine a Purpose
Step Two:
Schedule the Interview
Set up time and place

Introduce yourself

Plan in advance

Say thank you
Step Three: Brainstorm!
Tips For a Quality Question
Step Five:
Be Prepared
Record the interview

Bring a notebook

Arrive on time
Step Six: The Actual Interview
What Does a Good Interviewer Look Like?
Mini-Quiz Show Game!
Answer Key
Answer Key
Answer Key
Step Seven:
Write-Up Time
Two main formats:
News Story
Question and Answer

Be concise when transcribing
Cut irrelevant content
Eliminate most "um" and "ah"s
How Do You Decide on a Good Quote?
A Good Quote:
Grabs attention
Evokes an image
You will be divided into groups of four. Each group will receive a sheet of rough notes from an interview to write up as a magazine feature.

There are two write-up formats to choose from: news story and question-and-answer.

Remember the tips on how to condense content and select good quotes!
What is your focus?

Guided interview

Efficient analysis and sudden revelations
Encourage elaboration
Avoid yes/no questions
Use "how" and "to what extent" instead

Use simple, clear language
Unambiguous, no jargon
Test out questions first and revise

One idea per question
Multi-part questions can be confusing
Separate 2 concepts into 2 questions

Consider respondent capability
Can they accurately answer question?
Sample Interview Guide
Step Four:
Practice, Practice, Practice
Recite questions in mirror

Record yourself, watch playback



Active listener
Keep interview on track

Ask for clarification

Establish a sense of closure
a) Whisper that you have connections and can get him some of the "good stuff"

b) Denounce his name and declare that he is the worst mayor in the history of Toronto

c) Shake his hand and offer a polite greeting
a) "Did you ever yell at anyone so loudly that they cried?"

b) "How do you feel about the controversy surrounding your teaching methods? To what extent do you think your criticism is more harmful than helpful to your contestants?"

c) "Is it true that one of your show's contestants gave up on ever cooking again because of your insults?"
a) Speak at a normal pace with a respectful tone and a friendly smile on your face

b) Chatter at an extremely fast pace in an unnaturally high-pitched voice that makes you sound like Alvin the Chipmunk while cutting off any replies with another question

c) Stutter your way nervously through all the questions as you deliberately avoid eye contact out of fear you will explode from your feelings of admiration
Part 3: After the Interview
A Bad Quote:
Has unclear speech
Includes statistics
"What do you consider to be the best book of 2012?"

"What was the last book you read based on a review or recommendation? Did you enjoy it? Why or why not?
Before: “The Peel Board has a review committee and there are librarians who review books. And the reviews are posted electronically, and from that we get warnings. You know, sometimes the books have content – an example of content – content that’s not acceptable would be um, you know, uh suicide in a book that’s dealt with in a way that the suicide looks positive.”
After: “We check the [review] website for books that have been flagged, usually for content that’s unacceptable for school – such as suicide shown in a positive light.”
Discussion Questions
1. Solomon Ibn Gabriol, a Jewish philosopher, once said "A wise man's question contains half the answer.”
To what extent do you believe this quote applies to creating questions for interviews? Do you think that interviewers should attempt to mould answers to suit their needs, or should interviewees’ responses control where the interview goes?
2. In this seminar, we covered two ways to write up an interview: as a news story or in a question-and-answer format.
In which situations would the first format be most appropriate? The second?
3. How neutral and objective do you believe an interviewer should be? Are there instances where he or she should provide a sympathetic shoulder or take a hard-nosed approach to a story?
If so, when and why?
"An interview is like a musical jazz piece - it combines the routine of practice with on-the-spot improvisation."
- Martin Perlich,
The Art of Interviewing
Full transcript