The Interview Senior Projects 2013-14
A conversation with a purpose You want to: • Learn what the subject knows about the topic. • Learn how the subject feels about the topic. • Learn about the subject. It’s a human interaction, not just a transfer of information. Remember – it’s not about you!
If you’re shy… • Think of it as a conversation about something that interests both of you. • The more you prepare, the less you’ll have to think on your feet. • If all else fails, remember – it’s your job! (Or in this case, your grade). • Remember – it’s not about you!
Before the interview 1. Prepare a list of questions • Avoids problem of trying to listen while thinking of the next question • Avoids asking questions others have already asked • Open-ended questions (how and why) are best to ask
Before the interview 2. Obtain any available background information • Do your homework. You will be expected to have a basic knowledge of your subject. • If you show your ignorance, the subject is less likely to open up to you.
What to bring • Notebook -- write on one side only • Pen, pencils • An open mind • Recording devices? Be sure to ask permission – and don’t forget to take notes!
Be comfortable, and let them be comfortable • If possible, choose a neutral area • Be punctual
During the interview 1. Treat subject ethically and with respect • Dress appropriately. Your appearance will influence the way subjects respond to you. • Place your best foot forward.
During the interview • Don't have an attitude. A confrontational approach is less likely to get good information. • Stay neutral. Don't appear to be persuaded by the subject's opinions. Don't judge or directly criticize the subject. • Don't interrupt. This can upset the subject's train of thought. • Remember, it’s not about you!
During the interview 2. Ask good questions • Avoid yes/no questions • Avoid prejudicial "isn't it true that" questions • Build gradually and logically to a point
During the interview 3. Follow chronology, but don't be restricted by it • Allow subject to digress, but not to ramble • Let them tell you what they think is important 4. Be observant • How does the subject react to your questions? • What is the subject doing while you are talking? • Does he/she laugh? Cry? Get excited? Fall asleep?
During the interview 5. Don't be too shy or too aggressive • Be sure you find out what you need to know • Always ask for contact information for follow-ups • Don’t forget to say thank you – in person and in writing
After the interview • Jot down the main points of the interview as if you were describing the process to a friend. • If there is anything you are unsure about, schedule another interview.