How to Interview

You may need to conduct an interview for a research project or as part of your job. The purpose of the interview should be clear. You should know what information you need to get from the interviewees.

A Guide to Conducting an Interview

  1. The preparation process is as important as the actual conducting of the interview. Prepare the interview guide or questionnaire, a list of the necessary questions to ask.
  2. Identify the persons who will be respondents, or the source of information. Set up an appointment with your respondents. Consult them about the date, time, and place of interview. Tell them how long the interview is expected to last.
  3. Some respondents would want a list of questions ahead of time so that they can prepare the needed information. Send them a list of your questions. If you are planning to record the interview, ask their permission first.
  4. If you are interviewing a public official or somebody with a designation, you may want to call the office or the persons involved before the interview day. This ensures that everyone remembers the details of the appointment.
  5. Before you go to the actual interview, place your questions and other paraphernalia, like a tape recorder, pen, and notebook in one bag or briefcase. You may want to organize your things the night before the interview. Packing things in a briefcase (or may be laptop case) gives you a neat, organized, and professional look.
  6. Prepare yourself for the interview. Eat a good meal that will provide you energy for the task ahead. Dress neatly.
  7. Arrive on time. Consider the traffic flow and the weather. When you meet the interviewee, shake hands and introduce yourself. Explain the purpose of interview. Start with a conversation and do not go directly into your questions. Establish rapport with your interviewee first to make him or her feel comfortable in having a conversation with you.
  8. If your interviewee agreed to the use of the tape recorder, keep it on throughout the interview, but jot down important things that were said. Listen to your interviewee. Let your subject talk and don’t be so fast to butt in with more questions. Wait for a pause before giving your next question.
  9. Follow your list of questions, but let the conversation guide your line of questioning. Make follow up questions as needed.
  10. When the interview is over, don’t fail to shake hands with and thank the interviewee for his/her time and effort.