Chapter 5
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Chapter 5. Making the I nterview W ork. General information. Know what you want to find out Decide who to ask Go to the primary source of information You must be comfortable with people and be able to talk to them without being noticeably nervous

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Chapter 5

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Chapter 5

Chapter 5

Making the Interview Work


General information

General information

  • Know what you want to find out

  • Decide who to ask

  • Go to the primary source of information

  • You must be comfortable with people and be able to talk to them without being noticeably nervous

    • It makes your subject feel nervous and awkward as well

  • Keep in mind that most people like to talk about themselves, so that works in your favor


Preparing questions

Preparing questions

  • Always prepare your questions BEFORE the interview

  • This requires doing some research to get a background on your subject and/or the issues that you are trying to find out about

  • During the interview, be straightforward

    • Don’t give disclaimers to your questions

    • For example: “I know this is a tough question, but…” or “You probably get asked this a lot, but….”

    • This makes you sound immature and unprofessional


Preparing questions1

Preparing questions

  • Avoid “yes” and “no” questions and questions that can be answered with one word

    • These don’t make for very lively quotes

  • Instead, ask open-ended questions

    • Example: “What do you think about….” instead of “Do you think that…”

  • Also avoid -est questions (proudest, saddest, biggest, etc.)

    • Those sound “high schoolish” in their simplicity

    • They also cut off the flow of conversation


Stock questions

STOCK QUESTIONS

  • Stock questions are all-purpose questions usable in any situation

  • Only use these when you don’t have time to prepare for an interview

  • Some of these questions might be -est questions (What’s your proudest accomplishment?)


Embarassing questions

EMBARASSING QUESTIONS

  • YES! Ask embarrassing questions!

  • Keep good taste in mind

  • Don’t pry; don’t snoop

  • Don’t ask hostile, leading or loaded questions

  • Remember, your job is to document the year, not gossip


Listening to responses

LISTENING TO RESPONSES

  • You can learn a lot from body language

  • If you don’t completely understand the response, ask for clarification

  • Don’t argue, listen

  • Don’t challenge their responses, except for clarification purposes

  • You can’t hear if you’re talking!

  • Even when the source wanders off topic, be quiet and listen.

    • Sometimes digression is more interesting than what you asked about to begin with

  • Always end by asking if there is anything else you should know

    • Sometimes a sources will volunteer really good information


Conducting the interview

Conducting the interview

  • Start with small talk to make your subject at ease

    • Comment on their outfit, hairstyle….whatever fits the situation

  • Next, get the necessary background information

    • Use your forms, which we will go over in a minute

    • Make sure you ask how to spell their name, even if you feel stupid asking how to spell “Jason”…..you would be surprised at how many crazy spellings there are of simple names

  • Start with unimportant questions first, and ease in to the more difficult ones after your subject has gotten more comfortable


Observe

Observe

  • Look for quotes that convey something about their personality

  • Do they sit on the edge of their chair or relax?

  • Do they use their hands a lot?

  • Do they have a nervous habit?

  • Do they cross their arms over their chest like they’re uncomfortable?

  • All of the non-verbal signals can give you clues about their personality


M anners

Manners

  • Don’t be a smart-aleck or a show-off

  • Don’t talk too much; it’s their interview, not yours

  • Smile, relax, laugh at their jokes (even if they’re not funny)

  • Maintain eye contact

  • Firm handshake when you greet them

  • Stay focused on the conversation


Manners continued

Manners continued

  • Don’t chew gum

  • Say stuff like “that’s interesting” or “oh really!” in response to their answers to show them that you’re following

  • Maintain an alert posture

  • Remember to be neutral

  • There are times that you have to be tough in order to get them to answer a question, but still maintain your dignity and professionalism


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