Interviewing Chapter 12
Chapter Objectives • Learn: • How to plan for requirements gathering interviews. • The difference between open and closed questions. • How to document information collected through the interview process. • How to conduct an actual interview. • How Joint Application Design (JAD) applies to the interview process.
Interview Process • The need to know yourself first is a critical step in the interview process. • Why? • Your personal experiences and biases can impact what you hear in the interviews. • Your education, emotions, and ethics can act as filters during the interview process.
Purpose of Interviewing • Interviews are performed to: • Collect specific information. • Gather facts. • Understand opinions. • Identify goals.
Opinions • Opinions are important in the interview process because they: • May review misperceptions. • Can identify major concerns. • Can reveal organizational culture. • May identify organizational attitudes.
Interview Preparation • There are 5 steps to planning an interview. 1. Read background material. 2. Establish interviewing objectives. 3. Decide who to interview. 4. Prepare the interviewee. 5. Decide on the question types and structure
Read Background Material • Sources for background material include: • Corporate web site • Annual reports • Company newsletters • Popular publications • Use background material to save time. • Collect the information early in the process. • Don’t spend valuable interview time on background information.
Establish Interview Objectives • Base interview objectives on these 4-6 key areas to understand information processing and decision making: • Information sources. • Information formats. • Decision-making frequency. • Qualities of information. • Decision-making style.
Decide Who to Interview • Goals when deciding who to interview include: • Include key people at all organizational levels. • A sampling of individuals. • A balanced mix to understand the widest perspective possible.
Prepare the Interviewee • Assist the interviewee with the interview process. • Make them aware of the upcoming interview early. • Give them time to think about the topic to be discussed. • Contain the interview to 45-60 minutes. • This keeps you, the interviewer focused. • It is also considerate of the interviewee’s time. • Arrange a meeting time with the interviewee to accommodate both your schedules.
Decide on Question Types and Structure • Use the previously defined interview objective to develop questions for the interview process. • Determine the types of questions to be asked. • Open-ended questions • Closed questions • Structure the interview appropriately. • Pyramid • Funnel • Diamond
Open-Ended Questions • Open-ended questions provides the interviewee the option to give you a variety of answers for one question. • Some of the benefits include: • Provides a great amount of detail. • It is spontaneous. • Makes the interview more interesting. • Some of the disadvantages include: • Questions may result in unnecessary information. • The interviewer may lose control of the interview. • May be perceived as a fishing expedition with no real objective.
Closed Questions • Closed questions control the interviewee response to specific answers. • Some of the benefits include: • Saves time and covers considerable material quickly. • Provides easily comparable data. • Interviews can be well controlled. • Some of the disadvantages include: • Interview can be boring for the interviewee. • May not collect rich detail. • May not build comfortable relationship between the interviewer and interviewee.
Probes • Probes offer another option to collect information. • Probes are used to gain a deeper understanding. • Common probes include asking: • “Why?” • “Can you provide an example?” • “Can you provide a step by step explanation of …?”
Question Pitfalls • When developing interview questions, be aware of potential pitfalls. • Avoid leading questions • These questions tend to lead the interviewee to a suggested response. • Avoid double-barreled questions • These are really two questions disguised as one question. • With these questions: • You may not receive answers to both questions • You may misinterpret the answer because you don’t to which question the answer applies.
Logical Question Sequence • Questions can be organized into the following structures: • Pyramid • This method is inductive moving from very closed to more open-ended questions. • Funnel • This method is deductive moving from open-ended to closed questions. • Diamond • This method is a combination of deductive and inductive. • It moves from closed to open-ended back to closed questions, thus creating a diamond shape.
Structured and Unstructured • Interviews may be unstructured or structured. • The structured interview: • Plans out specific questions • Adheres to the format strictly. • Uses closed questions as the core. • The unstructured interview: • Plans out questions, but provides flexibility for the interview. • Allows branching based on interviewee response.
Documenting the Interview • It is important to make a documented record of the interview so the information can be referred to at a later date. • Audio recording • Depending on the situation, it may be preferential to audibly capture the interview. • Note taking • This may be the more frequent method to record information. • With either method, it is necessary to understand the advantages and disadvantages.
Conducting the Interview • At the beginning of an interview, it is beneficial to establish rapport with the interviewee. • This aids in participant relaxation. • It gives a frame of reference to tailor later questions. • It makes the interviewee more comfortable if the interviewer needs to probe for more detail.
Writing the Interview Report • After the interview, it is important to document your interview findings. • Go into more detail. • Note main points of the interview and your opinions. • Review the report with the respondent at a follow-up meeting to clarify points.
Joint Application Design • Joint Application Design (JAD) is a useful alternative to the one-on-one interview process. • It reduces time and cost to collect information. • It uses specialized skills to perform. • It needs organizational commitment to make the process successful.
When to use JAD? • You might consider a JAD session if: • A new approach is needed beyond the standard options. • The organization supports collective problem-solving methods. • Group interaction will provide more ideas than 1-on-1 interactions. • The organizational work flow can support the absence of key personnel during the JAD process.
JAD Participants • There should be 8-12 participants from the user community in the JAD session. • The session should also include: • A session leader • Observers • A scribe • An executive sponsor
Other JAD Considerations • Plan the JAD session details very carefully. • Consider performing the session off-site. • Schedule JAD when participants can commit the time. • Perform a structured analysis in the JAD session. • Consider the potential benefits if you were to perform a JAD analysis. • Understand the potential drawbacks for the JAD.
Summary • Interviewing is a tool to collect information. • Interviews require preparation activities to be successful. • Questions can be open-ended, closed, or probes. • There are potential pitfalls to avoid with question development. • Questions can be arranged in pyramid, funnel, or diamond-shaped structures. • Joint application design (JAD) provides an alternative and additional benefits to the 1-on-1 interview process.