Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Pointers for Interviewing

As I was rummaging through old files and notes from graduate school, I came across this list of pointers for interviewing. The tips are useful, practical and humorous, so I thought I'd share them with you.

Note: Some are taken from Dr. Ink of the Poynter Institute.

When conducting an interview, remember to do the following:

  1. Shut up.
  2. Shut up some more.
  3. Work from a list of questions and never veer off.
  4. Shut up again.
  5. Get there early. Stay late. Take note of the surrounding.
  6. Interview a person on his or her turf.
  7. Ask for other sources e.g. articles about the topic, photos, etc.
  8. Write down things you see and not just the answers to the question.
  9. Use your notebook to show that you are conducting the interview.
  10. Put your notebook away in the end, but keep on talking. Ask follow-up questions. A surplus of information is better.
  11. Hang around and watch the person interact with others.
  12. Ask the most important questions more than once and in different forms.
  13. Ask the slam-the-door (controversial and sensitive) questions last.
  14. Shut up. Listen to the interviewee.
  15. Fill out or copy your notes as quickly as possible.
I've made it a habit to review these pointers before conducting an interview. They do help a lot, especially when you're not working around with a camera or a recorder. I just have to remind myself every now and again to shut up. ;o)


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