As a follow up to last week’s post, Tips for On-Camera Interviewees, we decided to provide some additional tips for those who are actually holding interviews (aka the interviewer). Granted, this position is a lot less stressful than those in front of the camera, but there are still many things to keep in mind!
Tip #1 – Prepare Your Questions Beforehand
Questions should be relevant to the subject matter, and preferably open ended to allow the interviewee to go into depth on a subject. It is helpful to think about the response you are looking for first and then create your questions with that information in mind. Try to keep your questions short if possible, and avoid questions that can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no.”
Tip #2 – Create a Comfortable Environment
Many people you interview will be very nervous. Most aren’t used to being in front of a camera, or they are worried they will say the wrong thing. Try your best to put them at ease. Ask anybody who does not need to be there to leave the room, and remind them that their responses will be edited to make them look good. Have water ready for when they inevitably develop dry mouth. It can sometimes be helpful to ask a few throwaway questions at the beginning of the interview to help them warm up.
Tip #3 – Make Sure You Have the Information You Need
There’s nothing worse than getting back to the editing room and realizing you’re missing a piece of crucial information. Most of this has to do with preparation. Make a list ahead of time with all of the responses or information that needs to be covered and keep it handy during the interview. Try not to interrupt the replies if they are on a roll. If the response runs too long, ask them to rephrase their response in a shorter way. If you don’t have the information you need from their first response, ask them the question again or rephrase the question.
It’s also important to note that most of the interviewee’s nerves will be obvious at the beginning of the interview, so consider repeating the first few questions again at the end of the interview. By then they should be warmed up and will hopefully give you better, or possibly different, answers.
Tip #4 – Listen!
This is the most important part of the interview: pay attention to what they say. This not only ties in with Tip #3 (make sure you have the information you need), but they may also say something that lends itself to entirely new questions that you hadn’t originally thought of. Don’t be afraid to go off book!
Thanks for reading! If you have any other tips or tricks we’d love to hear them!