Interviews. Let's just say I've done a lot of them.
And if you run your own blog, or just want to think of a new way to engage with your readers online, this is something that you might find yourself doing in the future.
There's a very specific art to interviews because what you're really doing is being the boss of the conversation.
And it's not easy because even the biggest personality might overthink their responses.
My Experiences with interviews:
One of my clients is Yellowpages, and I write business profiles for their website.
As a result, interviewing is a skill that's a crucial part of the work that I do for my client.
Today I'm going to show you how you can do a really good job at taking the lead when you're leading an interview, for a blog or website.
1) Record don't write
If you really want an interviewee to open up to you, like...really open up to you, you need to build trust.
So put your pen and paper away, and record your conversation instead.
The main reason why this is such a good idea is because you're connecting with them on a personal level as well.
And people respond extremely well to that.
Because taking notes while someone is talking feels a little bit too doctor's office- like.
But, most importantly, don't forget to inform them that this is for your research purposes.
At the end of the interview, you can transcribe the recording, and get more accurate results.
2) Ask questions that play into peoples' passions
Before I do an interview I prepare a list of questions.
However, those questions are more of a guideline and not exactly what I stick to 100% of the time.
Because there are always unpredictabilities.
Not to mention, people often say things that are unexpected.
So I'm always open to changing things, to accommodate what people are obviously passionate about.
Pay attention to peoples' behavior and reactions to what you're saying.
If one subject is encouraging them to talk more than another, encourage them to elaborate on that a bit, rather than moving on to something else instead.
3) Avoid Sensitive topics
No matter who you're interviewing chances are there will be certain things that are considered sensitive topics that you should avoid at all costs.
Unless you're the National Inquirer don't ask uncomfortable, overly personal questions.
In some cases, you can get away with that, but if you're working on an interview for a B2C or B2C business, this is a really bad idea.
You don't want to ruin how comfortable they are with telling you what you want to know, especially if you want to capture an authentic take on who they are.
4) Do Your Research
The best possible way to get people to really open up to you during an interview is to do your research.
Interviews, good ones at least, are a bit like a conversation.
The only way to keep it going is if you have a really good reason for it.
Get to know stuff about them that will show interest.
Because if you show interest they'll be much more likely to connect with you on a personal level and feel at ease about the interview experience.
Google their website, read reviews, and look them up on social media networks.
Questions like: "I heard you just released this product. Tell me all about it."
And questions such as: "what do you like about your job?"
Well...let's just say that they're all great starting points for an interview.
Why? Because they're great ice-breakers.
This is exactly where doing your research can really pay off.
5) Practice, prepare, rinse, repeat
If you follow none of the steps I just mentioned, or for whatever reason forgot everything I just told you this step is the most important.
At least a day before the interview is scheduled type out your questions, and write them in a logical order that makes sense.
The best part of all this is that you don't actually have to memorize the questions.
Just prepare a hard copy, that you can refer to during the interview, whenever you lose track of what to ask next.
And you don't necessarily have to follow that exact order either.
As I said earlier, people can surprise you, but those questions are just there to make sure you're not "um"'ing and "uh"'ing your way through the interview.
At first, keeping up with the fast pace of interviews can seem daunting.
But the more you interview people, the better you'll get at putting that skill into practice.
Wrapping it up...
I remember my first time interviewing someone. I was a sweaty, nervous mess.
At the time, I was only 16 and I was asked to interview someone at my co-op placement at an indie newspaper.
So if this seems super intimidating to you I totally get it.
But with a little bit of practice, you'll get a lot more confident and a lot better at responding effectively based on peoples' behavior.
What other tips do you have to share about the interview process?
Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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