There are many different types of interviews conducted every day; job and university, celebrity and sports personalities, police and legal interviews. Although each of these has different requirements for what the information gathered is going to be used for, each is using same underlying technique which is to ask lots of questions to gather as much information as possible. But there is so much more that can be done to ensure that you are getting the best possible quality answers from the interviewee. This blog post explores the most useful techniques that can be adopted to turn questions and answers into a meaningful conversation.
- Use Open-ended Questions – You want to get as much information as possible from the candidate, so avoid yes or no questions “Are you thirsty?” For example as the answer is either going to be “Yes” or “No”. Open-ended questions will elicit longer answers and ensure that the interviewee gives you examples and details, for example: “What else do we need to do to make this a success?”
- Try not to anticipate answers – There is nothing worse than be interrupted mid conversation or having your sentences finished. Let the interviewee speak and have their opportunity to explain everything for you.
- Funnel Questions – This involves using general questions, and then homing in on a point in each answer. This is a common technique used by the police when taking a statement.
- For example: “How many people were involved in the robbery?” “About four.”
- “Were they children or adults?” “Mostly adults.”
- “What sort of ages were they?” “About twenty-one and thirty.”
- “Were they carrying any weapons or tools?” “Yes, several of them had crow bars and hammers.”
- By continuing with the funnel technique you can help the interviewee re-live the scenario and focus on the detail that is needed.
- Listen slowly – This can help you illicit more information from the interviewee, without having to ask any further questions. Try this technique:
- Ask a question
- Listen attentively
- Count to five once they have finished talking before asking the next question. Yes this may feel unnatural at first, but it might illicit additional information and an expansion of the answer from the interviewee.
- Tip: Pick a few questions that give the interviewee room for introspection, the pause will then give the interviewee the space to fill it with an additional example or a more detailed explanation.
These interview techniques can be applied to any interview situation and will give you even more food for thought.
Your note taking is just as important as the techniques you apply, after all you want to be able to capture and save as much information as possible for you to look back on at a later date. This is where audio recording can help as it will capture everything at source.
At Fingertips Typing Services we offer audio transcription services If you have an interview and feel you would benefit from transcription services, then Fingertips Typing can help.
Written by: Cerri Killworth, Transcriber for Fingertips Typing Services.