How To Interview Someone For An Article
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If you need to interview someone for an article but you have never interviewed before, it can be intimidating. Here are some tips for preparing for and conducting a successful interview.
For The Most Rushed Interviewees You Can Always Chase People Down The Street
Its easier to interview a rushed individual in person, Tor says. You just keep walking with them while your camera or tape recorder is still rolling. Ive gotten on elevators with newsmakers and into cabs with them to get the interview.
First youre interviewing liars, then youre stalking people in elevators? Tor, when you said you were a journalist, did you really mean secret agent?
How To Interview Candidates
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Activity: Tips For Effective Interviews
Approaching Interview Candidates Via Twitter
Twitter is actually where the team found most of the participants in the Themeisle series of blog interviews, but it requires a slightly different approach.
First of all, you want to make sure youre following them on Twitter before you reach out. This marks you as a fan, giving the interview candidate more reason to respond.
You also need to change your approach on Twitter. Your initial request should only include two pieces of information:
- Why youre approaching this person
- How to respond if theyre interested in the interview
Who you are is already visible on Twitter if they want to know more, they can check out your profile. Since youre already following them, they can also assume thats how you know them.
For another example of how to do this, check out our article/interview with David Braun from TemplateMonster.
The best interviews can be used in both of these ways just make sure your interviewee is comfortable with you repurposing quotes.
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Tip 1: Record The Interview
Im always stunned when I meet a journalist I highly respect who doesnt record their interviews. As someone who can type incredibly fast, I still can never get all the quotes correct. You must record your interviews for many reasons:
- Its the ethical thing to do Your notes are never going to be 100 percent accurate nor is your memory. When you dont record the interview, you will get the quotes wrong.
- You can actually have a conversation If the subject is constantly waiting for you to finish scribbling/typing your notes, it wont be a natural conversation, and youll have a hard time pulling out natural responses.
- You can focus on the subject You need to be looking at the subject when youre interviewing them. If youre constantly looking at your notepad or computer, you cant do that.
- You reduce the fear of being misquotedFear of being misquoted is a key resistance people have to being interviewed, said Susanne M. Alexander, Relationship & Marriage Coach at . To help people relax and talk to me, I run a tape recorder and I assure the person that Im taping to be able to quote him or her accurately.
Citing An Interview In Apa Style
Because the name of the interviewer appears in the in-text citation, it wont always be clear whom youre quoting. Its important to clarify in the sentence when youre quoting the interviewees words.
For interviews published in other source types , follow the relevant format, listing the interviewer as the author in each case.
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Tip : Practice Practice Practice
A lot of experience can be gained by practice. Get a recorder and interview some people you know quite well for practice before trying it for real. Listen back and do the next one better. This will help you gain confidence in your technique, said Leslie Lowes. You will know when you have done well, because the material you have obtained will tell you that.
Ask The Right Questions
A major component of a successful job interview is knowing which questions to ask. There are several different types of interview questions you can use however, the specific questions you ask should be based on the job and the information you wish to learn about your candidate. The following are a few of the most common types of interview questions:
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Tips From Start To Finish
Know What You Are Looking For In A Potential Employee
Before you can find a good candidate for the position you are trying to fill, you first need to spend some time determining what you are actually looking for in a candidate. You may explore the exact duties of the job, decide which skills are most important for the position and speak with others who hold the same or similar position to get their input. You can also review the qualities, skills and knowledge that people who previously held the position had. The better understanding you have of the ideal candidate you are looking for, the more likely you are to find them through the interview process.
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How To Market Blog Interviews
Once your interviews edited and published, you can market it the same way you .
You can also leverage your interviewees platform for marketing. To maximize your chances of reaching your interviewees audience, create pre-made messages they can share on social media. You should also send any images you created for the article.
When you share the article on your own social media platforms, always tag the interviewee in your posts. Theyll almost always be happy to share your post with their own following, and it might remind them to promote the article in other places. You can automate these social media messages and count on a boost from your interviewee every time they go out.
Using Different Approaches For Different Kinds Of Interviews
Just as there are many different kinds of news stories, there are many different kinds of interviews. It’s important to find the right approach, or tone, depending on the nature of the interview. So what kind of tone should be used in different interviewing situations? The conversational and easygoing approach is best when you’re doing a classic man-on-the-street interview. Average people are often nervous when approached by a reporter. An all-business tone is effective, though, when you’re interviewing people who are accustomed to dealing with reporters.
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Tip : Its Your Job To Research
This was the most oft repeated advice, when its possible. In many of my run-and-gun style interviews, I dont know who Im interviewing until I meet them. But, I do know the event Im going to and I can research that.
In the cases when you do know who youre going to interview, know the answers to basic questions such as the individuals background, hot topics, what the person has worked on, currently working on, and what theyre trying to promote. If the information isnt readily available online, ask their PR rep or publicist, if they have one.
When you exhibit your knowledge the person knows you took the time to do so and they then provide a much better interview, explained journalist Joan Wenner.
The value of doing a tremendous amount of research is being able to ask questions very few others have done. This alone sets you apart from the rest and can win you not only a subjects respect and attention, but material no one else has ever gotten, said author Caitlin Kelly.
While being prepared is generally good advice, Larry King has repeatedly said in interviews that he never researched his subjects. I dont believe those claims.
Get Ready To Follow Up After The Interview
After your interview, you should prepare to follow up with the employer. Doing so reminds the employer of your conversation, shows them you are genuinely interested in the position and gives you the opportunity to bring up points you forgot to mention.
Here are a few steps you can follow when crafting a follow-up note:
In the first paragraph, mention the specific job title and thank your interviewer.
In the second paragraph, note the companys name as well as a conversation point and/or goal that seemed especially important to the person you spoke with. Connect that point to your experience and interests.
In the final paragraph, invite them to ask you any additional questions and close by saying youre looking forward to hearing back.
Final tip: If you dont know the answer to a certain question, it is perfectly acceptable to pause for a moment and simply state, Let me think about that for a moment. The employer will appreciate you taking the time to give them a thoughtful answer. Be sure to provide specific examples wherever possible. Taking time to prepare for an interview will ultimately help you feel more relaxed and confident during the process.
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Email When Youre Just Looking For The Facts
Porter has this great distinction between Discovery interviews, which are longer in form and more contextual, and Q& A interviews, which are fact-focused.
Q& A interview is call-and-response, not a conversation, Porter says. And since Q& As can feel wooden, a bit lifeless, it works better in written formyou send questions, they send answers.
If you just need the facts, go for email.
Tip 1: Dont Try To Fill The Void
Long form interviewing requires a lot of patience. If you traditionally do quick got to get the sound bite-style interviews, you may become frustrated with long form interviews.
Unless youre live, let them answer the question before you interrupt, said Robert Dolezal. Listen to their answer rather than read your question list.
Dont be tempted to fill the void with another question if there is silence, give the subject time to answer, advises Leslie Lowes, producer at Penultimate Productions.
Self-proclaimed washed-up journalist Karen Gutierrez adds, What the subject says in that moment could be the best part of the interview.
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Follow A Consistent Interview Structure
Putting a consistent interview structure in place can help your interviews run more smoothly by giving you a predictable format to follow for each interview. An example of an interview structure is as follows: introduction phase, standard interview questions, behavioral interview questions, final questions with an opportunity for the candidate to ask their own questions and the conclusion of the interview. Choose an interview format that works best for you and decide what will occur during each phase of the interview.
Choose The Best Quotes
So youve done a long interview with a source, you have pages of notes, and youre ready to write. But chances are youll only be able to fit a few quotes from that lengthy interview into your article. Which ones should you use? Reporters often talk about using only good quotes for their stories, but what does this mean? Broadly speaking, a good quote is when someone says something interesting, and says it in an interesting way.
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Get Past The Canned Speech
If an interviewee has been media trained, my heart sinks. Usually, it means I have to listen to 10-20m of self-important waffle prepared for them by their PR department.
Building a rapport with them on non-controversial subjects can put them at their ease. I’m not trying to trick people into saying something they don’t want to say. I just want them to say something in a natural, human way.
A good interview sounds like an intelligent conversation over coffee not a standup PowerPoint presentation.
Make The Interviewee Sound Smart
Once written, youll need sign-off from your interviewee . Thankfully, you have a trick up your sleeveyou can use your writing to make your SME sound really smart.
As we explored above, your job is not to dump your SMEs quotes verbatim on a pageyou need to structure them into something logical and compelling. That process can introduce friction: with every interview, theres always a risk that the SME wont recognize their ideas in the finished article. You can mitigate this risk by:
If youre worried about getting buy-in for your finished article, remember that as a writer, you are offering your interviewee a hugely valuable service: you are giving shape to their ideas and articulating them in the clearest, most articulate way. Make your SME sound even smarter, and youll have an easier time getting your finished article published.
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Refine And Condense Your Questions
Long interviews are fine if the questions are all killer. Long interviews with filler questions and redundancies are not only a waste of everyones precious time , but will also flip the off switch for your guest and your reader. Your guest will get tired and your audience will tune out.
When preparing for your interview, ask yourself: What kind of questions would you want to answer?
Prepare And Research In Advance
I don’t usually prepare a list of questions, although I’ll usually have a list of topics to cover. I also like to look up the interviewee on LinkedIn and Google as this can reveal interesting angles for questions and common ground to build rapport.
I have an interview template in OneNote and I usually set this up before the interview with all the contact information and some initial thoughts and topics for the interview.
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Four: Incorporating The Interview
When picking the material out of your interview, remember that people rarely speak perfectly. There will be many slang words and pauses that you can take out, as long as it does not change the meaning of the material you are using.
As you introduce your interview in the paper, start with a transition such as according to or other attributions. You should also be specific to the type of interview you are working with. This way, you will build a stronger ethos in your paper .
The body of your essay should clearly set up the quote or paraphrase you use from the interview responses,. Be careful not to stick a quote from the interview into the body of your essay because it sounds good. When deciding what to quote in your paper, think about what dialogue from the interview would add the most color to your interview. Quotes that illustrate what your interviewer sounded like, or what their personality is are always the best quotes to choose from.
Once you have done that, proofread your essay. Make sure the quotes you used dont make up the majority of your paper. The interview quotes are supposed to support your argument you are not supposed to support the interview.
Determine How You Will Rate Each Candidate
Creating and using a rating system for the candidates you interview is the final important step in conducting effective interviews. You should take notes during the interview process and decide on a set rating system to rate each person. You may decide on a certain rating system for each skill you are looking for or give each candidate an overall rating. The important thing is to stay consistent and use the same system for every candidate.
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Choose Your Questions Wisely
This is probably one of the most important steps in the process of writing an interview article as it all starts with asking the right questions to the interviewee.First, you will need to do a lot of research work and collect as much information as you can on the person you are going to interview. You can either read their biography, previous interviews or read about their current projects, interests and the list can go on. This will not only give you a solid background of the interviewee but will also make you aware of what has already been written, so that you can put a spotlight on some interesting and fresh information. No one wants to read the same facts about someone over and over again, this is why its best to find new topics to tackle. And speaking about topics, try to choose a focus topic for the interview. That being said, its not a rule you need to take literally, but its recommended you stick with a main topic so that youre not all over the place with your questions. Choose an aspect of the interviewees life that is both remarkable and fits the interests of the reader. Or seek a certain topic worth discussing and develop some questions around it. You can always add a few extra questions still related to the main topic, but with a twist, maybe something unexpected that requires a more spontaneous answer to spice things up for the reader.