There are many right ways to interview and many wrong ways to interview. Below are some basic interviewing dos and don'ts:
- Don't ask leading questions: These are questions that lead a person to a particular answer. When interviewing someone, there is not a right and wrong answer. The answer you want is an honest answer.
- Don't ask only yes or no questions: If you ask yes or no questions, you will probably not get in-depth answers in return. There is a place for yes or no questions during the interview, but they need to be kept to a minimum and need to be followed up with more open-ended and probing questions.
- Don't make the other person uncomfortable: If the topics covered would make interviewees uncomfortable, coach them ahead of time on the topics. Be a good host or hostess and make them feel comfortable. A comfortable seat and a beverage can do wonders. A restless interviewee will give short and concise answers when you want an in-depth picture.
- Be prepared before going into an interview: Always think about the goals for the interview before conducting it. Prepare a discussion guide beforehand and take notes during the interview. If doing several interviews in a day, keep a profile sheet of each interview with vital demographic stats to help you keep track of who is who.
- Keep things confidential: If writing a report on findings afterwards, don't use specific names. Before the interview begins, have the interviewee sign a non-disclosure agreement.
- Keep an attitude of unconditional positive regard for those you interview and interact with.
- Don't alienate the person you are interviewing: Relate to the person in the style they prefer. Use the beginning part of the interview to get a better feel for this and to build a rapport with the person,