How to Conduct an Interview
How to Do an Interview
1. Write your subject's name and the time and date of the interview at
the top of the page.
2. Prepare ahead of time appropriate questions considering what you
already know, and what you want to find out.
3. Bring extra blank paper with you. You may need more paper than the
page or pages with your interview questions.
4. Take notes on what your subject says. It's better to write phrases,
not whole sentences. Get the main idea, or summarize what you hear. To
get your subject's approval, paraphrase what you have heard before you
write it down.
5. Ask your subject to repeat what he or she said if you missed it.
6. Ask your subject to help spell or explain unusual words.
7. If you think of a new, important question during the interview, ask
it. Write the question and the answer on your interview sheet.
8. Thank the subjects for sharing their time with you.
9. Revise and edit your work using correct punctuation. Use direct
discourse int eh answers using quotation marks.
Preparing for Interviews: Ideas for Teachers
� Create the questions in class using brainstorming techniques. At this
point, introduce the concept of "open-ended" questions.
� Open-ended questions will include starters such as:
what are some examples
tell me about
Open-ended questions avoid yes or no answers.
� Students may write down what they already know, and use it as an
introduction to the subject of the interview.
� Use the technique of "questioning the questions." This requires taking
a look at the audience,and making sure that teh questions will not
produce repeated answers, or provide already knwon or irrelevant
� For relatives that live far away, the students may write letters, and
send extra paper with self-addressed envelopes for answers.
� Students may tape conversations and transcribe them later on.
"How to Do an Interview:" A Checklist
1) BE PREPARED: with questions.
2) INTRODUCE YOURSELF: by name, where you come from, the project you are
3) KNOW WHAT YOU WANT TO FIND OUT: Remember that people like to talk
about themselves and their past. If you have specific information you
want to find out, make sure you keep them on track. If you want general
information, you can let them ramble, but not for too long!
4) BRING A GOOD PEN OR PENCIL AND A NOTEBOOK: It will take a while to
train yourself to write quickly and to record the most important points.
5) BRING A TAPE RECORDER and tapes. Good historians transcribe their
interviews word for word, including the "ahs" and "ums."
6) MAKE EYE CONTACT: Even though you will be writing a lot, try to keep
looking at the person you are interviewing as often as possible. They'll
know that you are listening and you won't forget what they look like.
7) WRITE DOWN OTHER DETAILS: such as the date and time of the interview,
some general descriptions about the person, and where the interview is
8) SAY THANK YOU and ask for the person's PHONE NUMBER, in case you have
follow-up questions or need clarification.
Next: Do's and
Don'ts for the job interview -
Interview Preparation -
How to Prepare for an