ho to interview?
1.Who to interview?
Select someone in whom you are genuinely
interested in learning more about their past or current job. Make sure
you able to set up a time to interview this person.
If you are reaching out to a person you found online or
someone you don’t know via email, make sure to write a professional,
polite email (err on the side of formality).
3.Prepare your questions in advance.
Have a neatly written list and a
plan to take organized notes.
4.If you want to record the session, make sure to ask permission.
5.Take notes as carefully as you can
, and then, if you haven’t recorded,
make sure to type up or rewrite a fuller version of your notes the
, so you don’t forget information.
Developing Your Questions
1.What do you want to know? At this point, do not worry about the
phrasing; simply brainstorm what you hope to learn from conducting
General Guide to Questions
a.Reword yes/no questions or any question that will lead the
respondent to give a really short answer. You want to get them
b.Break multi-part questions into separate questions (ex: “Tell me
about the last time you volunteered, how long you volunteered,
and what you valued most about the experience.”) Multi-part
questions are hard for a respondent to answer.
c.Avoid leading questions that give the respondent the sense that
there’s a certain answer you want. (ex. “Don’t you love helping
people find jobs in nursing? What do you love about it?” … the
respondent could actually dislike it, but you didn’t leave room for
them to first express an opinion).
d.Make sure your questions are specific and not vague.
e.Know you may need to ask questions in different ways to fully
learn what you would like to know
f.Be prepared to ask follow-up questions for some of your
questions, so you can get a dialogue going.
—These categories are meant to help you develop questions.
Depending on the nature of your interview, you may have more than three in
some categories and fewer than three in others.
Remember as you develop questions that you can ask questions about the
past, present, and the future, though you are likely to get more specific,
richer responses to questions about the past and present.
Remember too, that this is a brainstorming activity, and not all these
questions will make it into your final interview.
a.Experience/behavior questions- Basic questions like, “how long
have you been at this job? What is a typical day like?” These
questions are generally easy to answer and are often good
questions to begin your interview.
Opinion/values- Questions getting at subjects opinions and
values about their job. As stated above, avoid leading questions
like, “why do you love your job?” A better approach would be to
ask about both likes and dislikes.
Feeling questions- Questions asking subjects how their job and/or
specific aspects of their jobs make them feel.
Knowledge questions- These questions may be better answered
by research than by asking your subject. This includes questions
regarding history of the job, future of the job, average salary,
Sensory questions- Questions asking about sights, smells,
Hypothetical questions- Questions framed as hypotheticals, e.g.
“what advice would you give to a niece considering going into
your field? Do members of your profession in general…” These
questions can be a good way to ask about more sensitive topics.
Consider Question Order
– Looking at the questions above, pick
at least 12
to ask. Keep in mind that with follow up questions, you should end up asking
more than 12 questions.
Some things to consider when developing question order:
Which of your questions are easiest to answer? It can be good to start
with easy questions to build rapport with your subject.
Do any of your questions need to be asked earlier because other
questions depend on the answer?
Are any of the questions related and need to be asked in sequence?
Do any of the questions need to be asked separately so the answers do
not influence each other?
Should any questions be asked at the end because they are of a
summary or culminating nature?
Write questions in order below.
Final Question Self/Peer Review Checklist
– Be sure to complete this step
before interviewing. Go through this checklist for each interview question
and revise as needed. The wording of your questions matters!
____ This question is not a yes/no question.
____ This question does not have multiple parts.
____ This question is specific, not vague.
____ This question is not leading the respondent to a specific answer
____ This question makes sense at this point in the interview.