An interview is a purposeful conversation between two or more people that follows a basic question and answer format. Interviewing is more formal than most other conversations because it has a preset purpose and uses a focused structure. There are many kinds of interviews. The employment interview is one which most of you are likely to face. Some other types are – information gathering interview, counselling interview, interrogatory interview, radio-television interview, and research interview. For the interview to be successful and effective, you need to do your homework before the interview and have a clear plan in mind. Here are some tips to help you.
Interview Format - Once the objectives of the interview are established, then you should prepare an interview format. Regardless of the interview’s purpose, for it to be productive you must divide the interview into three stages, namely, opening, the body, and the closing.
The opening of interview - involves establishing rapport between you and the person(s) you are interviewing. The purpose is to make the interviewee comfortable. Generally, the interviewer starts the conversation and does most of the talking at the outset. This serves two functions, i.e. it establishes the goal of interview, and gives the interviewee time to become comfortable with the situation and the interviewer.
The body of the interview - of course, is the heart of the process. You ask the questions in an attempt to generate information and data that are required for the purpose. To accomplish the purpose of an interview, the you need to prepare a set of questions, also called a schedule, for different domains, or categories you want to cover. To do this, you must first decide on the domains/categories under which information is to be generated.
For example, in job a interview, you may select several categories such as nature of the organisation last worked for, satisfaction with the past job, views on product, etc. These categories and the questions within them can be framed ranging from easy-to-answer to difficult-to-answer. Your questions should be able to assess the facts as well as subjective assessment.
While closing the interview, as an interviewer, you should summarise what you were able to gather. One should end with a discussion of the next step to be taken. When the interview is ending, give a chance to the interviewee to ask questions or offer comments.
Types of Interview Questions
- Direct Question: They are explicit and require specific information. For example, “Where did you last work?”
- Open-ended Question: They are less direct and specify only the topic. For example, “How happy were you with your job on the whole?”
- Close-ended Question: They provide response alternatives, narrowing the response variations. For example, “Do you think knowledge of a product or communication skill is more important for a salesperson?”
- Bipolar Question: It is a form of close-ended question. It requires a yes or no response. For example, “Would you like to work for the company?”
- Leading Question: It encourages a response in favour of a specific answer. For example, “Wouldn’t you say you are in favour of having officer’s union in the company?”
- Mirror Question: They are intended to get a person to reflect on what she or he had said and expand on it. For example, you said “I work so hard but I am unable to get success.” Please explain as to why this happens.
I hope these tips help you in conducting an effective interview. Please share your thoughts and comments.