How To Conduct An Effective And Professional Interview

Conduct a professional interview while still getting what you need to know out of your subject. This requires a different set of skills than merely being the subject of one.

To conduct a successful interview is to obtain all of the information from your subject in a courteous and open-minded fashion. Whether you are interviewing someone for a paper you are writing, or interviewing them for a job, these tips will help you achieve your goal.

If you must go to your subject's office or home, please call ahead to confirm the appointment. Be courteous to the person's office staff if you have a chance to speak with them on the phone. Being nice to a secretary or administrative assistant can pay dividends down the road.

On the day of your interview, arrive at your location between ten to fifteen minutes ahead of the scheduled time. Doing so gives you two advantages. First, you are giving the subject the impression that you are prepared and that this interview means a lot to you. Secondly, you can finalize any notes you have or jot down last minutes questions for the interview. Apologizing for being late is simply not the way to begin.

More than anything, the first two or three questions should set the tone for the interview. Make them strong. Do not be afraid to exchange pleasantries at first, including asking the subject about his or her background in order to make them feel comfortable. However, once the interview is underway, make your first impression count. If you have researched thoroughly, you should have no problem.

Listen to your subject's answers carefully. Do not be afraid to pose follow-up questions. Should your subject pose an intriguing answer or leave an answer incomplete, do not be in a hurry to move on. Give him or her five seconds to fill in the blanks. You will be surprised at how them may attempt to fill the gap.

If your interview subject is moving away from a certain topic or wants to change the subject, do not resist. However, this does not mean that you cannot revisit the material later. Should you have the time, take a coffee or soda break. Later, open the topic up to discussion again. There may be rumors floating around about your subject, and you may have a chance to clear them up. Approach your subject in this manner. Get them to view you as an ally. If you have two interviews scheduled with your subject, bring up the topic in the second one.

Whatever answers your subject gives, never act overtly surprised or taken aback. Doing so may cause the person to realize how much of an impression they have made. They may take back what they said, or attempt to minimize its impact. Remaining unmoved by a response may cause your subject to add even more detail than his or her original response contained. At the end of the interview, always thank your subject for his or her time, both orally and in the form of a thank you note or letter.

These tips, combined with preparation and research on your subject, will lead you to a provacative yet professional interview.

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