Conduct an Effective Interview Gathering information is an important task, whether you are trying to assess whether a job candidate would be a good fit for an open position, or if you need to gather feedback about a new system you are developing. An important means of gathering information is the personal interview. Interviews must be thorough and comprehensive. Prior to conducting an interview, you must determine that an interview is the best means for obtaining the information you seek. You have learned a variety of ways to obtain information, and you should use each of them appropriately. Because an interview may interrupt a person’s schedule and takes time, you must be sure the information gained in the interview justifies this interruption. Once you have determined you should conduct an interview to gather information, plan to ask questions that will generate useful answers. The following steps guide you through the process of conducting an interview that ultimately will generate useful answers.
a. Your questions should directly address the goals of the interview. Do not expect the person being interviewed to provide a tutorial. Your questions must generate answers that supply you with the information you need to make a decision
b. Your questions should be thought-provoking. In general, do not ask questions requiring a yes or no answer. Your questions should not lead the interviewee to an answer — rather, the questions should be open-ended and allow the person to develop the answer. As an interviewer, never argue with the person being interviewed, do not suggest answers or give opinions, ask straightforward questions rather than compound questions, never assign blame for any circumstance that might come up in the interview, and never interrupt while the person is talking. Finally, you, as the interviewer, should not talk much. Remember, you are conducting the interview to gain information, and it is the person you are interviewing who has that information. Let him or her talk.
c. Pay attention carefully, with your ears and your eyes. What you hear normally is most important, but body language and other movements often convey information as well. Concentrate on the interviewee — expect that you will make much more eye contact with the person than he or she will with you. Allow silences to linger — the normal impulse in a conversation is to fill the silence quickly; in an interview, however, if you are quiet, the person being interviewed might think of additional information.
• Plug in the computer or device so that you do not have to rely on battery power. If you must rely on battery power, be sure that the battery is fully charged.
• Use a wired Internet connection, rather than connecting to a wireless network, to minimize the risk of losing Internet connectivity during the interview.
• Select a location for the video call that has a neutral background and is free from distractions.
• Know how to initiate or receive a video call.
• Exit your email, chat, and other unnecessary applications during the interview so that you are not distracted or interrupted by alerts and notification messages.
• Test the videoconferencing software in advance to ensure the configuration works.
• Adjust the microphone, webcam, and speakers before the actual interview to ensure optimum call quality.
• Practice switching between the videoconferencing app’s chat window and your desktop or a browser window, in case you want to share a link, send a file, or type a message during the interview.
• Keep your eyes focused on the webcam so that you
1. Think about the last time you were involved in an interview (either as an interviewer or an interviewee). What types of questions were you asked? Do you feel the questions solicited useful answers?
2. If you were to interview a candidate for a technologyrelated position, what types of questions would you ask?
3. What advantages do open-ended questions have? When might a question requiring a brief answer be appropriate?