Are you a student and you have to interview someone for your thesis or study project? Feeling nervous and don’t know where to start? Stay tuned, in this short article we’ll give you the best tips & tricks to get the best out of your interview.

The advice is split into 3 categories: before the interview, during the interview and after the interview.

Before the Interview:

1) Find a suitable indoor location for the interview. Make sure the place is quiet and private. Otherwise, your interviewee won’t feel comfortable and you run the risk of having a poor audio recording.

2) Test your equipment beforehand. No matter what you use, a phone, a recorder or a microphone - give it a solid quality test before bringing it to the interview. “Nothing can go wrong”, “It was working just fine” - are phrases we commonly hear from students, who are frustrated with their own gear on the day of the interview. You don’t want to lose your professionalism in the eyes of the interviewee, so prepare well.

P.s - don’t have a good voice recorder yet? Check out this guide for some recommendations.

3) Briefly describe how you are going to treat the data collected from the interview. If you’re recording the interview, make sure to ask the interviewee’s permission!

4) Quickly describe the structure and key topics that are going to be addressed during the interview. Also, don’t forget to mention its duration and try not to go past that time limit.

Things to keep in mind before the interview

During the Interview:

5) Human memory isn’t that great. If possible, record the entire interview and take useful notes along the way.

6) You want to obtain rich, saturated information about a subject you’re investigating. That’s why you should avoid asking “yes/ no” questions. Always investigate the details such as "when", "why", "where" and "how". 

7) ALWAYS remain calm and neutral. You’re the researcher who’s just collecting the data. Avoid your personal judgments, criticism or strong emotional reactions, despite what the interviewee says.

8) Keep your questions simple and precise. Adapt your language style to the one of the interviewee and forget all the jargon. Your interviewee is most likely not a scholar himself/ herself, so complex terms shall be avoided.

9) Avoid double-barreled questions - questions that raise 2 topics, but allow for only 1 answer.

For example: How satisfied are you with the quality of education and on-campus facilities in your university?

This question basically raises 2 topics at the same time. You can be satisfied with the quality of education but dissatisfied with on-campus facilities.

How are you going to answer - yes or no? 

This question is simply put in a wrong way, so there is no clear way to answer it.

After the Interview:

10) Make sure to thank the interviewee for his time and input. If he/she has any questions or is interested in learning outcomes of your project, leave some of your contact details.

Bonus tip: What happens after the interview? Hours and hours wasted on transcribing text? Not anymore! We have developed a powerful transcription software that will do the job for you with up to 90% accuracy! Learn more about our transcription services here.

P.s - if you want to learn how to improve the quality of your recording, then this article has some useful advice for you!