Interviewing is an Art. It can make or break an article, but if you get it right and get a scoop it can make your career. With practice interviewing becomes easier (although even experienced interviewers will have a nightmare interview at some stage) but the following tips will help you keep interviews on track.
1. Be prepared; two pens, notepad, voice recorder with extra batteries.
2. Allow plenty of time to get to the interview. Tip: Arrive early and spend 20 minutes collecting your thoughts.
3. Do your homework. Research your subject. Prepare your questions. Tip: Write 50 questions, then delete the 30 least interesting ones.
4. Establish a rapport ‐ fast. Small talk is fine but empty compliments have little effect. Tip: Start by recounting (a short) complimentary anecdote about the person or their job - it will make them feel good and establish a personal connection between you.
5. Always be polite and agreeable. You will almost definitely get a better story and they are more likely to give you an interview next time. Being rude and aggressive guarantees the opposite.
6. Listen to the interviewee and give good eye contact at all times.
7. Use a recorder, it will stop you scribbling frantically during the interview and allow you to listen. It will also stop claims that you misquoted.
8. Keep the notepad as a prompt for questions, or taking notes on your impressions of the interviewee or the surroundings.
9. Listen to the interview and mentally edit your questions. Leave out any that have already been answered, or have become irrelevant because of previous answers. Don't just work your way through your list regardless.
10. Dress appropriately. Tip: if you are not sure what to wear, it's better to be too smart than too scruffy.
The LCMJ runs a one day Effective Interviewing Techniques course if you wish to further refine your skills.
After your course we won't leave you hanging. If you forget something you covered, call us and one of our expert trainers will get you back up and running.
At the end of the course you'll be provided with comprehensive course notes to use when you get back to the office. You also receive a certificate of attendence.
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