How To Conduct A Great Interview

The other day, someone got in touch with me and told me I should do a post on how to conduct a good interview. The reason? This person has just been interviewed and the questions they received were so bad, they told the interviewer to redo them and try again. The questions were better the second time around but still lackluster.

I’ve already performed my fair share of interviews both by audio and text. I’ve found that written interviews are much easier to produce than audio. I believe it’s because you don’t need to be on top of your game in front of a live audience. I conduct my shows live and off the cuff which means I better have some sort of clue as to what I’m talking about or I’ll look like an idiot.

This leads me to the short and sweet point that RESEARCH is your number one key to victory for producing a quality interview. The best interviews I have ever conducted have been with people or on topics which I know quite a bit about. There are a couple of reasons on why research is so valuable to an interview. For starters, it builds confidence. Secondly, it helps to generate natural conversation. Interviews sound so much better when they don’t appear to be manufactured or based on a script. Being well researched enables you to ask questions that are somewhat related to the topic at hand without sticking to one talking point. Last but not least, the more research you do, the more interesting and informing your questions SHOULD be. All of the easy to answer questions which are just a Google search away should never be asked during an interview.

In fact, there are quite a few questions you need to stay away from when conducting an interview. Here are just a few.

  • How much money do you make?
  • Personal questions.
  • Questions which require no thought.
  • If the interviewee does not want to answer a specific question, let it go. Don’t continue to harp on them until they answer.

These are general rules and observations I’ve made with all of the interviews I have conducted. Now of course, these don’t apply across the board as some people exist to play hardball with others, asking the tough and not easy to answer questions. That’s ok if the topic/person leans towards that type of interview.

So in the end, the best thing you can do when it comes to interviewing or being interviewed is research. Knowledge is power and if you have the knowledge, everything else becomes gravy!

8 thoughts on “How To Conduct A Great Interview

  1. Great article. Most useful. When doing interviews I always remember Rudyard Kipling and his best friends; who, what, where when, why. Why being used with caution. Of course interview questions are of little use without creating rapport first with the interviewee. Then the questions will be more effective.

  2. I agree that you need to know your subject. If you do not, the entire conversation becomes one long exercise in definitions of terminology. When was the last time you saw someone reading a dictionary (OK apart from him!).

  3. I spent several months trying to win freelance projects on Elance. I started using the advice in this blog: and have been working consistently ever since. Can be “salesy” at times, but the information is invaluable. Read it!

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