Things to consider while doing an interview (Bev)

Talking Points (introduction)

Kinds of interview

  1. Structured
  2. Unstructured
  3. Semi structured

Structured Interviews

  • Asks specific questions and in specific order
  • Keeps respondents on track
  • Scheduled for a particular time, place and time frame

Unstructured Interviews

  • Informal in nature
  • Free range to talk about any aspect related to the broad interest
  • No time limits
  • Can be reciprocal in nature – dialogue

Semi structured

  • Specific questions asked , organized by topic but not asked in sequential order
  • Could be a dialogue format

Question construction

  • Questions should not contain academic jargon or phrases
  • Avoid why questions as they could lead to discomfort
  • Avoid multiple layer questions

Helpful hints

  • Be courteous
  • Practice
  • Carefully select location
  • Be ethical – get permission to record
  • Be sensitive
  • Listen

Things to consider while doing an interview

The 3 P’s

  • Permission
  • Purpose
  • Preparedness

Things to Do:

  • Provide a welcoming environment
  •  Allow the interviewee to speak without interruptions
  • Listen
  • Want to understand their point of view
  • Be neutral
  • Watch your body language

Things not to do:

  • Ask a Yes or No question.
  • Ask more than one question at a time.
  • Say “…and my next question is…”
  • Allow for an awkward pause or dull moment.
  • Be disrespectful to your audience and the person you’re interviewing.
  • Forget who you’re serving.

Model # 1 – the perfect protocol

Interviewer: Thank you for agreeing to do this interview. The purpose of the interview is to gain an understanding about how you prepared for your doctoral program of study. For accuracy I would like to record this interview, do I have your permission to do so? Thank you, we will begin.

My name is Beverley Martin and I’m doing an evaluation on student preparation for a doctoral program of study.

Personal Characteristics / Skills / Strengths:

  • Tell me about yourself
  • Name 3 strengths that you have as a student and why do you consider these strengths?
  • What would one of your or professor say about you?
  • What would a professor tell me are your strengths?

Academic Experiences/Performance:

  • Why did you major in education?
  • Why did you choose to attend Fresno State University?
  • How did you make the decision to apply to our program? What other programs did you consider?
  • How has your graduate background prepared you for our program?
  • What courses have you enjoyed the most?
  • What courses have been most difficult for you?

Model # 2 – Imperfect protocol

Thanks for agreeing to this interview, let’s begin. (Interviewer turns tape on) – No permission asked for or given.

  • Did you gain any satisfaction from your studies? Yes or no
  • Do you feel your academic record accurately reflects your abilities and potential?
  • Do you feel you have worked to your full potential? What have you done and why do you consider that your full potential?
  • Tell me about Professor Smith and what that you didn’t like about him.(add your own dislike too)
  • Do you have skills and/or experiences that have prepared you for admission to this program?
  • Why should we consider you for our program instead of several other equally qualified candidates?(phone rings, interviewer answers)
  • What will you do if you are not accepted into our program?

Extracurricular Activities:

  • What extracurricular activity has been most satisfying to you?
  • What activities do you enjoy most outside of the classroom?(interrupts answer and interjects own ideas)
  • Do you have any hobbies or outside interests? Yes/no


  • What challenges do you think you might face in the graduate program?
  • What would you say is an area in which you need improvement?
  • What would you change about yourself and why?

Class participation – classmates will critique each model demonstrated using the interview protocol provided and decide if protocol was adhered to or not.


3 thoughts on “Things to consider while doing an interview (Bev)

  1. Beverly,
    Thank you for your concise information bullets and your clear examples of both correct and incorrect procedure. In addition to the in-class critique of both, it might be interesting to view examples of structured, unstructured, and semi-structured in addition to body language protocols and the strategies to avoid inserting bias into the interview.

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