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.