In Part I of this series on interviewing, I considered preparatory steps you can take before doing interviews for qualitative research to ensure their success. Immersing yourself in the problem space, getting access to the right people and preparing them for their interview, finessing the interview setting, and honing your script’s structure and phrasing are crucial to creating a conducive interview experience. A successful interview depends on characteristics of both the interviewer and the research participant. In Part II, I’ll address how to manage an interview to ensure it starts on the right track and stays there. This article also touches on some ways to develop your interviewing skills throughout your career.
Bad interviews can result in missing data, incomplete detail, misleading results, partial insights, and lost opportunities. Your reports, presentations, and recommendations document what you’ve learned from your research and the decisions you’ve made based on it, so you need to ensure your research is the best it can be—that you get good interviews.
Here’s a quick tip for you as you conduct your goal-directed interviews with users and potential users: Leave a four-second pause after your interviewee pauses their response, allowing them to add more information or additional detail.