Ten Stages of Interviewing
From: Ken Metzler, professor emeritus, author of
(1) Definition of purpose (Know what you want and you're halfway
(2) Choice of respondent (Knowing who has the answers).
(3) Pre-interview research
(4) Planning your interview
(5) Making an interview appointment
(6) Meeting-greeting your respondent/preliminary (icebreaker)
(7) Getting down to business - your first planned questions
(8) Reaching a friendly conversational rapport, like old friends
(9) The "bomb." Potentially embarrassing questions - to be
(10) Ending the interview - watch for the "afterglow effect"
1. Have I made the purpose of my interview clear-both to myself
and to my source? (What do you really want from this interview and
how eager are you to obtain this information? The more specific your
purpose and the more apparent your enthusiasm, the more likely you
are to gain cooperation.)
2. Have I made it clear (to myself and to the source) why I want
information from this particular individual? (The source may be
flattered to be singled out.)
3. Have I eliminated my own pre-conceived biases and removed my
emotional barriers to communications?
4. Have I done preliminary research on the person and topic to be
discussed--read things about him/her, done preliminary interviews so
that I can develop new areas of inquiry?
5. Has my research included preparation for "small talk" or
"icebreaker" kinds of commentary? (e.g., reviewing news accounts of
recent Supreme Court decisions when preparing to interview a lawyer.)
6. Before requesting the interview, have I prepared a few
"sample" questions cold-bloodedly calculated to be both provocative
7. Am I prepared to use my listening "down time" effectively?
(Your mind runs 3 to 4 times faster than people's speech so that you
can tune in and out of the conversation. You can make effective use
of the "non-listening" time to evaluate what is said, make
comparisons with other data, take notes, and to think up new
8. Am I (or will I be by interview time?) well rested, well
nourished, sober, with all mental faculties alert so that I can catch
the fine nuances of meaning or things left half-expressed or even
unsaid-in short, ready to listen between the lines?