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  • Writer's pictureKatie Korsmo

5 Tips for Conducting Interviews

Updated: Oct 11, 2022

I’ve been working for the MSUM marketing and communications department since last spring. One of the primary things I do is write stories that are featured on their website. In order to write these stories, I’ve conducted several interviews with the people these stories are about. I’ve held interviews in person, over zoom, and over the phone. There are plenty of careers in the field of public relations that may require you to conduct interviews. Here are some tips that will help with that.

1. Find a good location:

If you work from home it’s important to find a place that is distraction free. If your roommates, family, or pets are home try turning on a fan to eliminate background noise. Don’t forget to make sure you have a clean background if you are hosting the interview over zoom.

2. Prepare your questions:

It’s important to know what you’re going to ask the interviewee ahead of time. Do your research and figure out what questions will get you the answers you need to write a good story.

3. Go over the basics:

Even if you were given all of the basic information on your interviewee it doesn’t hurt to double check. Ask what they prefer to be called and make sure you know how to spell their name. Also clarify any other relevant details. In the case of most of the stories I write that usually means things like their major, job title or graduation year.

4. Don’t be afraid to go off script:

What the person you interview says might surprise you. There’s a chance their answer might spark an idea for a question that wasn’t on your list. Go ahead and ask it. It could lead to an even better story.

5. Ask for more information:

If the person you interview didn’t give you the answer you were looking for don’t be afraid to follow up your original question. Ask for more details or clarification on what they said. There’s a chance they might give you a better answer if you reword the same question, go ahead give that a try.

The thought of conducting an interview may seem intimidating at first. But it actually can be a lot of fun. Those are just some tips that I’ve learned and find helpful.

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