4 tips for asking good interview questions

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When recording an interview for content, it’s important to get the most out of it; ask the right questions, the right way. Every question you ask needs to be well documented, well planned and well thought out in order to get a good answer from your interviewer.

Here are four tips for getting the most out of an interview:

1. Research, research and research

Preparation is by far the most important part of conducting a good interview. Doing as much research as possible on the subject of the interview shows the interviewee that you have come prepared.

Don’t waste time asking questions whose answers are readily available online. Researching the answers to simple questions and facts ahead of time will give you more time to ask meaningful questions. This, in turn, leads to more meaningful responses, which leads to content that resonates more powerfully with consumers.

2. Browse the topic in chronological order

Asking the subject of your interview about its journey from the start is always a clear path to follow.

Going to different topics in irrelevant time frames can be confusing. If you revisit a topic already covered earlier in the interview, it can lead to an awkward response, since you and your subject have already moved on to another topic. It is no longer in the foreground of your minds, so neither of you will have the same level of attention.

For example, if you’ve ever asked a 45-year-old business owner about their childhood, don’t ask later, unless it’s specifically related to the current topic. Ask all the questions you have on a topic when you’re at it, then leave them there. Keep your questions related to the topic you’re talking about for now, instead of bouncing around in a timeline.

3. Ask for details

The specificity of the content is what separates the good from the great. Be sure to enter as many specific details of the interviewee as possible, without overdoing it. Asking for details during the interview can make all the difference when using the information from that interview for the end product.

Say you are doing an article about someone, and all you know is that they are Canadian and were raised by parents involved in the food industry. Prepare questions that will allow you to gather details:

Where are you from in Canada?

In what environment did you grow up?

What were your parents doing in the food industry?

Etc …

These kinds of questions may seem unimportant. However, as the little details pile up, they can make all the difference.

4. Ask for the emotional context

As mind-boggling as certain facts, statistics, or events are, what really brings this information to life is understanding the emotional context behind it. When an important event, statistic, fact or situation arises during your interview, ask the interviewee what they think.

What went through your mind when…?

Why is this so important?

How did this impact you?

Etc.

The answers that come from these types of questions often lead to content that resonates with an audience because they are emotional questions. Most facts and statistics do not speak for themselves; they have to be complemented by some kind of emotional context in order to bring them to life.

For example, if you ask the owner of a successful plumbing business about their business, only a small segment of consumers will realize what this industry is like.

However, what most people can relate to is the feeling of accomplishing something that you have been trying to accomplish for years. Therefore, it would be wise to ask questions that bring out these relatable emotions.

Overall, while interviewing is an art form, remember that at the end of the day it’s just two people having a conversation. It’s not some sort of great performance or presentation. If you can incorporate these tips while keeping the perspective that it’s just two people talking, you’ll end up with a great interview.



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