The Art of the Interview











The Art of the Interview is Seriously Undervalued.

If it's to be done well, it has to be a shared journey
and cannot be one superior person in the back seat expecting the driver to take him swiftly to
his destination.


Follow the natural flow of the conversation and don’t impose on it a pre-determined structure or list of questions.

This obligates you to listen and to continue the conversation at the point they left off. It’s your job to make the flow as seamless as possible while covering all the areas you need to. But make it flow naturally.



‘Listening’ is something you do with your eyes as well as your ears.

What people say is often not a reflection of what they feel and your eyes will be the best guide to body language that supports or refutes it. Their posture and facial expressions will reveal as much, or maybe more, than their words. All senses should act as a kind of psychic antenna and pick up clues as to their state of mind.



If you want to get stuff out of people you will need to reveal stuff about yourself.

We all feel more trusting and open if the relationship is somewhat equal and the conversation is not just one sided. Express your empathy, even reveal a similar experience but do something to let your subject know that you get it. They mustn’t feel like they have been ‘taken in for questioning’ and you are not any form of Supreme Being.


Aim for as comfortable an environment as possible, and to that end keep the presence of other people (and equipment) on an essential only basis.

Whenever you ask real people if they are comfortable with others being present they will always feel obliged to say yes. They don’t mean this; they just don’t want to be rude. 



Sometimes, don’t always follow up immediately but let an answer linger.

The subject will quite often sense that more is needed and be more forthcoming. Silence can be your friend.


Your body language and your facial expressions will play a big part in conveying encouragement and creating a safe place.

Nothing of much significance gets revealed if you’re stern or indifferent. So stay relaxed, informal and conversational.


And finally, and most obviously, you better be interested in and care about people.

If you aren’t, they will sense this and will resist sharing sensitive information.