What not to do during interview prep

I’ve had the opportunity to interview some different people this semester, and let me just say that going into this class I never pictured myself conducting interviews, and I had no idea how much work goes into an interview. I experimented with this mode for my third experiment, and I soon after decided it was an essential part of my final project. I did some preliminary research and prep, and I went into my first interview. It went nothing like I expected. But, somehow, it turned out even better than I had hoped. I had gone into the first interview with expectations of how the whole thing would go, and literally right after I asked the first question, I forgot the entire structural plans and just had a conversation. Sure, this convo was led by my previous research, but it felt like an almost impossible environment to ask mechanical, premade questions. I found myself listening, truly listening, to what my subject had to say, which led the entire discussion. After the interview, I looked back over my initial structure of the interview and kind of freaked out since I hadn’t followed it that closely. When I wrote the article however, it felt much more natural and real than expected, and I was so thankful I didn’t direct the conversation too much. Letting go of this control as an interviewer was difficult to justify at first, but I truly think it made a huge, positive difference for my article. I was able to incorporate more freely moving interviews with my two other subjects at a later point, and having these authentic conversations not only helped me as a writer but as a community member in general. We should join a conversation not only to speak, but to listen. This is where we learn most- from those around us.

One thought to “What not to do during interview prep”

  1. I think this is really insightful because we often go into our projects with a set idea and plan of how things are going to transpire and, at least from personal experience, get overwhelmed when things don’t go as we expect them to. It’s really interesting that despite going off-script for your planned interview and thus the write-up, you were able to create a more natural and free piece. Moving forward, this will remind me that even though having a plan is important, change and spontaneity is welcome for a written piece of work.

Leave a Reply