Interview techniques are the elements required to ensure a successful interview. This report details different forms of interviews and the appropriate techniques for each.
The purpose of an interview is to gain information from a party (individual, group, etc) through questions.
There are many types of interviews such as:
Direct interviews are most popularly used on television and have pre-planned and approved questions. The majority of the time, the answers are pre-approved too.
This allows for the interview to remain appropriate for the audiences watching.
An example of a direct interview is one in which Peter Andre was interviewed by Sky TV about his tour. However, this interview soon turned sour as the interviewee began to ask questions that Andre was unhappy to answer, despite the interviewer saying “we did tell you we were going to [ask you about that]”, showing the questions were pre-approved.
Covert interviews are the opposite of overt interviews. Where overt interviews allow the interviewee to know they’re being interviewed, covert interviews do not.
Using the previous example, if Andre was to be covertly interviewed, the interviewer would perhaps place him in a more discreet location such as a public space and use hidden recording devices and hidden cameras. This would allow the interviewer to obtain the desired information without Andre being aware he was being interviewed.
Ambush interviews are interviews in which the interviewee is caught by surprise and interviewed without pre-approval.
An example of an ambush interview may be that of an employer and employee. Some employers use ambush interviews as a way of gaining information the employee may not willingly let on in a comfortable situation. For example, an employer may invite the employee to lunch to discuss one topic, then unexpectedly begin to ask interview questions. The interviewee will feel under pressure and may not think their answers through because of this, allowing more truthful and honest answers to be gained by the employer.
Talking head interviews are most popularly used on the news. They feature the interviewer and the interviewee being filmed separately. These interviews generally don’t have ore-approved questions and answers, however both parties are aware of the subject of the interview.
Vox populi is the latin phrase that means “the voice of the people”. Vox pops is slang for this, and is the term that refers to interviews of the public. For example, an interviewer will use a microphone to interview random surrounding members of the public about their local issues.
Email/ phone/voice-over/text-only Interviews
Email and phone interviews are interviews where there are audio and visual limitations. Email interviews involve the interviewee answering questions via email, and phone interviews are interviews that are asked over the phone and audio recorded.
Interviews used by media products
Many media products use interviews as a form of promotion.
For example, Quentin Tarantino was interviewed by Channel 4 about his new film to promote it.
Interviews can also be used to advertise, such as founders of events being interviewed on the radio or television, gaining following and interest from the public.
Interviews can also be used as a form of damage control or PR by companies.
What can affect audience responses to interviews?
The way in which an interview is conducted can affect the responses of the audience.
For example, the Peter Andre interview featured Andre in tears, evoking sympathy from the audience and a distaste towards the interviewer.
Issues that must be considered when interviewing
Current affairs and the predicted reaction from the audience must be considered when interviewing.
For example, interviews on politics will evoke strong reactions from the audience as the public can be very divided in their opinions. The interviewer must be cautious and ensure their interview is balanced and fair to avoid bias and a negative reaction from audiences.