Production: 5 Tips for Moderating and Facilitating an Interview

The whole process of interview is very mind stressful. When you are being interviewed, you feel there is nothing more difficult than to keep your cool and answer the questions in an intelligent and yet as honest as you can. However, there is something more difficult than being interviewed. The job of the interviewer is far more difficult because the interviewer, or moderator, has to put all of the questions that you will be asked together. That alone takes not only time, but a certain amount of finesse. If you are a well known person, then information about you can be found and the questions can be compiled in accordance. But if you are not well known and you did one thing that was important enough to get you interviewed, then all the time of the interview has to be interestingly weaved around that one thing, what led up to it, and how it ended. Here are some tips on preparing to interview.

  1. Getting to Know One Another: When you are preparing to conduct an interview, the most important thing for you to do is to get to know the person you are going to interview. Make notes of all the relevant information you can gather about the person and prepare your questions. If there is another person with you during the interview, be sure that proper introductions are made so that everyone concerned with the interview knows one another. When beginning to prepare your questions, remember the five basic rules of information: who, where, when, what, and why.
  2. Introduction to Interview: If you are going to interview a famous doctor, you want everyone to know who he or she is and where he or she is from. You will also want to know when the doctor first knew he or she wanted to do the work he or she is now doing. You will also want to spend some time on what his or her future goals are. The last category of questions is "why." This is one question you want to be careful of as it can become sticky especially if you are not well versed in the work the doctor is doing. If you stick to questions about why he or she chose a particular field and what he or she thinks are his or her strengths and weakness regarding his or her chosen field, you will be safe with the "why" question.
  3. Discussing the Career and Accomplishments: When you have conducted the initial interview as outlined above, you want to change the subject and talk about what led to him or her becoming a famous doctor. Your questions should now be about his or her career and what he or she has accomplished rather than about him or her personally.
  4. Developing an Interview Style: As an interviewer, you should develop a style that is unique to you and your interview process. You have covered all of the questions you will ask your famous doctor and now you want to develop a way to ask them. Be sure your tactics are interesting, but make sure the questions remain open ended. You want to be careful not to put words into the interviewee's mouth. Ask one question at a time even if the second question is an extension of the first question, for example, two questions at once. Incorrect: "Are you going to lecture in Washington and will you be going to the White House while you're there?" Correct: "Are you going to lecture in Washington?" (wait for answer) "Will you go to visit at the White House while you are there?" It is important that your questions be clear and concise so they can be understood and not misinterpreted. This is particularly important when interviewing someone from a different culture.
  5. Stay in Control of the Interview: You are the moderator and as such you should be in control of the interview at all times. Do not allow your interview to get out of hand by the interviewee asking you questions. Do not get emotional over any of the answers even if you feel either angry or sad at the answer. You still need to stay in control. When the moderator overreacts, the answers he or she may receive from that point on may be influenced by that overreaction. Keep the interview moving and do not focus on one topic too long.

After the interview, make notes about what you have observed and the time, date, and place the interview took place.