How to Write Interview Questions
The truth is that there is no single recipe for effective interviewing, no single format for all situations and tasks, no one right way of wording questions. However, there are some useful guidelines that should be considered.
To prepare well-crafted questions, you need to understand the goal of the interview and what you need to know from the person you’re interviewing. With this information in mind, it will be easier to create unique questions for your particular situation.
Below you’ll find some great strategies and tips for coping with the assignment successfully.
Start with a “Softball Question”
Why is the first question so important? It should make the interviewee open, relaxed and eager to share the information you’re interested in. A “softball question” will create the right atmosphere and make the interview flow naturally.
This question has to be very simple and uncontroversial, not challenging at all. It shouldn’t require a lot of thought or risk to answer it. That’s why start your interview with this simple question to set the right tone for your conversation.
Ask Open-Ended Questions
To receive as much information as possible, you have to avoid “yes” or “no” questions. Instead, always use open-ended questions. They will help you find out all you need for your story. Remember that your purpose is to create a dialogue, so it’s important to write the questions that require a full, not obvious answer.
Proceed with a Reflection Question
To learn how your interviewee thinks, you need to write reflection questions. This type of questions will make a person recollect and share some information or story with you. You can ask anything that will make a person look back: a career path, some important events, difficult life moments, etc. A reflection question is a great way to keep the conversation going.
Ask Questions that Cause Emotional Response
You need to write a few questions that cause the emotional response. Consider what can make your interviewee feel excited or annoyed. The emotional response shouldn’t be only positive, that’s why you can ask tricky questions. Start your questions with “why” and “how” to receive a full answer. For instance, you may ask something like “Why did you decide to start writing that book if the previous one didn’t sell well?”
Include a Curve Ball Question
Now you have to look at the questions you’ve written. If there are too many similar ones, consider adding a curve ball. This question can be a fun and interesting adding to the general story. Ask something unrelated to the whole conversion to spice it with interesting information.
Paraphrase Your Questions
When you’ve finished writing all the questions, look them over and decide which ones should be paraphrased. Make sure that your questions are clear and understandable. If you feel that some of them become irrelevant, consider to replace them with the more suitable questions.
Throughout all phases of writing, keep centered on the purpose of your interview. It will help you come up with the right questions. You may need to do a research on the person you are going to interview to gather all the information before writing questions. Knowing the person’s goals, personality, achievements and failures will help you write really good questions.
Remember that there is no one right way of interviewing, that’s why try to write interesting questions for your appropriate situation and create a pleasant and engaging dialogue with your interviewee.