Some notes from my experience interviewing people in project context.
- I propose two possible dates, making sure there is time in between for writing down what I’ve uncovered.
- If it it’s not clear who fits the role I need, then I describe what he does and his responsibilities. Also, I state the main goal and topics of the interview I wish to go through.
- I find two, maybe three, interviews per day is my maximum for really good interviews. Beyond that I can’t do it well – it’s demanding and draining.
- In one paper sheet I list the context, goal and topics (preferably the interviewer already knows these beforehand) and put a few open questions that I can recall during the interview. I check them out at the end just in case.
- Throw first, present yourself and context: why are we here? Then what you want to know.
- Begin with easy, non threatening questions, to overcome fear.
- Look for interesting topics that come up. Rephrase them – that ensures you confirm your understanding and shows real listening attitude.
- Allow for time, don’t rush the interview.
- Be quiet (hard, really hard for me) and let them finish what they say.
- I prefer a plain notebook and a pen. No computers. It’s a barrier.
- At the end I always thank for the time and ask permission for further questions just in case I need more information.
- Reserve 30 minutes right after the interview to jolt down your fresh notes in digital form. Trust me on this one.
- Sometimes I use colors to isolate different types of information. This way I don’t have to force a structure in unstructured notes and still identify higher level qualitative information. More on this here from a previous comment.