Interview Practice: The Introduction (Part 1)

Objectives

  • To prepare for interviewing
  • To practice the start of an interview

Materials

  • “Questions for Introduction” handout (1 per participant)
  • “Start of Interview” handout (1 per participant)
  • “Rating Sheet for Introductions” handout (1 per participant)
  • Copies of Data Center’s guide to interviews (p. 9-11)
  • Recorders (optional)

Prepare Before

For interviews you will probably want to record the interviews in addition to taking notes so that the interviewer can listen more fully.   If you are recording, you should get consent to be recorded.   To record, either use a digital recorder or a smart phone (with enough memory to record).


Warm Up

Have you ever been interviewed before?   What, if anything, did the interviewer do to make you feel comfortable?  What, if anything, did the interviewer do that made you feel uncomfortable?  

Experience

Today we are practicing the start of the interview.

Read from Data Center’s Guide to Interviews, pages 9-11.

From the guide, we need to develop our answers to these questions. Hand out “Questions for Introduction” sheet and review questions. In your introduction, you should answer these questions, but there may also be questions that come up during the interview:

  • What is the purpose for the interview?
  • What is the extent of my involvement in this process?  How can I stay involved with what you are doing?
  • What is this information going to be used for?
  • What are the expected outcomes?
  • How do you handle confidentiality?

As a group come up with standard information that they must include.   Each person should write their answers on the “Questions for Introduction” sheet.   It should include the information, but it should also sound like that person.   It should not sound like a script or like it is something they have memorized and are uncomfortable saying.

For a few minutes, ask one of the questions to someone in the room.  They should answer without looking at their notes, to practice sounding natural.

  • Why are you interviewing me?
  • How long will this take?
  • Are you going to use my name?
  • What’s the point of this?
  • Who are you?
  • What’s your project doing next?

Reflect

At this point, how comfortable do you feel giving the introduction?  Are there parts that feel unnatural or forced?  Are there things we should change now?

Summarize

This is the part that will be the most predictable, so we want to make sure that we give consistent information.  Also, it’s our opportunity to make a first impression.   In the first few minutes, the interviewee will decide how much they trust you, how honest they can be, how important (or not) your project is, and whether they are going to answer you honestly.

Demonstrate

In pairs, practice the introduction to the interview. If possible, move students around the room so that they are as far apart as possible and won’t be distracted by each other. Pick who will be the interviewer and the interviewee. Each Interviewer should have the “Start of the Interview” guide; each Interviewee should have a “Rating Sheet for Introductions.”

Give each pair 3-5 minutes for the first introduction and 2 minutes for feedback.   Switch the pairs.

If needed, repeat this process so that everyone can practice the introduction again.