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Lesson Plan: How to do an Interview

written by: Trent Lorcher • edited by: SForsyth • updated: 2/17/2012

Teach students how to do an interview with these tips and techniques. Before you know it they'll be interviewing like the pros!

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    Prepare for the Interview

    Assigning students to conduct an interview can be used as part of a research assignment, a yearbook assignment, a history project, or as a stand alone assignment. Instruct students to do the following.

    1. Prepare for the Interview. This seems logical. High school students are not, however, logical. Tell them to determine what type of information they need--a personal story, facts, or information.
    2. Research background information. Gather enough information so you don't sound like a complete moron during the interview. If it's an interview with a business owner, get information about the company. If you're interviewing an expert, gather information on the subject.
    3. Create questions. Instruct students to turn their questions in before they do the interview. Remind them that the best questions are open-ended ones that invite the interviewee to talk about himself. Everyone has interests. It's the interviewers job to get the subject talking. This is where good research really helps.
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    Conduct the Interview

    Understand that students will probably be nervous. Preparation will offset nerves. Here are some tips for conducting the interview.

    1. Make your questions connect logically. Create a question funnel by asking follow up questions. For example, you could begin by asking where the subject grew up, followed by what school he went to, followed by what were his favorite subjects and activities in high school.
    2. Stick to the subject. Make sure your interview has a purpose. Write it at the top of your notebook. If you sense yourself straying, change your focus. If the subject looks confused by your question, simplify.
    3. Conduct a practice interview with a friend or relative.
    4. Overprepare - Have enough material to do three interviews just in case.
    5. Ask permission to write down answers. Write down everything. Ask if you can record the answers.
    6. Make a follow up phone call to clarify direct quotations and to say thank you.

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