Interviewer Guidelines

There’s an art to interviewing candidates, mostly focused on listening. Here are some guidelines.

What makes a good interviewer?

  • Discerning: Looks beyond flashy mockups and animations to see the thinking behind the work. Remembers good design doesn’t always make the front page of a design award site.
  • Knowledgeable: Thoroughly familiar with the focus of the interview; pilot interviews of the kind used in survey interviewing can be useful here.
  • Structuring: gives purpose for interview; rounds it off; asks whether interviewee has questions.
  • Clear: asks simple, easy, short questions; no jargon.
  • Gentle: lets people finish; gives them time to think; tolerates pauses.
  • Sensitive: listens attentively to what is said and how it is said; is empathetic in dealing with the interviewee.
  • Open: responds to what is important to interviewee and is flexible.
  • Steering: Knows what she/he wants to find out.
  • Critical: is prepared to challenge what is said, for example, dealing with inconsistencies in interviewees’ replies.
  • Remembering: relates what is said to what has previously been said.
  • Interpreting: clarifies and extends meanings of interviewees’ statements, but without imposing meaning on them.
  • Balanced: does not talk too much, which may make the interviewee passive, and does not talk too little, which may result in the interviewee feeling he or she is not talking along the right lines.
  • Ethically sensitive: is sensitive to the ethical dimension of interviewing, ensuring the interviewee appreciates what they say won’t be shared outside the team interviewing them.