The art of interviewing

One of the things I do here at Sauder is interviewing people. Who do I interview… you might ask. For the most part, I interview students who have taken a course before to see how they have applied strategic design in their internships or careers, and I write their stories up into case studies (which I’ll definitely share with you at some point in time).

So far, I have interviewed 7 alumni. As much as you hear your counselor, parents or friends say that it is important to practice for an interview, I can say that being an interviewer is also a skill – a skill that you acquire overtime. Working in the Sauder, it is no doubt that we operate like a design process, and part of that includes reflecting on my work. So, after a month of interviewing people, let’s see what three tips I can give you as an interviewer?

Taken from Lifescales Coaching

First and foremost – don’t be afraid of the silence. Personally, I find it difficult to remain silent just after I have popped a question to the alumni. Right after I have asked a question, I would like an answer. I wouldn’t say that I am impatient to hear from him or her, rather I am anxious as to whether the individual has understood my question and whether I have asked a “good question.” But really for the most part, I realized that the silence means that they are thinking, and it’s OK to have a reasonable period of silence.

Secondly – practicing the art of listening. Every interviewer has a list of questions to ask. And sometimes we just want to get through the questions without really pondering about the interviewee’s response. After all, sometimes their responses can be rather wordy and lengthy. But that’s when by listening, better questions can be extracted from their responses either to build on their previous responses or to reveal other interesting findings.

Last but not least – interview without expectations. What do I mean by that? Many times, I go into an interview and anticipate certain kind of responses to fit my expectations of what an ideal interviewee should be. And when I don’t receive the kind of responses I want, I tend to feel it’s a wasted attempt. However, I learnt that to constrict myself to a certain type of answer limits creativity and shuts opportunities to new findings. Rather if I were to take a step back, I will find that their replies offer new insights although they might not be the “typical” answer I am looking for. After all, what’s an interview for if I were to expect certain answers?

At the end of the day, I’m not saying that I have exceled in being an interviewer, but by learning how not to be afraid of the silence, practice the art of listening and interview without expectations, I am definitely on my way to success.


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