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What are dos and don'ts for interviews - way with words

What are dos and don’ts for interviews

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The interview process can be stressful at times. There are many informative articles on how to interview someone for a potential job, but less information on how to properly conduct an interview with someone you are recording. This type of interviewing refers to those conducted by journalists, podcasters, poll conductors, and even YouTube interviews.

The Dos & Don’ts Interview Guide

There is a lot that can go wrong in these types of interview settings, so here are the dos and don’ts for interviews that are to be recorded.

Do – Have a Quality Recording Device

Quality equipment is always necessary when conducting any interview with the intention of recording. Digital recorders are the way to go in this instance. Standard, non-digital recording devices have a hard time distinguishing from background noise and the final audio is harder to clean up. Digital recording devices work the same as standard analog, but with the key difference of converting that analog signal into a digital representation of the sound. It provides a clearer sound that can be easily manipulated by editing software.

If you are using your smartphone to record your interview then read our guide to recording clear audio on a phone.

Don’t – Record Outdoors (if you can help it)

Background noise is understandably a bad thing, but sometimes, the noise is not always recognized until the final recording is played back. Often, it is not the surrounding noise that is the culprit, but wind. Wind, even a slow breeze, can impact the final quality of your recording. Conducting an interview on the inside of a building or at a time where wind is not a factor is the best way to ensure quality, clear interview recordings.

Do – Enunciate Words

Any actor, performer, or entertainer of any type will tell you that enunciating your words is the only way to be clearly understood. Different dialects can have a significant impact on the final recording. Even when you happen to be interviewing someone with a steep dialect, they often change their speech patterns to match yours. Ergo, if you enunciate your words clearly, you will send an unspoken signal to the interviewee to enunciate theirs as well. Should the signal go unnoticed, it is perfectly fine to ask your interviewee to repeat a phrase that might not pick up clearly on the final audio.

Don’t – Record in Rooms with Poor Acoustics

Just like recording outside, indoor acoustics matter. Interviews conducted in a large room can produce an echo that can be distracting and distorts the final recording. If you must record in a large area, choose a section of area that is quietest. It is also best to do a test run before an actual interview takes place to check acoustics. Even rooms that may look fine can have features, such as air conditioners, that interfere with recording. The best room to use are well insulated and are void of metal decorations and materials.

For further tips on ensuring a clear recording, read our guide on how to record meetings

Do – Have the Microphone Closest to the Interviewee

When conducting an interview while recording, you can be tempted to set the recording device between the interviewer and interviewee. Although this might seems like an excellent idea, remember that the answers are more important than the questions. Also, you might already understand the need to speak loudly and clearly but the interviewee may not have the same experience. Therefore, place the recording device close to the interviewee to ensure their responses are recorded clearly. 

Don’t – Make it Up as You Go

Some interviews can be made up on the spur of the moment. Generally speaking though, you will want to have some form of outline to work from. Making it up as you go will likely end in some questions failing to be answered. Make a clear cut outline to bring with you before any interview. There is always room for improvement, but when you have a clear outline, you look more professional. Spontaneity is encouraged, but keep your focus on your carefully constructed outline.

Final Tips & Pointers

These are just a few of the dos and don’ts for interviews to keep in mind. Always conduct an interview in the most professional manner and ensure that your recording equipment is top notch. Ensure that you dress appropriately for the interview as the interviewee will likely mimic what they see. If you act professionally, most of the time, they will as well. Treat each interview with the respect it deserves. Aleays have a clear goal with what you want to achieve.

If you keep these tips in mind, you will shine as an interviewer.