Three interviewing tips
Interviewing isn’t an exact science — your personality and experience will have a huge influence on how you engage with people. And over time, your own interview style will develop.
- Build rapport with customers
Research shows that creating rapport with your interviewee is key to getting them to be comfortable enough with you to share their feelings.
So don’t just jump into the questions — first make them feel relaxed and safe, which will also give the interview a more conversational tone.
Start with easy, fact-based questions. Doing this eases the customer into the interview. Afterwards, you can then watch for opportunities to build rapport.
Show genuine interest in what they have to say. Make them feel like they are an expert and you are privileged to speak with them — which is really the truth.
Finally, ‘Match and Mirror’ how they speak. Research shows that when you mimic the mannerisms of the person you’re speaking to, there’s a greater chance of them liking you and feeling more comfortable around you. But you have to do this in a very subtle way during an interview – match their energy level, the volume of their voice or the pace of their speech. Don’t be a total copycat.
- Talk less, listen more
You are here to get feedback and insights, not to talk about how great you think you are, right? The art of genuine listening means that you really strive to understand what the other person is telling you, without projecting yourself into the conversation. This helps you better absorb what the customer is saying and the context in which they are saying it.
Practice reflective listening. This means to listen to what the interviewee is answering and asking a follow-up question based on their answers to get to the root of the issue/solution. Example:
Interviewee: I saved a lot of time because of the ease of buying on your website.
You: So, if I understand correctly, you enjoyed shopping experience on our website because our e-commerce functionalities are convenient and straightforward?
Just be careful not to turn the conversation into a series of leading questions.
- Ask probing questions
Probing questions are essential to get at the deeper meaning behind what the person says. This is how you get insights that surveys can’t provide. The trick is to gently “probe” for more information on a topic without coming across as aggressive or pushy.
Probing is especially important when asking questions about how they feel. Often when you ask about someone’s emotions, they’ll provide a short answer: ‘I felt frustrated,’ for example.
Gentle probing helps you figure out what “frustrated” really means to that specific person in that specific context. So don’t be afraid to ask follow-up probing questions such as “what makes you feel that way?” or “could you tell me more about that?” This might unravel new, deeper insight into your customers feelings, expectations and requirements.
It all starts with a simple question.