What is an Interview

The conversation between two or more people who are in the role of interviewer and interviewee is known as an interview, so that the former obtains information about a particular matter from the latter.

In any interview there are two roles: the interviewer and the interviewee. The interviewer is the one who asks the questions and conducts the conversation. He should also be in charge of introducing the topic and closing the interview.

The interviewer asks the interviewee a series of questions or issues with the aim of exposing, explaining or arguing his opinion, or simply providing information or testimony about a certain fact.

The interview is not a casual dialogue established by two or more people, but rather involves a prior communication agreement that has defined interests and purposes, which are known to all participants.

The interview is used as an instrument in journalism, medicine, psychology, the selection of personnel in a company, as well as in various areas of the human and social sciences to conduct research.

The function of the interviews is to obtain information of interest to the general public or for the investigation of a topic or issue.

Interview characteristics

The characteristics of an interview can be summarized as follows:

  • In every interview there is at least one interviewer and one interviewee.
  • It is a tool to obtain specific information.
  • It is an act of communication with a deliberate objective.
  • It requires a prior preparation process.
  • Each interview must have a structure or method according to its purposes.
  • In the interviews, direct speech and subjectivity predominate.
  • Regarding the number of interviewees, the interviews can be individual or group.
  • Regarding their media, the interviews can be face-to-face, telephone, written, radio, audiovisual or digital.

What is an interview for?

Interviews make it possible to obtain relevant information on a subject, situation or person through direct testimonies or from specialists in the matter to be dealt with. Likewise, they allow us to know different interpretations of the available information. Thus, interviews are tools for research, analysis and reporting.

For example, in journalism, interviews are a source of immediate information about breaking events. Interviews are also used to explain specialized topics to the audience or to profile influential personalities.

In the world of work, interviews are a tool for personnel selection, as they help to evaluate the candidate’s profile. Likewise, the interviews serve as research instruments in different areas of knowledge such as health and social sciences, and in professional areas such as advertising and marketing.

parts of an interview

Every interview is made up of the following parts: beginning, development and conclusion, which, in turn, are preceded by a period of preparation.

Opening or introduction: In this segment, the interviewer welcomes the interviewee and others present (if any). He introduces the subject of the interview and exposes the guidelines that will Guía the communication.

Development of the dialogue: this is the body of the interview. The round of questions and answers between the interviewer and the interviewee begins. The interviewer must Guía the conversation towards the established purposes.

Closing and farewell: the interviewer is in charge of summarizing and pondering everything discussed and offering some closing words. Before ending the session, he gives the interviewee a chance to say goodbye.

Types of interviews

The classification of the interviews varies according to their structure and design, that is, according to their method.

structured interview

The structured interview is one where the interviewer organizes and plans in advance the questions that he will ask, according to the objective of his investigation. It is applied in order to gather more or less objective information on a specific matter.

The structured interview contains closed questions whose order cannot be changed. In this way, the interviewee is guided through the process. Therefore, it does not admit the formulation of new questions or comments.

These types of interviews are frequently used to interview more than one person on the same subject.

For example, surveys on a product or service or population censuses.

semi-structured interview

The semi-structured interview is one that combines closed questions with open questions. Therefore, it is a freer interview in the development of the conversation and the topics.

This means that the interviewer establishes an initial script, while allowing qualitative questions or allowing the formulation of new questions based on the information provided by the interviewee.

For example, job interviews.

Unstructured or free interview

The unstructured or free interview is one that does not start from a predefined script, but that is structured depending on how the conversation progresses.

It is very important that unstructured interviews previously and clearly define a topic of interest. This requires the interviewer to research and prepare the topic in depth, so that he is able to Guía the interview without missing the point.

For example, the opinion interview.

journalistic interview

The interview is one of the fundamental genres of journalism. In it, the journalist plays the role of interviewer. Therefore, he holds a dialogue with an interviewee about a theme or issue. It can be written, radio or audiovisual. The objective of the journalistic interview is to obtain from the interviewee information on a topic of social interest.

There are different types of journalistic interview. For example:

  • opinion interview,
  • research interview,
  • informative interview,
  • testimonial interview,
  • Poll,
  • Statements.

Job or employment interview

The job interview is a tool to recruit personnel in companies. This is a phase that follows the delivery of the curriculum vitae. Its purpose is to obtain more in-depth information about a candidate, in order to know, verify and assess their attitude and their abilities to carry out a position or function.

clinical interview

The conversation between a doctor and a patient is known as a clinical interview in order for the doctor to obtain enough information to know the patient’s health problems. This will allow determining possible causes and defining a treatment. In this sense, it has therapeutic purposes.

psychological interview

The psychological interview is the fundamental instrument to identify a psychological problem in a patient. In it, the psychologist makes the inquiry and diagnosis, and determines the therapy with which he is going to treat the patient.

research interview

In the social sciences, the interview is an instrument for the development of research. Investigative interviews are applied when the topics merit the testimony of one or more people on a particular matter. They allow undocumented information to be collected on specific data as well as on ways of thinking, interacting or perceiving reality on the part of their witnesses.

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