A musician interviewed in a radio studio
A woman interviewing for a job
Athletes interviewed after a race
Street interview with a member of the public
Some interviews are recorded for television broadcast

An interview is a structured conversation where one participant asks questions, and the other provides answers.[1] In common parlance, the word "interview" refers to a one-on-one conversation between an interviewer and an interviewee. The interviewer asks questions to which the interviewee responds, usually providing information. That information may be used or provided to other audiences immediately or later. This feature is common to many types of interviews – a job interview or interview with a witness to an event may have no other audience present at the time, but the answers will be later provided to others in the employment or investigative process. An interview may also transfer information in both directions.

Interviews usually take place face-to-face, in person, but the parties may instead be separated geographically, as in videoconferencing or telephone interviews. Interviews almost always involve a spoken conversation between two or more parties, but can also happen between two persons who type their questions and answers.

Interviews can be unstructured, free-wheeling, and open-ended conversations without a predetermined plan or prearranged questions.[2] One form of unstructured interview is a focused interview in which the interviewer consciously and consistently guides the conversation so that the interviewee's responses do not stray from the main research topic or idea.[3] Interviews can also be highly structured conversations in which specific questions occur in a specified order.[4] They can follow diverse formats; for example, in a ladder interview, a respondent's answers typically guide subsequent interviews, with the object being to explore a respondent's subconscious motives.[5][6] Typically the interviewer has some way of recording the information that is gleaned from the interviewee, often by keeping notes with a pencil and paper, or with a video or audio recorder.

The traditionally two-person interview format, sometimes called a one-on-one interview, permits direct questions and follow-ups, which enables an interviewer to better gauge the accuracy and relevance of responses. It is a flexible arrangement in the sense that subsequent questions can be tailored to clarify earlier answers. Further, it eliminates possible distortion due to other parties being present. Interviews have taken on an even more significant role, offering opportunities to showcase not just expertise, but adaptability and strategic thinking.


A radio interview

Interviews can happen in a wide variety of contexts:

Blind interview

In a blind interview the identity of the interviewee is concealed to reduce interviewer bias. Blind interviews are sometimes used in the software industry and are standard in orchestral auditions. Blind interviews have been shown in some cases to increase the hiring of minorities and women.[18]

Interviewer bias

The relationship between the interviewer and interviewee in research settings can have both positive and negative consequences.[19] Their relationship can bring deeper understanding of the information being collected, however this creates a risk that the interviewer will be unable to be unbiased in their collection and interpretation of information.[19] Bias can be created from the interviewer's perception of the interviewee, or the interviewee's perception of the interviewer.[19] Additionally, a researcher can bring biases to the table based on the researcher's mental state, their preparedness for conducting the research, and the researcher conducting inappropriate interviews.[20] Interviewers can use various practices known in qualitative research to mitigate interviewer bias. These practices include subjectivity, objectivity, and reflexivity. Each of these practices allows the interviewer, or researcher, the opportunity to use their bias to enhance their work by gaining a deeper understanding of the problem they are studying.[21]

See also


  1. ^ Merriam Webster Dictionary, Interview, Dictionary definition, Retrieved February 16, 2016
  2. ^ Rogers, Carl R. (1945). Frontier Thinking in Guidance. University of California: Science research associates. pp. 105–112. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
  3. ^ a b Jamshed, Shazia (September 2014). "Qualitative research method-interviewing and observation". Journal of Basic and Clinical Pharmacy. 5 (4): 87–88. doi:10.4103/0976-0105.141942. ISSN 0976-0105. PMC 4194943. PMID 25316987.
  4. ^ Kvale & Brinkman. 2008. InterViews, 2nd Edition. Thousand Oaks: SAGE. ISBN 978-0-7619-2542-2
  5. ^ 2009, Uxmatters, Laddering: A research interview technique for uncovering core values
  6. ^ "15 Tips on How to Nail a Face-to-Face Interview". blog.pluralsight.com. Retrieved 2015-11-05.
  7. ^ Dipboye, R. L., Macan, T., & Shahani-Denning, C. (2012). The selection interview from the interviewer and applicant perspectives: Can't have one without the other. In N. Schmitt (Ed.), The Oxford handbook of personnel assessment and selection (pp. 323–352). New York City: Oxford University.
  8. ^ "The Value or Importance of a Job Interview". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2014-01-17.
  9. ^ Maggie Lu, The Harvard Business School Guide to Careers in Management Consulting, 2002, page 21, ISBN 978-1-57851-581-3
  10. ^ Polak, L; Green, J (2015). "Using Joint Interviews to Add Analytic Value". Qualitative Health Research. 26 (12): 1638–48. doi:10.1177/1049732315580103. PMID 25850721. S2CID 4442342.
  11. ^ Memon, A., Cronin, O., Eaves, R., Bull, R. (1995). An empirical test of mnemonic components of the cognitive interview. In G. Davies, S. Lloyd-Bostock, M. McMurran, C. Wilson (Eds.), Psychology, Law, and Criminal Justice (pp. 135–145). Berlin: Walter de Gruyer.
  12. ^ Rand Corporation. (1975) The criminal investigation process (Vol. 1–3). Rand Corporation Technical Report R-1776-DOJ, R-1777-DOJ, Santa Monica, CA
  13. ^ Willis, Gordon (2005). Cognitive interviewing: A tool for improving questionnaire design. Sage. p. 146. ISBN 9780761928041.
  14. ^ Park, Hyunjoo; Sha, M. Mandy (2014-11-02). "Investigating validity and effectiveness of cognitive interviewing as a pretesting method for non-English questionnaires: Findings from Korean cognitive interviews". International Journal of Social Research Methodology. 17 (6): 643–658. doi:10.1080/13645579.2013.823002. ISSN 1364-5579. S2CID 144039294.
  15. ^ "BLS Information". Glossary. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Division of Information Services. February 28, 2008. Retrieved 2009-05-05.
  16. ^ Beaman, Jim (2011-04-14). Interviewing for Radio. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-136-85007-3.
  17. ^ a b Sanjay Salomon (January 30, 2015). "Can a Failure Resume Help You Succeed?". Boston Globe. Retrieved January 31, 2016.
  18. ^ Miller, Claire Cain (25 February 2016). "Is Blind Hiring the Best Hiring?". The New York Times.
  19. ^ a b c Watson, Lucas (2018). Qualitative research design : an interactive approach. New Orleans. ISBN 978-1-68469-560-7. OCLC 1124999541.((cite book)): CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  20. ^ Chenail, Ronald (2011-01-01). "Interviewing the Investigator: Strategies for Addressing Instrumentation and Researcher Bias Concerns in Qualitative Research". The Qualitative Report. 16 (1): 255–262. ISSN 1052-0147.
  21. ^ Roulston, Kathryn; Shelton, Stephanie Anne (2015-02-17). "Reconceptualizing Bias in Teaching Qualitative Research Methods". Qualitative Inquiry. 21 (4): 332–342. doi:10.1177/1077800414563803. ISSN 1077-8004. S2CID 143839439.