How To Interview

Interviewing may just seem like someone asking someone else questions, but really it's so much more than that. As an interviewer, it's your job to guide the conversation, to uncover truth, and to make the person you're interviewing feel comfortable on camera.

Where the conversation goes depends largely on what questions are asked. And yes, an interview should be a conversation. When coming up with questions, whether ahead of time or on the spot, they should generally be open ended. Meaning not something that can be answered with a single word or phrase. Phrase questions in a way that naturally lead the interviewee to restate the question in some capacity. This gives great flexibility in the post-production process because it's not necessary to state the question anywhere in the video. The viewer just intuits the question based on context clues.

Let's go over some examples of questions. Imagine I'm interviewing someone and want to know about their business's success the previous year.

A poor way to ask would be "Was business successful last year?" This question can be answered with one word, and that's usually about all it will yield. A less poor way would be, "How was business last year?" While this can still be answered with one word, it's a little more open ended and typically gets a little bit more of an answer. The best way is, "Tell me about your business last year." People tend to tell stories by recalling key high and low points. So when given such an open ended prompt, they will do just that.

Really, you're not so much asking questions as you are prompting the person in front of the camera to talk. They should be doing 99% of the talking while you listen. I know it's tempting to start trying to think of what question you're going ask next while they are talking. Resist this urge and LISTEN.

Most people are at least a little uncomfortable being on camera. This is a barrier you want to have broken through before you really start getting into the meat of the conversation. Small talk is a great way to do this. It's okay to talk about things that are off topic so long as it doesn't take too long and make it impossible to get back on track.

A good inteviewer should be able to get through that barrier and have their subject engaged in full-on conversation within a matter of minutes. Simply reasurring them that they look and sound great will do wonders. I'll often say something like, "I realize all this here may seem uncomfortable and weird, but you look and sound great." They'll usually respond with, "Really?" Then I'll reassure them again and they usually start relax a bit at that point. Sometimes I'll even record a few seconds or take a still shot and then show it to them so they can see for themselves that they look great. Just make sure that you're actually making them look great.

So, what prompts should you be giving? Well, that will vary quite a bit depending on your industry. But ultimately the goal with a client testimonial video is to find out what problem you solved, why you were selected to fix that problem, and what your client's experience was like through the process. So come up with questions that uncover that information.

Thanks for reading my series on client testimonial videos. Hopefully you found it informative and helpful. If you have any other questions I haven't addressed, or just want to leave feedback, please let me know in the comments section below. Thanks!