Interviewing someone is not always a simple task, and if you’re conducting an interview for video, there are some things you want to keep in mind. To help you get started, here are some simple tips and tricks on how to write good interview questions for video.
Do Your Research
The first rule when conducting an interview is to always be prepared. Have a clear idea about what the overall theme of the video is and what information you want to get from your interviewee, and conduct a proper research on the topic to make sure you ask the right questions.
It’s also always a good idea to keep your target audience in mind, and ask yourself the question: “Who do I want to reach with this message?” It will help you decide the direction of your interview, and it’s a good place to start when creating your interview questions.
Create the Questions
When you have done your research, it’s time to start writing the questions. Make sure that your questions are open-ended, meaning that they cannot be answered with a simple “yes” or “no”. Asking open-ended questions can give you much more detailed answers than “closed” ones, and your interviewee might give you answers that can enable you to ask unplanned follow-up questions that can take your interview in an interesting direction.
But remember that while open-ended questions are important, they shouldn’t be too general either. If you have an idea of what answers you want your interviewee to give you, you should create your questions thereafter. This doesn’t mean that the answers you get will be forced (the answers will still be natural) but it’s a way for you to steer the interview in a certain direction.
When interviewing for video, you should prepare some quick and easy “warm up” questions to make the interviewee feel comfortable in front of the camera. Start your interview off with some easier questions, and when the person seems comfortable, you can start asking the more “difficult” questions.
When conducting the interview, don’t be afraid to ask “dumb” questions. If you stumbled across some points during your research that you didn’t understand, or if you need to clarify something your interviewee says during the interview – don’t be afraid to ask. It’s always better to ask a “dumb” question than to end up being confused about something after the interview has been conducted.
If you’re creating a video for social media, you should try to keep it as short as possible. For Facebook, for example, shorter videos generate more interaction, so the ideal length for Facebook videos is 60-90 seconds. This means that you should focus on creating a few really good questions rather than many “OK” ones. You can always add some extra questions and see which ones gave you the best quotes or statements, and scrap the ones that gave you answers that didn’t work that well. But always try to remember quality over quantity.
Conducting the Interview
When you have written your questions, you’re ready to conduct the interview. During the interview, it’s important to always pay full attention to what the interviewee is saying. If he or she says something unexpected, you could go off script and ask unplanned questions, or follow-up questions.
Most of us would not answer a question flawlessly in the first try, and when interviewing for a written article, the way things are said is not of great importance if we understand the message delivered. Because your interviewee is being filmed, it’s important that his or her sentences are complete and understandable. When conducting an interview for a video, don’t be afraid to ask your interviewee to answer a question more than once, or to repeat some of their sentences. It’s not that they’re doing a bad job, they have actually said something interesting, and you want the message to be presented in the best way possible.
The voice of the person who asks the questions will normally not be included in the video, in other words: you will not hear anyone ask the question before we get to hear the answer. It’s therefore important to make sure that the person you’re interviewing incorporates parts of the question into their answer, so that the answer can make sense and function on its own.
Let’s say that you ask your interviewee this question: “What are the benefits of working in a startup company?” An answer that includes the question in a good way could be something like this: “The benefits of working in a startup company is all the new things you get to learn and working with talented people.”
Now, you’re ready to conduct your own interviews for videos! You can also check out our blog post on how you can optimise your smartphone camera so you can start filming your own great video clips!
Download the free guide on how to write great interview questions for a video interview to learn more.