Having only ever interviewed people via email previously, aside from a very brief video interview on a work experience placement, last Friday was not the most comfortable task for me. Particularly after rolling out of bed, hot-footing myself to uni for a 9am start, just being sat at a computer seemed enough of a mission. The cold wind and harsh rain certainly didn’t seem a recipe for running round campus interviewing various people either!
My task was to get some feedback from different people about their views and opinions regarding the most recent renovations to the university campus. With so little time to get my head around what I had to do, let alone prepare any questions, it all seemed so rushed and spontaneous. But after being paired up, my partner and I began to saunter round the campus.
At first, we requested a quotation from the reception staff, but were unfortunately informed that contract restrictions disallowed some staff members from expressing their personal views about the university. After this knock back, we opted to interview a number of people, including university students, a lecturer and library staff to get as broad a view as possible. This is also why we did not choose a particular angle for our questions, we simply aimed for an overview.
Interviewing people was a great deal easier than I first thought, and I realised people were more than willing to answer my questions. The spontaneity of this task piled on the pressure and also, unfortunately, did not give my partner and I much time to have an in depth interview. It was interesting to discover that some of the renovations were not built correctly and may have to be torn down and rebuilt.
It was difficult to bare important interview techniques in mind, including keeping interviewees focused on the question, probing them in a polite manner and not coming across as intimidating. But the experience was made a great deal easier with the use of a dictaphone, willing interviewees and their differing views.