One-on-One Interview Techniques

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One-on-one interviews are the most common types of interviews. They exist in the form of case studies, job interviews, book interviews or radio and television interviews. Some of these interviews can be done by phone, email or in person; however, the latter is the most frequent. Regardless of the type of interview, those involved tend to become anxious, resulting in tension. Therefore, whether you are the interviewer or the interviewee, to achieve a successful one-on-one interview, you must utilize strategic techniques.


As an interviewer, your goal is to gain useful information from your interviewee through your questioning. If your interviewing skills are not sharp, your candidate will become bored and may not give you the quality information you need. It is important that you exude confidence, and in face-to-face one-on-ones, meet the interviewee's gaze as you ask questions. Your questions should be pertinent to the interview topic. Example: If the interview is based on the interviewee's personal life, then ask personal questions. Or if conducting a job interview, ask questions relating to the candidate's job qualifications and professional behavior. Though one-on-one interviews are more relaxing than group interviews, uncomfortable silences can ensue. Put your interviewee at ease by remaining pleasant and professional. If the interview is not going well and you are not getting the answers you need, use tact to wrap it up.


As the interviewee in a one-on-one interview, your responses are used to judge whether you are a reliable and credible source. The interviewer is depending on you to provide him with factual answers to her questions, so be honest. Embellishment, if spotted, will not get you another interview or the job. Answer questions clearly and concisely. Keep your attention focused on what the interviewer is saying. In face-to-face one-on-ones, this may be particularly difficult since there are only the two of you present. You may be tempted to look around the room as he questions you, or you may find him incredibly boring. Regardless, if you break eye contact, he will think you are hiding something or are not very assertive. If the interviewer makes you uncomfortable by asking questions that are not related to the topic, politely steer the interview back to its center. Most interviewers are intuitive enough to know when the interviewee is subtly changing the subject. After the interview, do not forget to send him a thank-you note.


About the Author

Grace Ferguson has been writing professionally since 2009. With 10 years of experience in employee benefits and payroll administration, Ferguson has written extensively on topics relating to employment and finance. A research writer as well, she has been published in The Sage Encyclopedia and Mission Bell Media.