Interviewing is an ART
Interviewing is an ART and everybody in the IT Services business who is invovlved in Consulting /Requirement Gathering should try and master it. Organisations should/need to invest in getting thier people trained for these sessions.
When i started doing these interviews i remembered haveing read a book on "successfull interviewing" so i pulled out the "Mckinsey Way" book and filled to the relevant chapter titled "Conducting Interviews".
Some of the points mentioned in the book though quite elemntary are often overlooked/missed out. Here is a list/summary of the points that i liked / think are a must do.
1. Be Prepared: Write an Interview Guide: When you go into an interview, be prepapred. You may have only 30 mis with a person who you may never see again. Know what you are going to ask.
2. When conducting interview listen and guide: When youre picking peoples brains, ask questions and then listen to them do the talking. Most people like to talk, especially if you let them know that you are interested what they are saying. Keep the interview on track by breaking in when necessary.
3. Interview in Pairs (Hunt in two's): One to take Notes and the other can be asking the right questions.(Switch Roles in between)
4. Listen, Dont Lead: Dont ak Yes/No questions, Ask open ended ones, can get valuable information.
5. Paraphrase, Paraphrase, Paraphrase: repeat back the answers in slightly different form, this will confirm if your understanding is correct.
6. Dont ask for too much: Narrow down your goal from each session to 2/3 most important questions, getting the complete answers to that should be the focus anything over that is only gravy.
7. Always write a Thank you note.
Two other points from the book are:
Have the interviewees boss set up the interview, this would give the interview a sense of importance.
Adopt the columbo tactic: To ask a question just before leaving the interview/ a day or two after the interview when the respondent is more relaxed and has his gaurd down.
I am going to try ad get a more comprehensive list together ...please pitch in.