How To Write an Interview Essay (With Steps)

You know what an interview is and what writing an essay constitutes. But does that make writing an interview paper a cakewalk? Not quite.

Considering all the planning and pre-work this assignment requires, it can prove to be an exhausting and intimidating experience for students.

In this article, we will tell you how to write an interview paper and do a good job at it.

Here is a step-by-step guide to help you create a compelling interview essay:
  1. Identify the purpose of the paper. …
  2. Research the subject. …
  3. Prepare your questions. …
  4. Contact the interviewee and prepare for the interview. …
  5. Conduct the interview. …
  6. Format the paper. …
  7. Create an outline and write your paper. …
  8. Proofread.

How To write an Interview Article | Flipsnack.com

Interview essay vs. interview paper

You might hear one professor use the phrase “interview essay” and another one use “interview paper.” These phrases are usually used interchangeably, and you can generally anticipate the same expectations from each. If you are unsure of the requirements, you can ask the person who assigned the essay or paper to provide more information. You might attend your instructors office hours or send them a professional email to ask.

What is an interview essay?

An interview essay is a piece of writing that helps the reader understand more about the interview subject and relevant context. The purpose of an interview essay varies depending on the situation. For example, an interview essay focused on an individual who experienced a historical event will be different from an interview with a social media influencer for a lifestyle website. This kind of writing is commonly used in school settings and is assigned to students in general education classes as well as courses specifically in journalism.

How to write an interview essay

If you are writing an interview essay, here are some steps you can use:

1. Research your topic

Understanding the context of your interview can make it easier to think of questions to ask your subject. Find out as much as you can about the person you are interviewing ahead of time. This way, you can spend your interview asking questions that start with “how” and “why” instead of using your time to cover basic biographical details. For example, if youre interviewing your favorite author about their career, you could search the web ahead of time for information like where they were born, where they went to school and how many books theyve written.

2. Brainstorm questions

Once youve figured out what you do know about your interview subject you can fill in the information you are missing. Brainstorm questions to ask them so you are better prepared when you meet. Consider practicing your first few questions with someone else if you are nervous about the interview. Hearing yourself ask your questions aloud can help you feel more confident about the interview itself.

3. Arrange your interview

Be sure to use professional courtesy when arranging your interview. Your subject might have a busy schedule, and showing respect for their time can help you arrange a time that works for both of you. Consider using email to set up an interview time so that its easy to synchronize your calendars. Depending on the situation, you might also want to send them your questions ahead of time. Note that many journalistic publications make a policy of not sending their questions ahead of time to help garner more authentic responses.

4. Interview your subject

Taking notes during your interview allows you to use direct quotes and paraphrase later when you are writing your essay. If you choose to record the audio, it is courteous to ask your subjects permission first. Even if you do record audio or video of your interview, take notes that can help you remember when your subject made certain statements. This can help you find specific points in your recording more efficiently later. Consider writing down your own reflections and ideas as you go, being careful to separate your ideas from your subjects thoughts in your notes.

Listen carefully to the responses to your interview questions. Pay attention to information that surprises you or might have additional nuances. Use what you hear to create improvised questions throughout the course of the interview.

5. Organize your ideas

After your interview, review your notes and take stock of what you learned. Consider whether your subjects answers matched your expectations or surprised you. Look for patterns in your notes and use those patterns to outline your essay. For example, if your subject returned to anecdotes from their college days, you might use those anecdotes to organize your essay. If they mention certain values repeatedly, they might be a good focus for your thesis.

6. Draft your essay

After youve reviewed your interview notes and organized your ideas, you can write a draft of your essay. Think about the ways the sections of your essay relate to one another. Use transitional phrases to connect your ideas and help your reader follow your line of thinking. Be sure to use the appropriate format for quotations you use.

7. Revise

The last step in writing an essay or paper will almost always be at least one revision round. Carefully review your interview essay for places that need more detail and extraneous information that you could take out. Look for typos, spelling errors and grammatical issues. Your attention to detail in writing can reflect your level of professionalism overall.

Example interview questions

You probably have a specific purpose in mind for your interview essay, and you can use many question types for multiple purposes. Consider using these questions or modifying them when conducting your own interview:

Notice that most of these questions start with “why,” “how” and “what.” Asking open-ended questions require a more complex response than yes or no, which can help you gather sufficient material for your essay.

FAQ

How do you write an interview format?

Most interviews include these stages:
  1. Introductory stage. | estimated length of a few minutes. …
  2. Information from the interviewer to the candidate. | estimated length of a few minutes. …
  3. Questions from the interviewer(s) to the candidate. …
  4. Opportunity for you as interviewee to ask questions. …
  5. Conclusion.

How do you start an interview essay?

Use this information to craft a memorable introduction that will engage your readers and enlighten them about the unique person interviewed.
  1. Share Biographical Information. …
  2. Include Interesting Anecdotes. …
  3. Tell a Captivating Story. …
  4. Use Poignant Quotes.

How do you write a perfect interview?

20 Tips for Great Job Interviews
  1. Research the industry and company. …
  2. Clarify your “selling points” and the reasons you want the job. …
  3. Anticipate the interviewer’s concerns and reservations. …
  4. Prepare for common interview questions. …
  5. Line up your questions for the interviewer. …
  6. Practice, practice, practice.

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