d. Face the interviewee and look him in the eyes. Greet him and, if appropriate,
ask him to be seated.
e. If you tend to lean, lean toward, rather than away from, the interviewee. And
remain alert to your other nonverbal signs. (See "Nonverbal Communication,"
paragraphs 2-5 through 2-7.)
f. Introduce yourself (by name and title).
g. Assure the interviewee that only people with a need to know will be given the
information he releases.
h. Discuss the purpose/goals of the interview.
i. Explain how the information you receive will be used or why the information is
needed. The seeking of personal or confidential information may be interpreted as
being nosy or meddlesome. If the interviewee understands that you need the
information for a specific purpose that may benefit him or someone he cares about, he
is likely to have greater confidence in you. He may still feel embarrassed or
uncomfortable about revealing private information, but he is less likely to feel threatened
or to resent you after the interview is over.
j. If you want or need to take notes, get the interviewee's permission. And let
him know why you need to take notes. This may reduce any inhibiting effects. Also try
to keep the number of words written to a minimum.
k. Let the interviewee do most of the talking, and be a good listener. (See
"Listening Skills," pages 2-2 through 2-4.)
Avoid using technical words which could be misunderstood.
m. Avoid putting words in the interviewee's mouth. That is, avoid asking
questions that suggest or encourage a particular answer (for example, "I suppose you're
feeling rested after your nap," rather than "How are you feeling?").
n. Avoid making value judgments. If the interviewee feels that you are looking
down on him, he is less likely to "open up" to you.
o. Plan the type of questions you ask according to the type of answers you are
seeking. If you want short, straight answers, ask questions which will allow only for a
direct response (for example., "Do you have pain after eating?" or "When was your
accident?"). On the other hand, if you want to encourage the interviewee to speak
freely, use open-ended questions, those which cannot easily be answered with a yes,
no, or short answer (for example, "How are you coping with your illness?" or "Can you
tell me what is bothering you?").