Interviews are the process to understand what other people already know. The ability to gain that knowledge from another person takes time, relationships, and professionalism. As a business analyst, part of my job at Allegient is to make sure the interview process is stress free and efficient between my team and our client.

I was a journalist before I became a business analyst, so I have logged hundreds of interviews. Here are a few tips I have learned along the way.

Do Your Pre-Research

The interview begins before you ever send out a meeting invitation or sit down with the person you are interviewing. Understanding who you are interviewing and their role within the company increases your credibility and allows you to better form goals and questions to reference during the meeting.

Often your research begins with looking into the client’s company hierarchy, or talking to contacts you have already made within the client about upcoming interviews you may have. The higher up the ladder, the more time you should take.

We are all busy. Pre-interview research allows the meeting to become more efficient and respectful of everyone’s time.

Know Your Goals

Chances are the person you are interviewing has information no one else has. It is important to understand what information you need to gather for a successful project. Have a plan to capture that information – whether that is a formal interview template or scribbles in your notebook. Prioritize the information you must capture so you can pivot easily if your interview subject has to leave early.

The moral of the story? Be flexible. Interviews prep is more than the 5 W’s.

The Last Question

So, you did your pre-research. You knew your goals for the interview. It went well, and now it is drawing to a close. You only have time for one more question. Try this:

“Is there anything I missed out on that you would like to add?”

The answers you get will astound you. It allows them to finish the interview on their terms. People tell you facts you never thought to ask about leading to a better, more rounded discussion.

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