After my post on consulting experts if you can’t get first-hand experience, I thought it might be helpful to provide guidelines on how to conduct a face-to-face interview for anyone, but especially teens, who have never done one before. If the expert is already a friend, you might not have to be so formal.
1. Research — Do research on your topic to figure out if you need to do an interview, and if so, with whom. If the answer to your questions can be found in reliable written sources, use those. If your questions are more technical and complicated, seek an expert. I read about the basics rules for police searches and surveillances, but I asked a retired police chief more complicated questions, like how police officers get a judge to issue a search warrant.
2. Write down all your questions.
3. Take notes during the interview.
4. Ask follow up questions — Ask questions to clarify points or get more detailed information.
5. Review your notes — As soon as you can, review your notes. The interview will still be fresh in your mind, and you can add information you did not have time to put down during the interview.
Here are some additional guidelines, which are true of any kind of interview.
1. Arrive 5-10 minutes early for your appointment.
2. Dress professionally — You don’t have to be formal, but dress like you consider the interview a business appointment.
3. Watch the time — Don’t run over your allotted time. If you don’t have all your questions answered by the end, ask for a short extension or permission to call back with follow-up questions.
4. Send a thank-you note – A hand-written is especially meaningful.