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Learning how to write an interview report

Let’s begin the process of learning how to write an interview report

Before delving into the problem of how to write an interview report, let us be certain of the importance of interviews. Such one-to-one or panel-based interviews have become a very commonplace in educational and professional situations, and rightly so. You spend school and college days preparing for interviews and the rest of life appearing in several! In other words, climbing the social ladder rests very much on dynamic performances in a series of casual and formal interviews with something like that happening each day, even among colleagues and friends.

A successful, well-prepared interview session would provide adequate material to write an effective interview report. The problem is to learn how to write an interview report properly. A relaxed setting of mutual shared trust and concerns would provide the give and take with both sides asking questions and receiving appropriate answers. Excessive high seriousness should be avoided because it interferes with the ambience that promotes fair play.

Why are interview reports important? If you are joining a college or seeking appointment in an office, the selection process might be complex and pass through several layers of screening. Perhaps the first round would be a one-to-one interview where the initial selection is done after which you face the board. The report under academic, professional and extra-curricular activities besides additional qualities forms a little biography of the person and serves as an excellent introduction and advertisement. In the vast technologically advanced employment market today, personal video resumes are often prepared to attract jobs. Yet the old-fashioned interview still holds good for plush positions across the globe.

The crucial elements of how to write an interview report

Is it necessary to tape or video record the interview in order to write an effective report? That is rather easily done in the world of technology that we live in nowadays with CCTV cameras whirring away everywhere night and day. Such a recording would make the process of writing the report so much easier and more realistic. With less worry about forgetting or misreporting, confidence about particulars is bound to increase. Besides, you have something on the record for future reference. Thus, Skyped interviews could be held by people across the world.

Thorough preparation and quick follow-up illustrate how to write an interview report

When you prepare for the interview, a research on the subject like if it is Biology would be necessary to get up to date. A list of questions should then be prepared though it, which will not be a rigid pattern. Some leverage would allow for personal questions, all of which may not be prepared beforehand. Interviews are formal occasions, though, and sometimes appear quite rigid. What is important is the purpose of the interview, whether for education or employment, and the approach, philosophy and judgment differ accordingly.

Much like news reporting, after all the preparation notes and questions are made, the report should be written immediately afterwards while it is still fresh in the mind, at least in summary and important details. When audio and video recordings are made, the need for haste is dramatically reduced, but not all interviews are recorded so. We often think that memories are sharp and everything will be remembered accurately, but the reverse may often be true. Instead of a haphazard report that might miss out some fundamental points or statistics, get to the work attacking the report by writing down problems immediately. Perhaps the reporting is as important as the interview itself, which it is in terms of the many important uses to which it may be put.


Question answer format or narrative format

If it turned out to be a bold and dramatic interview with lots of powerful dialogues, the question answer format would do a lot of justice to the interviewee by reproducing the particular words. But then the recording would be necessary to reproduce the exact words, at least a part of it. In college programs, where interviews are held as student assignments or as learning experiences, the Professors specify what format is to be followed. Student interviewers could follow the format and they would certainly experience some memorable moments, if the interviewee happens to be a celebrity or a veteran in some field, whether a farmer or a factory worker. Interviews surround us in the broadcast and print media every day and here is the opportunity to become part of it.

While reporting in the question-answer format, the first paragraph provides basic information about the interviewee and the date, time and location of the interview besides the theme or purpose. The normal procedure is to use two initials to represent the interviewer and likewise for the interviewee. Following the procedure in written drama, no quotation marks would be necessary.

The narrative format would be more appropriate if the interviewee was not the blood and thunder type. Celebrity interviews would usually be framed in the question-answer format since readers would be interested in the exact words spoken. Without a recording, many crucial words would be lost. For the sake of variety, the print media too uses the narrative format that seems to carry so much more feeling. Like the Q-A format, a brief opening and closing paragraph would be needed, the first providing basic information about the interviewee. In the intervening paragraphs, much like the notes, the content is shown with important spoken words in quotation marks. Several such spoken sentences or phrases would help conjure an image of the person and perhaps the suitability for the course or the job.


How is the rating done?

Numbers, letters, figures, ticks and crosses, statements – all are useful for rating purposes. While sweeping statements may be easy to make, it is very true that every subject requires interviews to be done, whether it is to employ a driver or award a doctorate in the university. Very often, the different fields become watertight compartments with their special glossary and outsiders hardly feel comfortable. While academic and professional competence would apply to all, the interview reports would vary according to subjects of study and the nature of the different professions.

The problem of how to write an interview report can get rather simplified with the awareness of the field it pertains to, maybe the communications or the food industry. While we may expect the interviewer to be well versed as an authority, it is not so with students who are routinely assigned such interviewing missions in college courses of study. Yet the students too would have successfully mastered a few modules, written research papers and done seminars and workshops, carried out presentations and published articles in journals. A dedicated student of psychology for instance, would possess all that it takes to come off with flying colors while drawing up the written report.

Whether in terms of points or statements, how to write an interview report should include at some point an evaluative approach that recommends, promotes or looks at the positive side. It could be a personal or professional judgment, but must have some justification on which it is based as well. It is important to avoid judgment based on feelings and opinions alone, and thus the need for some psychological and social understanding besides the professional background. An interview on real estate would require a certain level of competency in that field.


How far are interview reports an appropriate assessment of a candidate?

Every interview ever held contained some form of assessment, but works according to a format. It would certainly be better to work with a table having numbers or a chart that provides boxes to tick and cross. Grading according to figures from 1 to 5 could be more convincing than expressing opinions in sentences. Besides, language is not always exact in meaning and could be understood differently by different individuals. Considering that interview reports could make a difference to a person’s life and career, whether in terms of college admission or professional opportunities, it should be a responsible piece of work without bias or prejudice, written honestly with an eye to fairness.

The problem of how to write an interview report turned out to be simpler than we initially thought! Some experience may be necessary of course to hit the mark. You should like working with people as human resources and remember the vanity of labor that built this civilization.

  • Would you prefer the narrative or question answer format to report an interview? Give your reasons.
  • How would you plan and set up an interview to recommend a candidate for the post of a Manager in a Supermarket?
  • What would be the advantages, if any, of an audio and/or video recording of the interview?

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