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HTE 480 - Tourism Administration

Before the Interview

Finding Someone to Interview

  • Who are the local experts on my topic?
    • Find at least two people that you can interview for your paper in case your first choice is unable or unwilling.
  • How do I contact them? Do I know anyone who can introduce me?
    • If you know someone who can introduce you to them, have your mutual acquaintance put you in contact with each other.

Contacting a Potential Interviewee

When you contact a potential interviewee, make sure to…

  • Sound professional.
  • Be clear about the purpose of the interview.
    • Why are you approaching them?
    • What school are you from?
    • What class is this for?
    • What type of project will this interview be used for?
    • How long will it be?
    • Will there be video or audio recording?
    • Will it be anonymous?
  • Try to arrange a face-to-face interview.
    • While phone and email interviews can work, body language and tone are more difficult to convey. Face-to-face will also allow you to more easily record, take notes, and ask for clarification or follow-up questions.
  • Offer a variety of times and locations to meet.
    • Some may prefer during working hours and others may need to meet later. Knowing it’s for school, they may be willing to meet on-campus at the library or a nearby coffee shop or even invite you to their workspace. If you choose the location, make sure it is not too loud and has a comfortable area for two.
  • Provide them with your contact information.
    • Provide them a way to contact you before the interview and your cellphone number for the day of in case they get stuck in traffic or can’t find you.

Preparing for the Interview

  • Do as much research as possible on the person and your topic.
    • Be able to show that you are knowledgeable and that you respect their experience.
  • Write down at least 10 questions.
    • Make sure they are not “yes” or “no” questions.
    • Try not to include any bias or assumptions. “What do you think about…?” or “How did you feel about that?” instead of “Did you think _____ was (insert opinion here)?” or “Were you upset about that?”
    • Some interviewees may ask for the questions before. If they do not ask, offer to send them questions in advanced. Many will appreciate that.
  • Confirm the day before.
    • Send an email or call to confirm the interview time and location. Also, let them know where to find you or what you look like if you have never met in person before.

During the Interview

The day of the interview

  • Dress professionally.
    • Business casual is appropriate for most situations.
  • Arrive on-time.
    • 15+ minutes early means is on-time. On-time is late. Show that you know their time is valuable.
  • Let them know when you arrive.
    • If you have exchanged cellphone numbers, call or text them to let them know where you are and how to find you. If you are meeting them at their workplace, usually another co-worker can let them know you have arrived.

The Interview

Here’s a great resource on how to conduct yourself in an interview from posture to the phrasing of questions. Interviewing for Research - Asking the Questions by the University of Leicester

  • Re-introduce yourself and the reason for the interview.
    • If you have previously received permission to record the interview, confirm this. If not, make sure you are taking careful notes.
  • Start off with factual questions to get the ball rolling.
    • Make sure you are spelling their name and their title correctly.
    • “Where are you from?” “What’s your educational background?” “How did you get into this field?” “What are you currently working on?” “What’s a typical day like for you?” etc.
  • Relax and have fun!
    • You don’t have to stick to your questions. If something interesting comes up (and is related to your topic), feel free to continue with that flow.
    • Ask questions about the present then ask about the past and then the future. It’s usually easier for people to explain things in this order.
    • Don't allow the interviewee to continually get off topic. Ask follow-up questions to redirect the conversation or say, “I’d like to go back to ____. Would you tell me more about that?”
    • Check your recording device periodically to make sure it is still recording.
    • Try to not go longer than the time you agreed on.
    • Ask if there’s anything they’d like to add.

Remember to say thank you!

After the Interview

Immediately After

A Little While After

  • Send them your paper or final project.
    • They may be interested in how their part was portrayed in your paper.
  • Inquire about any new developments in projects they mentioned in their interview.
    • They may become a valuable academic or professional contact. Try to maintain that relationship. 

Other Interviewing Tips