When you ask questions during a case study interview, do you talk too much?
If you're getting answers that are lackluster, confusing, or less complete or enthusiastic than you expect, the problem may be how you asked the questions.
- Using more than two sentences for a question.
- Asking for too much information in a single question.
- Feeling the temptation to explain a topic or share a story of your experience after you state the question, but before you allow the customer to answer. This explanation or story may guide the customer's response in a different direction because they misunderstand what you're really asking or assume you want a certain answer.
Talking too much as an interviewer may come from a lack of awareness about your own habits or a misplaced belief that direct questions are intimidating or impolite. You can alleviate concerns by sending the question list and setting the customer's expectation for the process before the scheduled interview time.
Consider that asking short, to-the-point questions in a case study interview:
- Makes it easier for the customer to understand the question. This is especially true for customers who are not fluent in your language.
- Forces you to focus on one topic at a time. This alone helps the customer give you relevant answers.
- Keeps the interview on track so you can get all the information you need. If you're talking too much when you ask the early questions, you may run out of time before you get to the later (and perhaps most important) questions on your list.
- Allows you to conduct interviews by e-mail for customers who prefer to work that way or when their spoken language skills may make a telephone interview a difficult experience.
For your next case study interview, write down questions with the exact wording you'll use on the call. Then, stick to it and see if you notice a difference in the quality of the customer's replies.
After all, in a case study interview, the customer should do most of the talking, not you.