The better prepared you are, the better the interview will be. Get ready by following these steps:

Make sure you're prepared.

  • Find out as much background information as you can about your interviewee.
  • Set a date, time, and place for the interview.
  • Make sure that it's convenient for you and the interviewee. If the person would prefer, conduct the interview over the phone.
  • Find out how much time the person will have to talk. Make sure you have enough time to get an interesting story. Ten minutes won't do it. Thirty minutes or longer is better.
  • Be respectful of your interviewee's time.
  • Don't keep the person too long.
  • Write a list of questions. Start with Who? What? Where? When? Why? and How? Ask questions that will draw out details and memories to help you get a picture of that time.
  • Bring a tape recorder if you have one. Test it ahead of time to be sure it works.
  • Bring along paper and pen. It's a good idea to take notes even if you are taping the interview.

You've done your research. You've written your questions. Now it's time to conduct the interview!