Sometimes the best parts of an interview come from foundational skills in active listening. When listening, it is possible to shape, tease out, cut out, emphasize—in the name of getting the outstanding story to emerge. Instead of asking a question, sometimes the best quotes and pieces of information come from mastering non-questioning skills, such as:
- Face the message sender, maintain eye contact, listen and encourage.
- Use non-verbal responses to communicate attention (e.g., nodding).
- Use silence; don't interrupt to ask additional or follow-up questions.
- Make statements requiring confirmation or denial.
- Summarize and move on to reaffirm comprehension.
Non-questioning is the ability to resist responding immediately. Lean into the silence and give the interviewee time to process and speak without putting words in their mouth. This action can be a great boon to gain useful information that wouldn't otherwise come out.
While non-questioning is an excellent technique, understand that it is not effective in every situation. An interviewer cannot get by on silence alone. Ask the right questions that could lead to pregnant pauses, potentially giving the interviewer more material. When planning for an interview, developing questions that follow the general who, what, where, when, why and how (5W&H) format may be easy, though expanding on how to ask those questions could prove more difficult.
Beyond questioning for the 5Ws&H information, some different ways to ask are through closed, open, amplifying, clarifying, leading, directive (suggestive or loaded), indirect assumptive and junk questions.
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Choose the Right Type of Question
With any type of interview questions, the interviewer should pursue the messages that meet both commander intent and the audience’s needs.
Effectiviology. (n.d.). Loaded Questions: What they are and how to respond to them.
Effectiviology. (n.d.). Logical Fallacies: What they are and how to counter them.