Ten Ways You Will Ruin a Video Interview


Ten Ways You Will Ruin a Video Interview

Filming interviews is a great way to capture wisdom from leading experts. This is great when it works. However, there are a few things that can ruin the process.

Here are ten things to avoid:

1. Interrupting the interviewee.

One of the challenges of editing an interview is finding clean self-contained answers. If the interviewer talks over the top of the person answering it makes it difficult for the editor to use. These interruptions can also throw the interviewee off track.

It is better to nod quietly and then bring the subject back on track.

2. Long rambling answers.

Some people are better than others at answering questions. Others, however, can ramble without ever making their point. These sorts of answers are a nightmare to edit and often impossible to use.

If your subject does ramble, after they finish, ask them to summarise their answer. Often once they have said it, they are able to provide a concise version.

3. Pre-interviewing.

It’s very tempting to talk to the interviewee before filming starts and discuss what you will talk about during the interview. What invariably happens is the interviewee gives these great answers off camera. When the camera rolls their answers are abbreviated or worse, they say things like “as I said before”.

Give them the questions beforehand to review and if you need discuss it with them in the days leading up to the interview but not on the day.

4. Not knowing the topic.

It’s the role of the interviewer to know the topic. You don’t have to be an expert, but you do need to understand enough about the topic to engage with the interviewee.

5. Not knowing the person you are filming.

Do your research on the person you are filming. What is their background and their level of experience or expertise? If they are giving their time to be filmed then do them the courtesy of knowing who they are. This will help flesh out the interview if need be.

6. Using the wrong name.

Nothing puts an interview off on the wrong foot than not addressing the interviewee by the right name. You want to build rapport on camera so use all normal social processes.

7. Not listening to the answer.

When you have a list of questions to get through, it can be tempting to just focus on what you have to ask next. It is very important to listen to the answers so you can engage with the interviewee. They may drop in some key information that needs to be further explored and needs a follow-up question.

They may also not provide you with a complete answer so you may need them to repeat their answer, so you have something usable.

8. Asking irrelevant questions.

Sometimes you may ask a question that at the time seemed reasonable. If the interviewee quickly demonstrates that the question is irrelevant then don’t insist on getting them to answer. Once again listen to their response and gauge what is the best way forward.

9. Not being clear on what outcome you want.

Before the interview starts, in fact before the interview is scheduled, you should know the purpose of the interview. Why is this person being interviewed? What will they contribute to the narrative you are creating? How long will their contribution be to the completed production?

10. Over interviewing.

It can be tempting to ask lots and lots of questions and have a long and rambling chat with your interviewee. However, if you only need a 30-second grab, then a one-hour conversation is over doing it. This will take your editor a long time to work through all the footage to find the right piece. Before the interview starts, you should know what key point(s) you are wanting and focus on those.

To prepare your interviewees, I recommend you send them the questions you plan to ask at least a few days before filming. This will give them a chance to prepare and also alert you to any issues that might be off track.

Developing your skills as an interviewer will help attract quality people to your brand.

Want to learn more? Check out 7 tips when filming interviews.

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