Knowledge Gathering: The Interviewer Perspective
Useful in gaining insight and knowledge, interviews help us learn about others. If done well, an interview also allows us to learn from others. This information can then be used to formulate a good decision or resolution, generate ideas, and share experience. Interviewing does, however, have its challenges. It involves talking with someone – oftentimes a stranger, about themselves, their profession, their failures, and their successes.
With the objective of extracting as much pertinent, applicable information as possible, the key to a good interview is a good interviewer.
More Than Interviewers
Professional knowledge gathering has two main roles – obtaining requested industry information and maneuvering it so it is usable, helpful, and makes sense for the end-user. This requires a methodology that prompts flow and rhythm but that also delivers answers to the questions posed during the interview.
Going beyond conversations, the role of a knowledge gathering interviewer is also to act as a consultant. Bridging the gaps between the information that is sought after and what the interviewee has the potential to provide, it is an extraction process via words. Whatever the content is or who is being interviewed, there is a methodology in place that assures the acquisition of answers to pertinent, professional questions.
Knowledge gathering is more intricate - diving into personalities, attitudes, ideas, strengths and weaknesses. The questions often come from multiple angles and are driven by a solid ‘dialogue system’ that allows for flow and that prompts conversation.
Professional Brain Picking
When it comes to interviewing professionals for knowledge gathering services, it is about perspective, experience and insight. People are different and they think differently. Knowing your subject and knowing their background is important. It shows that you respect the industry and their contribution to it. It gets your experts to go where you want them to go.
In the knowledge gathering sector, the interviewer begins with a prepared introduction to provide a background of who they are and the objective and purpose of the exchange. The expert is asked to provide responses based on their professional perspective and experience. Although confidential insights may be shared, they are later extracted, saving the general ideas and methodologies without disclosing proprietary information.
The interviewer has a template prepared that guides them in asking questions, and provides a place to input brief answers, allowing for comparison across peer groups when doing their analysis. This elicits a comfortable exchange of information without prying or stumbling with what to say. Often, virtual interviews are recorded, and the platform used generates an automated transcript that can be reviewed later as needed.
Even during interviews with professionals, it is important to relax and be somewhat informal. When people are comfortable, they feel free to speak, and become more productive in their responses. Depending on the depth of the answers, the average hour-long interview results in the discussion of 15 questions. Statistics are generated from extracting similar information from several sources.
In the end, because the client is paying for the interview, one way or another, the goal is to get as much information as possible.
Planning and preparation are ultimately what drives the success of a knowledge gathering interview. Taking the time to understand the subject area and validate what is needed beforehand is imperative. Preparing an introduction, determining a course of action if the conversation stalls, and having a back-up in case you aren’t getting answers to your questions are vital.
Through interviewing, you meet amazing people who know fascinating things. A professional knowledge gatherer recently said, “You have access to all kinds of interesting and insightful information. It makes us feel like we are learning constantly. We don’t have to be experts in everything. Just having access to it is an exciting way of living.”