In my practice interview, my interviewee was Robert, and I was being assessed by Arik. The feedback I received was to maintain more frequent eye contact, start with niceties rather than abruptly start asking questions, use more body language so I don’t look bored, and try to be more casual. The compliments about my interviewing I received were: I had good follow ups, I reacted to answers (smiling and nodding, the occasional “uh-huh”), I made connections, and I was engaged and stayed on topic.
A stretch I should acknowledge is maintaining more frequent eye contact. I believe that eye contact is crucial to an interview, and very important in more conversations because it makes you appear engaged to the conversation. By appearing more engaged to what the interviewee is saying, I can make them feel more comfortable, and make them feel like the interview is worth it. I sometimes have trouble with this because I am introverted and feel less comfortable in conversations that the average person, but there are ways I can
counteract this, such as looking at the interviewee’s eyebrows, rather than looking into their eyes.
Another stretch I should acknowledge is being less uptight and trying to be more friendly to the interviewee; something that would let the interviewee possibly feel more comfortable, allowing them to share information that they wouldn’t have otherwise, such as a personal connection to my eminent person. Information such as that would be extremely valuable for my research, and would make my end projects much more interesting. For this to happen, I would need to start with a cordial greeting and introduction, followed by a few niceties, rather than asking questions right out of the gate. I should also increase body language to appear more engaged to the conversation.
Although I received many stretches, I also had some strengths I would like to explain. The first strength, having good follow ups, is a great way to keep the conversation flowing while gaining more details on the initial question. It also shows that you were listening enough to want to know more about what they are saying. The only downside is that you might lose time if the interviewee gets distracted and goes on a tangent. The second strength is that I reacted to answers, usually by nodding, which shows that you are actively listening, the third strength is that I made connections to the interviewee by telling them that I could relate to what they said. The last strength Arik noticed was how I was engaged and stayed on topic. This minimizes the downsides of a talkative interviewee, and helps keep them focused on the interview and your questions.