How to Write an Interview Essay: Example and Tips

Interviews are not often used to write essays, but do not underestimate the importance of this type of essay. The most classic examples of using the interview essay are related to the profession orientation. Students of middle schools write interview essays about their parent’s professions; high school students interview their role models in the field of their future profession’s interest. Professional interviewers have a chance to meet really important and famous people and talk to them. In this article, we will consider two examples of interview essays for two completely different professions: architect and hair stylist.

How to conduct an interview for an essay?

The beauty and the complexity of the genre is that when you meet your hero, you never know what the result will be in the interview essay, how the accents will be placed in the conversation. The factor of luck and chance, the nature of the character, of course, play a role, but still the result depends more on the skill of the interviewer, which is honed with experience. The laws of the genre are such that the conversation can turn in any direction. There are several important points, knowing about which in advance, you can avoid many mistakes in working on interview essay.

  1. Preparation for the interview – 80% success

Most often, the meeting with the hero is connected with some information occasion. To be in the subject, you need to know the information message thoroughly, but this is not enough. Before the meeting, it is necessary to study the biography of the hero, to understand what else can be interesting in him to the reader. All this will make the conversation as interesting as possible, feel free in communication and not get into an embarrassing situation.

  1. The main thing – topics, not questions

Indicate a few topics and prepare a series of different questions to each of them. If you are still at the very beginning of the journey and are lost when meeting new people, write out the wording of the questions to be internally calm, but the main thing is to identify all the important directions of the conversation so as not to miss anything. Memorize in writing and keep in mind the plan of the conversation. However, do not forget that the interview is a very moving genre, new ideas and questions can arise during the dialogue, which also should not be missed.

  1. Excitement is the worst enemy of a journalist

It has nothing to do with responsibility, it is psychologically transmitted to the interlocutor and can spoil the meeting. It’s very important to be self-confident. Simply, he is a professional in his business, and you – in yours, so relax and calmly lead the conversation in the direction you need.

  1. Be fully involved in the process

Concentration is very important: many novice journalists are afraid of forgetting the next question, which can temporarily be distracted from what the hero says. Because of this, many important things can be missed. Listen carefully, any detail in the character’s speech can turn into an interesting topic for discussion, which you did not think about in advance.

  1. Strive to get an answer to your question

If the hero is distracted or changed the subject, quietly repeat the question again or ask it in another formulation a few minutes later. Do not forget that you have specific goals, you need to get detailed information, and you yourself should delicately guide the conversation in the right direction. Only in this case the interview will be interesting to the reader.

  1. Do not be afraid to ask “uncomfortable” questions

This does not concern the personal life of the hero and the news from the yellow press, but there are situations when it is necessary to “talk” the character on the topic, which he for various reasons in every possible way tries to avoid, although it is important. In this case, it is worth trying to get a person to talk with auxiliary questions. If you are still afraid to ask something personally, you can always ask the question “from the listener” or “from the reader”.

  1. Do not be afraid to express your position

The central figure of the interview is your interlocutor, but if you are talking about actual topics and issues of public importance, you can express your point of view by provoking the discussion. Remember that interviews are not just questions and answers, it’s a dialogue. In this format, it will be much more interesting to the public and gets deeper.

Types of questions in interview essay

Questions are divided into open and closed. An open question is a question with an interrogative word, providing for a detailed answer, for example: “What do you usually do in your free time?” A closed question is a question without a question word, which provides a yes or no answer, for example: “Do you have dog?”

The general rule is that it is better to ask open-ended questions than closed ones, since the former encourage the interlocutor to speak, while the latter, on the contrary, allow us to limit ourselves to a monosyllabic answer, which is many times shorter than the journalist’s question. Chip Scanlan in this regard even compares open and closed questions with green and red traffic light signals. When the green lights up, the interview progresses, when the red – the conversation stands still. However, there are cases when closed questions are preferable to open ones:

  1. First, if the interlocutor leaves a direct answer to lengthy reasoning. Then the journalist has no choice but to ask: “Do I understand correctly that you will not participate in the event?”.
  2. Secondly, this is communication with an overly talkative interlocutor, when open questions would provoke too long answers.
  3. And thirdly, closed questions can be an indicator of the competence of the journalist, awareness of the details of what is happening, for example: “You managed to sell your shares for $ 100 million, it is right?”

Open and closed questions can also be direct and indirect. Examples of direct questions were given above. Indirect open questions are questions such as “Tell, please, about…”. Indirect closed questions are issues with the statement that the journalist ascribes to third parties, for example: “Your detractors say that you are an alcoholic. Is it true?”

Structural parts of interview essay

Structural units of the interview essay are usual: introduction, main part, conclusion. Everything is pretty clear with the introduction and conclusion. Building up the main part in the form of an interview might seem different and unusual. Let us consider these parts separately and give examples.

Example of introduction to interview essay

In the introduction, your task is to interest the reader and give him an idea of what he will read next. Here you need to introduce the interlocutor, explain why you have chosen him or her for an interview, what is so special about him. Explaining why the person and his profession is interesting to you, will make the reader curious.

Example: “My future profession will give people joy and beauty. That’s because I decided to become a hairdresser-stylist.

When I master this wonderful profession, I will make people fashionable and beautiful hairstyles that they look good. I will learn how to create complex evening and wedding hairstyles for women and girls. I want to become such a skilled craftsman that I can unmistakably determine what kind of hair suits to a person.

In order to better understand peculiarities of this profession, I decided to talk to the leading hair stylist of the famous beauty salon “Glamour” Mary Stewart.”

Example of the main body of interview essay 1 (hair stylist)

The main body of the interview essay contains the written dialog conducted with the person you’ve chosen. When conducting the interview itself, you have a choice of making notes or recording the talk. Explain your actions to the interlocutor and ask for permission. In any case, pay attention to what the person says and react to his words.

Example: “- Hello, Mary. Take a few minutes of your precious time and tell us about yourself: where do you work for and how long have you been working in this profession?

I am a hair stylist with work experience of more than 5 years.

– Why did you choose this profession?

I like to please people, to cheer up customers through creating images.

– Are you happy with your choice?

Oh yeh! The work is positive. It is always pleasant to hear words of gratitude for the created beauty.

– Was it difficult to master your profession? What kind of education do you need for this?

Personally for me, there was no difficulty. I have finished several special courses. I always attend master classes of specialists of the highest category, I raise qualifications.

– Are there any special qualities and skills required for a person who decided to become an expert in this field?

Yes! The ability to get along with people, see the end result, find words for easy conversation with the client or word-advice.

– What difficulties do you face in your work?

The most difficult thing is to “prove” to the visitor that something should be changed in a different way, that the length of his hair should be different. Here the hairdresser (stylist) already acts more as a psychologist, and not as a hairdresser.

– What is the most interesting in your work?

Everything! From the beginning of the creation of the image to the final result. But it’s especially nice when customers meet on the street and say words of gratitude. This is remembered.

– Does your profession allow you to reveal your creative abilities, express yourself?

To 100%. Especially bright is the talent in contests, where the spirit of competition is hovering. But It rather serves as a creator than a destroyer.

– Has the childhood dream come true about the future profession?

Yes. Since childhood I have been “twirling” my hair to my girlfriends, my mother, dolls. Then I began to do her hair for the holidays. Everyone liked it. Me too. So I became a hairstyle master.

– Does your profession generate a good income?

Yes! And it pleases doubly.

– To whom would you recommend your profession?

Those who can gently hold a pair of scissors in their hands. Brave, creative people who love experiments.

– What would you like to warn those who are going to get the same profession as you?

Do not experiment too much with customers.

– And you can hold a master class and “create” my hair style?

Of course! Sit comfortably in the chair and begin the session of creativity.

– Thank you very much!”

Example of the main body of interview essay 2 (architect)

Use the same scheme for conducting an interview and writing about any other profession. For example, if you want to become an architect.

Example: “- Tell us about yourself: what do you do and for how long?

Hello, my name is Kate, I have been working as an architect for almost 6 years.

– Why did you choose this profession?

I always liked to build, no matter what: houses made of sand, paper. And when I had to choose a profession, I chose architecture.

– Are you happy with your choice?

Of course. After all, the profession must be loved.

– Was it difficult to master your profession? What kind of education do you need for this?

It was not easy. I remember how difficult it was at the university to take a session and a diploma, but when I went to work, it became easier to master the profession. Ideally, you need to graduate from a university. But there are also colleges that allow you to master this profession.

– Do you need any special qualities and skills?

There must be a desire to constantly create something new – and the best.

– What difficulties do you face in your work?

Probably, for me the main difficulty is a lack of time.

– What is the most interesting in your work?

To see the result of my work.

– Does your profession allow you to reveal your creative abilities, express yourself?

Yes, it allows, the architect is basically a creative profession.

– Has the childhood dream come true about the future profession?

My school dream came true. After all, as a child, I dreamed of practicing extreme sports.

– How is your profession useful and important for our country?

My profession has always been important for the country, and now it has become even more in demand, because now there is urbanization, that is, the expansion and development of cities.

– In what do you see the purpose of your profession?

Architecture creates the image of the city, forms the environment of man. Without this, if you only use functionality, our cities will become gray and boring.

– To whom would you recommend your profession?

I would recommend my profession to people who want to reproduce their dreams in reality.

– Of what would you like to warn those who are going to get the same profession as you do?

People who want to become architects should know that the architect’s path is very complicated and not everyone can reach the end.

– How do you see your profession in the future?

My profession is an architect, in the future I plan to design private houses or cottages, or I’ll try to find something related to design.

– Does the experience and knowledge of your profession help in a personal life not related to work?

Undoubtedly, architecture helps in life, you can find many people with common interests, or without any help to create a project for yourself, you can also design an interior in your house or apartment.”

Example of conclusion of interview essay

When writing a conclusion, summarize the main ideas and repeat them once again in a different way. Point out that the interview with a chosen person has proved you were right and you once again understood who you want to become.

Example: “A good hairdresser can make the most ordinary client so attractive that it will be difficult to recognize. Or maybe a person just wants to renew his appearance, become more modern, change his image. Or the client of the stylist is a “star” who performs on stage and should always surprise the audience with her magnificent hairstyles. And before the stylist-hairdresser there is a difficult task to tell the client the best version of the hairstyle, to simulate it and perform it qualitatively, in no way spoiling the appearance of a person.

I hope that I will become such a stylist that people will always leave my hairdressing salon with a smile and good mood, admiring themselves in the mirror. And, therefore, my work will be adequately rewarded by clients. My choice of profession is this, because I want to have a creative work and create beauty with my own hands. And to make people around more beautiful and self-confident.”

When the work on writing an interview essay is done, carefully edit it. Remember that deciphering an interview is a draft material. Sometimes it is necessary to reformulate the questions and answers to make the interview stylistically literate, to change the parts of the various parts of the conversation, so that the inner logic becomes more vivid. Unlike decoding, this is not a technical one, but a creative work, during which you can create the desired form by making a finished work from the raw text, correctly positioning the accents and emphasizing the key moments of the conversation.