Interviewer tips, interviewee instructions, and advantages of the “GROUP TECHNIQUE…” (THIS WILL SAVE YOU A TON OF TIME!)

In attempt to save us time and energy on site for interviewing students I highly recommend you instruct or “prep" all of your interviewees at once, in a group. So, instead of hunting down each interview participant to prep them individually… gather them all together at once.

If this sounds confusing here’s an analogy: an NFL QB doesn’t relay the play calling to each player on the field individually before the snap… he let’s them all know the play in a huddle.

Similarly, I would recommend you have all interview subjects together in queue, waiting to be interviewed OR utilize a group interview technique.

Below you’ll find key tips I’ve curated to help us all for prepping students and the benefits of utilizing a group interview technique.

Instructions for interviewers:

  1. Let the students warm up to basic questions, then allow them to get into bigger ones. It can be uncomfortable for students to immediately respond to thought-provoking questions.
  2. As an interviewer maintain eye-contact with the subject. Be an active listener, and don’t get distracted by other priorities. Provide your full attention so they truly feel like its a one-on-one conversation.
  3. Be RELATABLE. Understand the student by responding to their answers as opposed to running down the list of Q’s you have. Don’t be afraid to introduce new questions based on their answers. Give them an opportunity to open up.
  4. Questions that begin with words such as “How, Why, Where, What…” will elicit stronger, more in-depth answers from your subject. Additionally, to get a stronger narrative from the subject try slightly embedding your feedback to their answer or challenge their answer with positive reactions.
  5. “Soapbox technique” – At the end of the interview, tell the student, “My last question is… Is there anything I have not asked you about, that you would like to share regarding this weekend?” Sometimes this is the most passionate response you will receive. They shouldn’t feel interrogated, if you amplify your feedback with positivity, the subject will naturally amplify their answer.

Instructions to all interviewees (prep):

  1. Be as detailed as possible, e.g. "my chapter" vs. “Washington Alpha Delta"

  2. Incorporate the question in your answer, e.g. “The Boysie Bollinger Leadership Academy weekend was enlightening because…"

  3. Don’t mind the camera, just "have a conversation with me, the interviewer"


About this technique… it's a highly effective way to get different opinions and viewpoints on the same subject from multiple people, particularly multiple people from a larger group. There are three main advantages–

  1. You capture the opinions of a bunch of people for about the same or EVEN LESS amount of time as you would interviewing each person separately. This also ensures those selected to be interviewed are not waiting for extended periods of time to be interviewed next… which can deflate their energy or increase their anxiousness/nerves as they wait.
  2. Group interviews are very effective in dealing with subjects that are likely to be more camera shy. One good comment from a subject begets another, and subjects have more time to gather their own thoughts when its their turn to speak.
  3. Lastly, group interviews tend to magnify the energy and emotion of the interview. Whatever type of energy our questions foster, it will usually be magnified and shared among the group as opposed to relying on their energy and thoughts alone.

Instructions to videographer / things to note:

  • When using the group technique… keep the INDIVIDUAL responding to the question in the frame, not the entire group.
  • The group technique IS NOT a substitute for our individual stories. The primary goal of the project is to capture the experience of the individuals… So, when recording responses in a group setting ensure that you zoom into the subject and ensure others are out of the frame. All this involves is a simple pan on the tripod to ensure their response is captured as if it were a one-on-one conversation with the interviewer.
  • You may need to tell the subject to restart their answer if you haven’t panned them into the frame.
  • See screenshots for examples of this concept.


Position the group with some space between each other.


Proper framing will make it seem as if it was a solo interview.


Final result that appears as a solo interview.

Actual gorup technique setup, with spacing..png

Actual group technique setup, with spacing.