A successful interview enhances every corporate video! But conducting a video interview is not an easy job. How do you ask the right questions and, above all, how do you get the best answers? As a film production company, we often conduct interviews and know what’s important. Here you will learn first-hand what you need to pay attention to: when conducting interviews for your film, how to guide your counterpart through the conversation in a relaxed manner, how to ask questions correctly and thus achieve a perfect result in the end.
On the mindnapped Youtube channel, Alexander Lorenz shares his experiences and gives further tips on interviewing for videos.
The most important tip for a successful video interview is: don’t think in questions but in answers. Only if you know which statements you need from your counterpart for the film can you react adequately and, for example, ask questions. We use a so-called “treatment” for this purpose. The development of the treatment has a lot to do with the concept of your corporate video. In principle, however, it is a document in which the contents of the interviews to be conducted are listed.
The second part of the preparation concerns your counterpart. Who is this person? What is their expertise? How much experience does he or she have with interviews? Always try to conduct a short preliminary interview. This is mainly about getting to know each other and making rough arrangements about the content of the interview. But be careful: if possible, concrete interview questions should not yet be discussed or sent in advance. All too often, this leads to over-preparation and memorized answers.
Basically, there are two ways to stage video interviews: With and without the interviewer in the picture. If you as the interviewer can be seen and/or heard in the picture, every question has to be right! And that requires experience and preparation. In addition, you are then of course also competing with the interviewee for attention.
Therefore, in most cases in interviews, the interviewer posing the questions can neither be seen nor heard, but rather sits next to the camera and asks their questions from there. If you are unsure, we always recommend this option in case of doubt. However, the most important thing is that you tell your interviewer which type of interview you have chosen. More on this below.
TIP: Noises, movements or large gestures should be avoided when conducting the interview, as they stand out and can be irritating in the video.
Anyone who has ever stood in front of a camera or given an interview can understand: most people feel downright uncomfortable. Insecurity and nervousness, however, lead to poorer answers, which your viewers can also notice. That’s why it’s especially important to create a relaxed situation in which the person feels comfortable in front of the camera.
The most important prerequisite for this is good preparation. And not only in terms of content, as described above, but also technically. If something doesn’t work or there is unrest in the team, this often unsettles the protagonist as well.
In the same way, long waiting times should be avoided. So that interview partners notice as little as possible of the technical set-up, it makes sense to arrange to meet them at the set a little later, when everything is already set up.
TIP: If possible, have a separate room ready for waiting times or interview preparation for your protagonists.
A relaxed start helps interviewees find their way into the situation. This applies equally to interviewing newcomers and old hands in the field. Therefore, never start directly with the first interview questions.
As an introduction, it is good to briefly explain the topic and goal of the interview. A little small talk also makes the beginning easier and helps people get used to the cameras. To give less experienced people more confidence, you can explain that it’s not bad if you get muddled or have to think, because video interviews are edited before publication and only the best answers are published.
So it is best to start with easy and unproblematic questions. Once the interviewee has acclimatized, more difficult questions can gradually be asked. As the interview progresses, alternate between easy and more complex questions to avoid overwhelming or boring your interviewees.
Even though it may seem simple, the hardest part of conducting a good interview is asking questions the right way. But how do you do it?
The best answers are achieved with open-ended questions to which you can’t answer “yes” or “no.” “How?” or “Why?” can work wonders. Avoid so-called “question chains”. This helps the person in front of the camera to focus on one point and formulate answers more easily.
If you don’t want your questions to be heard later in the video, a common trick is to have them picked up in the answer. In response to the question, “How many employees are there in your company?” the answer, “There are 3 employees working in the company.” is better than “3”. This way, the answer can be understood even without the question.
Therefore, it is important to clarify this before the interview. In the end, however, it is your responsibility to pay attention during the interview and to have too short answers repeated.
In general, listening is extremely important for a good interview. Pay close attention to the answers, to assess whether questions need to be repeated. By following up or asking specific questions, you can often achieve better and more understandable answers.
Even with the best preparation and the best questions, problems can occur during the interview. For example, your counterpart answers too briefly, despite open-ended questions. Nervousness, teetering or stuttering, answers that are too long or an inflationary use of foreign words are also often problematic. But how do you deal with such situations?
Be understanding but point out your counterpart’s behavior in a friendly manner and always give specific suggestions for improvement. For example, you can ask to rephrase answers, to answer more briefly or to summarize sentences. This way, the interviewee is not put off by the criticism, but can adjust his or her behavior.
If protagonists are particularly concerned or want to prepare themselves well for an interview to be given, you can also show them this video.
Do you now feel ready for your first video interview? Regardless of whether the answer is yes or no, we can only recommend that you practice a little before your first real interview – for example with a colleague and preferably already with a microphone and camera. This way you can get to know the situation without risk and later conduct your first video interview with confidence. You will notice: with every interview you learn something new and develop yourself further. This is true even for experienced editors.
Video interviews can be used in a variety of ways in video marketing. They range from short vox pops at a trade show, to interviews with employees in recruiting videos or to a CEO statement for a corporate video. If you are not yet sure whether a video interview fits your corporate video, you can find inspiration in our article on the conception of a corporate video.
As a video marketing agency and film production company, we realize corporate video productions of all kinds for our clients – including numerous video interviews. Therefore, we are happy to share our experience and advise you if you need support in the implementation of your corporate video or video interviews.