December 06, 2018
Interviewing tips and questions
Filling the yearbook with your school’s stories can feel like an overwhelming task; in order to unearth great stories, you must have strategic planning in place. I always tell my students to look at the planning process the same as you would if you were to bake chocolate chip cookies, you need a recipe and without it, you wouldn’t know where to begin or what ingredients to add. A similar process must go into collecting your school’s unique stories for the year. So let’s look at one of the most important ingredients to the recipe of a successful yearbook, the Interview stage. We will also review some great interview questions that will get you and your students the results you need for a tasty hot unique yearbook that your whole school community will devour.
So let’s get started;
- Be prepared, make sure you have all the tools you need in order to conduct a proper interview. Have extra pens or pencils at hand, make sure camera settings are correct, your card reader is clear and batteries are charged. Oh and don’t forget your Friesens reporter notepad! Ask your Friesens consultant how to get your very own reporter pads. Select a time and a quiet place to hold the interview.
- Questions must have a purpose; great questions can unearth great stories from seemingly boring places, they give a fresh perspective on old-tired subjects and quickly highlight for you the biggest trends amongst the student body. You certainly will not get that from boring questions without purpose.
- You will need to ask open-ended questions. Your goal is to force people to explain their answers and avoid one worded answers. One word responses will lack the personality needed to make the yearbook come to life.
- Know your subject before going into the interview; if your story is about the chess club and you are interviewing a student who is from the football team chances are they are not going to be able to give you the correct information. Doing a little investigating before the interview on your subject and the interviewee will save you both time and frustration.
- Compile 3 types of interview questions; surveys, anecdotes and quotes.
- Surveys; can be the lifeblood of the yearbook. You can ask questions like, “What are the songs of the year?”, “What are students wearing?”, ect. These are fun, easy questions and are great for building trust before asking them to share more personal opinions.
- Anecdotes; here lie the stories you are seeking. Now that the subject is comfortable after answering the fun survey questions, time to ask questions that will provide more elaborate responses. Let them talk, you can always edit after.
- Quotes; great for capturing moments and can be hilarious. Quotes add human emotion, truth and possibly connectedness amongst the school community
You want the yearbook to be diverse, offering many different personalities. If you can remember to keep your questions open-ended and purposeful and avoid yes or no questions at all costs you’re already two steps ahead. Use some of these interview questions listed below or as inspiration to write your own. In any event, following a simple recipe with the right ingredients will definitely lead to stories, quotes, and trends that will give your yearbook context and make everything, including all those great pictures, “memories crafted in print” worth devouring for years to come.
Yearbook Interview Question Samples;
- What project or assignment challenged you the most as a student? Why?
- Most useful math equation or theory you have learned this year?
- What was the longest paper you wrote this year? Who was it for? What was it about?
- If you could conduct any science experiment in a class, what would it be?
- What was the most enjoyable book you had to read for school this year?
- Which subject do you think prepares you most for life after high school? Why?
- Which school tradition are you most proud of?
- Would students be more productive if cell phones were banned during school hours?
- Which event did you most look forward to this year? Did it live up to expectations?
- How do you avoid participating in gossip? What do you do if there’s gossip about you?
- Which team’s games are the most fun to attend? Why?
- If you could have the pep band play one song at games, what would it be?
- Describe your crosstown rivalry in one (appropriate) word…
- Which sport does the school need to add next year?
- What was the most memorable school sporting event of the year?
- How does playing X impact your academic performance?
- What life-lesson(s) did you learn playing X?
- Will you try to play X in college?
- Do you think participation in extracurricular activities should be required by the school?
- If your club was given an unlimited budget to throw an event for the school, what would you plan?
- If you could create one new club for next year, what would it be?
- Where does your club meet? Do you use any school resources other than space? How could the school provide more support for your club?
- Which plays should the school produce next year? Would you audition if it was something you liked?
- Which TV show is most talked about in the hallways?
- What would you be SO embarrassed to be seen wearing (but secretly love)?
- Which meme did you use most frequently this year?
- Which movie that came out this year would you be most embarrassed to watch with your family?
- Which professional sports team were you most excited about this year?
- If you were in charge of planning a concert for the school, which three artists would you bring?
- If you applied, when did you start your university/college applications?
- What made you decide not to go to university/college next year?
- Describe your senior year in three words.
- If you could create one mandatory course for future seniors, what would it be?
- “I will always remember…”
- What community service components were you involved in (X number of hours, a project, etc.)?
- Who was your favorite teacher throughout all of high school?
- If you could change one school rule, what would it be?
- Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Friesens Yearbook Consultant