Just like any form of essay, interview essays must have a goal to be considered professional and to attract readers. An author can accomplish this by formulating questions that lead to a specific aim. When preparing for the interview, an author needs to prepare a variety of questions that answer the four W's - What? Where? When? and Why? He should avoid questions that are too personal. Expressing personal opinions about the interviewee is allowed; however, they must not veer off from the goal of the interview. An author should remember that a good interview essay is not a summary of the answered questions or a personal reflection of the subject, but a clear personality portrait of the interviewee.
Generally, interview essays make use of four different types of questions to help the author better understand the interviewee.
Direct Questions. These are questions that can only be answered by a yes or a no. Interviewees who receive these questions are asked to further explain their answers.
Closed Questions. The correct answers to these questions are limited, making them extremely useful in checking the knowledge of an interviewee on a particular subject.
Loaded Questions. If an author really wants to know the character of an interviewee, he should ask loaded questions. These questions are provocative in nature; presuppositions and guesses that are aimed to compel an interviewee to give a straightforward answer. For example: Do you still like to torture animals?
Non-verbal probes. These represent statements or phrases used by the interviewer to make the whole interview process relaxed and more productive; statements such as, I'd like to know more about your job as a district attorney. Non-verbal probes prompt the interviewee to give more details on a specific question.
Interview essays, like all other forms of essays, has an introduction, a body, and a conclusion in its structure. The introduction contains the general information about the interviewee. It talks about peculiarities such as profession, family life, location, sports or hobbies. The body discusses the topic or the intended goal of the interview. Quotes from the interviewee must be included to show readers that the body's contents are not based on the author's personal opinion. The conclusion is where the author can give his personal reflection on what the interview was able to prove.
With the many different personalities in the world, authors of interview essays will never run out of topics to write about. Authors, however, must check if he has a keen knowledge of the topic and if the topic will interest a lot of readers. A successful interview essay provides an author a complete information about the interviewee and a satisfaction that can only be felt when one has reached his goal.