Imterviewing Techniques

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Conducting interviews is one of the most efficient methods in gathering information in a relatively short time. Interviews allow us to gain insight and help make important decisions such as hiring employees or treating ill patients. Probing, clarifying and informing are just a few techniques that can be used in conducting a successful interview. When we examine an interview it is necessary to observe several factors, such as verbal and non-verbal communication, interview structure, and phrasing of the questions being asked by the interviewer. After analyzing two different types of interviews, one being an interview transcript and the other a live television interview, I observed many similarities and differences among them. The first interview is a transcript taken from the television program “Larry King Live” where he interviewed Kirk Bloodsworth, a man who was convicted for murder nine years ago and then released after D.N.A. evidence proved he was in fact innocent. I compared this interview to a television interview being conducted by Park Dietz on the infamous serial killer Richard Kuklinski.

Kirk Bloodsworth was sentenced to death nearly nine years ago after he was charged with the murder of a nine year old girl. After D.N.A. evidenced proved his innocence he became the first person in a death penalty case ever to be cleared by DNA evidence. From the onset this interview seemed to be quite emotional as Mr. Bloodsworth was forced to relive the nightmare that was his life for nine years. The interviewer Larry King immediately provided warmth and comfort as he spoke of the “inner strength” needed to survive nine years in prison erroneously. He started off with closed ended confirmation of facts type questions to affirm all the details of the Bloodsworth case. The first page of this interview was mainly of this nature as Bloodsworth either confirmed or denied the facts in question. After outlining and confirming the major issues of the case, King then proceeded to ask questions which allowed Bloodsworth to provide a clear illustration of all the details that had transpired. He tells of the lack of evidence provided which first led to his arrest and trial. A little girl by the name of Dawn Hamilton was brutally raped and murdered about three miles from where he lived. Two little boys provided a description of a man who was last seen with Dawn nearby the apartment complex where she lived. This description matched the physical attributes of Kirk Bloodsworth. At the same time Bloodsworth was having marital troubles with his wife which led him to move and happened around the same time the murder occurred. From the language being used it seems as if Bloodsworth was still really shaken. On the transcript there are a few instances where he paused in the middle of a sentence and the interviewer had to help him gather himself. He was finally brought to trial in a court case which lasted about two weeks. The responses by the interviewer at this point seem to be of the probing type since he encourages the interviewer to open up and discuss his situation in a detailed procedural manner. One of the most important parts of this interview in my mind is when he talks about his reaction upon hearing the judge sentence him to the gas chamber for murder. He says “Well, the courtroom erupted in applause, Larry, and said, give him the gas. My knees buckled. I almost went to the ground. I could barely hold myself up. I just, from then on, I just knew I had to prove it to somebody.” Despair, shock, lifelessness and utter despondency are all the feelings you should feel when reading of Bloodsworth’s fate but it is hard to empathize without actually seeing or hearing him speak in what was most likely a trembled voice. This illustrates the importance of non-verbal cues in communication. Tone of voice, facial and body animations along with physical proximity and positioning are all very important factors in effective communication. Absence of...
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