During the site visit, there will be many opportunities to talk with participants, peer workers, community members, board members, and executive staff. These conversations need to be as efficient as possible, while still being open and friendly. Following are suggestions for making the most of each interview.
An interview can be organzied into three parts:(1) an opening, (2) a body, and (3) a closing.
The opening consists of a basic introduction and establishing some explanations. Introduce yourself, briefly explain the CAPRSS accreditation process, and state your role on the team and the purpose of the interview. Explain that the information that they share with you is strictly confidential and will not be shared or repeated. Ask if you can take notes and assure them that their name will not be attached.
Sample questions for the opening
- Can you tell me about your background and job duties?
- What accomplishment are you most proud of since you have been working here?
- What does a typical work day look like?
The body of the interview is the section where you ask the substanative questions. Be careful to use terminology that is familiar to the person and organization. Spell out anachromyms and avoid lingo. Hinge your questions on the particular program standards that are relevant to the experience of the person you are interviewing. Focus on recording the information as it is relayed to you and steer clear of editoralizing and/or personal bias.
Sample questions of the body
- Can you describe for me what the first session of recovery coaching looks like?
- How is information recorded and stored?
- Please describe how peers receive supervision in the program.
The closing of the interview should be short and sweet. You can ask them if they have any questions of if they would like any specific consultation. Be sure to acknowledge and express gratitude for the time and information they have given you.
Sample questions for closing
• You mentioned that you were having issues in matching peers. Would you like to hear some ideas that may be helpful?
• Is there anything we left out that you would like to add before we close?
• Do you have any questions for me?
Tips and reminders for conducting successful interviews
- Be prepared with your questions in advance.
- Ask your questions across the standards subsections.
- Refer to your checklist without obviously marking it off the points and questions.
- Work toward a conversational flow, rather than a barrage of questions.
- When possible, use open-ended questions.
- Follow up with probe questions, based on the answer cues.
- Be aware of eye contact and body language.
- Use active listening and paraphrasing to promote engagement.
- When someone does not know the answer to a question, let it go and move on.