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Published: July 4, 2011


A private, formal, face-to-face meeting of two people to exchange information. It is the formality of the interview that distinguishes it from conventional social intercourse. The well-conducted interview should have a carefully defined purpose, be limited to three topics, and have a relatively strict underlying structure, consisting of an opening, a body and a conclusion, that can easily be outlined and documented. In education, there are a wide variety of interviews, the most common for teachers being the job, induction, performance evaluation and grievance interviews with peers or superiors and the academic or behavioral evaluation interviews with students. The most common interviews affecting primary and secondary school students are those with teachers and guidance counselors about academic achievement, school behavior, course selection, career choices, college selection, social and personal problems, and school or college admissions.
Interviewing techniques are based not on conventional social skills but on broad-based skills learned in formal courses. Skilled interviewers are, essentially, problem solvers who must be able to put interviewees at ease by empathizing with them and demonstrating an interest in and knowledge of the problem under discussion.