Take Note Team
Whether you work in journalism, market research, or some other people-based role, the chances are that interviews are a significant part of your day. These are where you gain insights which inform what you do.
A good interview is all about getting a subject to feel at ease so you can get those revelations flowing. It involves both forming personal connections and taking time to ask the right questions. In the best interviews, the interviewee may even start to divulge information you haven’t expressly requested. The trouble is that these are rarely benefits you’ll experience if you’re attempting to transcribe by hand.
While the idea of a journalist with a flip-top notepad might be something of a tradition, it’s something you could benefit by staying away from -- particularly as your main source of recording detail.
In reality, many interviewers now find that note taking in this way can actually prove harmful to their results. That’s why many professionals are opting to use voice recorders instead. These allow you to capture every second of your interview without having to write a thing. And, lucky for you, getting recordings like these couldn’t be easier thanks to smartphones and a host of available recording apps.
The best apps for recording on your smartphone
A quick search on either the Google Play Store or Apple’s App Store will point you towards all manner of voice recorders for your needs. By taking one of these to your next interview, the chances are that you’ll be able to ask more and delve deeper than ever. You’ll also be able to replay and transcribe every moment.
The thing to note is that if you’re to stand any chance at replaying or transcribing an interview, you need to make sure your recordings are the best quality. Fail to do this and there’s every chance your transcripts will be littered with mistakes, or that you won’t be able to hear answers at all. That could leave you in a worse position than if you had just stuck with that notepad.
But how do you decide which voice recorder is up to the task? For the most part, looking out for highly-regarded recorders like Evernote is best. If you do a lot of interviews, investing in a microphone extension will improve audio quality. You can also look at apps hooked right into transcription services (more on that later) like Rev or TakeNote.
With any of these apps, you need to look at customer reviews to be sure that the app will work for your needs. Premium offerings, while slightly more expensive, have Cloud capabilities and sharing which are invaluable if you’re planning on creating professional interview transcriptions.
How a voice recorder will make you a better interviewer
Of course, downloading the right app and buying a microphone isn’t going to help you if you don’t also know how to use it to make yourself a better interviewer. As such, you next need to think about how exactly you can use that recording capability to your benefit. Luckily, we have a few pointers to help you do just that.
A chance to build that personal connection
As we’ve already touched upon, personal connection is the best way to achieve interview results. If your interviewee warms to you and feels that you’re easy to talk to, all the good stuff is going to come flowing out. And that’s the stuff which you’re likely to use!
The trouble is that personal connections like these are never going to happen if you’re forever looking down at your pad or, worse, asking your subject to wait until you’ve caught up. Before you know, the entire process will become clunky, unnatural, and devoid of any real insights.
By using a recorder and worrying about transcription after the event, you do away with that risk altogether. Instead, you’ll be able to keep eye contact and really work on building the connection which is going to lead to the best answers. Even if the interview veers off course at points, it won’t matter. You’ll simply be able to lead things back naturally, rather than stopping and starting again. You’ll even be able to notice things which you wouldn’t otherwise, such as if an interviewee shuffles uncomfortably about specific topics. All around, you’ll be a better interviewer who gets far better results.
A better reputation
When you use voice recorders, you also ensure that your interviews are pretty straightforward. There won’t be any fussing about or slowing down the process. Instead, you’ll be able to take up as little of your interviewee’s time as possible. That, in turn, guarantees you a far better reputation in the interview world.
If word gets out that you’re an easy person to work with, you may even find that you’re able to secure more interviews than you would have otherwise, and it’s all because you took the time to simplify your interview process for yourself.
A chance for revision
You could say that the opportunity for revision is the best thing about using a voice recorder during an interview. By this, we mean that you’ll be able to revise your conversations in a few different ways. For one, you’ll be able to look back and consider your manner as an interviewer. This is a form of introspection which many interviewers never achieve, and it can help you to really recognise bad habits and the ways you ask those questions. This, in turn, can ensure that you’re able to get the right tone without fail in the future.
Your revision could also come in the form of revisiting the interview so that you can remember exactly which answers your interviewee gave. Many interviewers even find that doing this allows them to pick up insights which they entirely missed during the interview itself. The best way by far to revise your interviews for these benefits is to get transcripts of those recordings after the event.
Transcription for better interviews
Having recordings is great -- you are able to go back and listen to them, getting every detail. But listening to a recording is slow. A hard drive full of recordings is not really the same as notes that you can skim. The best way to turn your recordings into something you can use is transcription services
Transcription comes in all shapes and sizes, from automatic speech recognition (ASR) to human transcription services, or a mixture of both. ASR has its benefits, such as being a relatively cheap and accessible option. In general, though, human transcription services will be best for accuracy when recounting your interview.
Even after you’ve chosen how to go about getting a transcript, it’s vital to consider the type of transcription you need to make you a better interviewer. When using human transcription services, there are three main types of transcripts to choose from, and each has its benefits. The options include:
- Full verbatim transcription
A full verbatim transcription is a full option. It includes every last mispronunciation and hesitation which happens during an interview. As you can imagine, this makes for quite a long-winded re-reading process, but it can be important if you intend to quote your interviewee with all of the pauses and filler words included. Under most circumstances, this is expensive overkill.
Verbatim transcription (also called intelligent verbatim or clean verbatim) is probably the most widely used and involves some editing to ensure that transcription is easier to follow. This is ideal for those who need an easy-to-read word-for-word transcript that includes all of the content but removes the ‘erms’, ‘uhs’ and pauses.
The last widely used option is detailed notes transcription. This involves a much more summarised manner of transcribing an interview and goes as far as to remove off-topic digressions as well as summarising essential points..
As you can see, there are a whole multitude of benefits to recording your interviews, and following up with transcription can take you even further. With many human-based transcription services, you can even pay additional costs to get extras such as timestamps and speaker identification. This can make the reviewing process even easier, allowing you more time to focus on writing up the interview in the way you want.
Investing in a voice recorder for interviews is worth it
It is clear that a voice recorder can help you through the interview process. Not only does it allow you to concentrate on the important points your interviewee is making without worrying about jotting everything down, it always makes the review process much easier. You can demonstrate that you’re a present and invested interviewer, which will help the interviewer to trust you.
If you want to invest in becoming a better interviewer, it’s worth picking the right voice recorder that suits your specific needs. Knowing you can rely on a tool to record everything you need will make your interview processes much easier, and you’ll be bossing your interviews in no time.
You’ve been reading about how you can become a better interviewer by investing in a voice recorder. To learn more about how transcription services can make the interview process even easier, our Ultimate Guide to Transcription Services was written just for you!