Recording an Interview

Imagine Our Story - Summer Programming at Pima County Public Library

Recording an Interview

A great way to ‘Imagine Our Story’ is to interview a friend or family member about an experience they had, a time period in their life, or something they are doing now. What has happened to them, what is happening to them, and what do they hope and imagine for the future?

Start the conversation with introductions and try to have a casual conversation. Use the sample questions to get started, if you wish, but make sure to ask follow-up questions of your own when your interview subject says something interesting.

Have a topic in mind but start with easy questions and let the conversation flow into more difficult subjects. Start with the sample questions and take direction from your subject’s answers about what questions to ask next. Your goal is to make your interview subject feel comfortable and to get their real thoughts and feelings.

Sample questions:

  • ‘What is your name and where are you from?’
  • ‘What school to you go to?’ Or ‘What is your job?’
  • ‘What music are you in to?’ Or ‘What do you like to do for fun?’
  • ‘How are we related?’ Or ‘How long have we known each other?’
  • ‘Describe a fond memory of us together’
  • ‘Tell me about your life this past year, how have things been different?’
  • ‘Describe your strongest memory of this past year’
  • ‘I’d like to talk about X’ (an experience, a time period, something they are doing currently)
  • ‘What’s the most important thing about X?’
  • Tell me more about X’ (what details am I missing?)
  • ‘Do you talk much about X?’ And ‘Why or why not?’
  • ‘Why is X important for you?’
  • ‘How have you changed because of X?’
  • ‘Is there anything else I should know about X?’
  • ’What are you most looking forward to now?’

How can I record an interview?

Record a Zoom meeting between yourself and your interview subject.

Start the recording when you are ready to begin and stop the recording before you sign out of the meeting. Use microphones or headset microphones if you have them. The file of your recording will be saved in your downloads and will have ‘Zoom’ in the title.

Use your smartphone to record a video interview.

Use a tripod or prop up your phone on a stack of books to keep it steady. If you have a blue-tooth or wired microphone, use it.

Use a voice recorder app on your phone to record an audio interview.

To reduce background noise and sound reflections, keep the mic close to the subject in a noise free environment. If you are using the built-in microphone, place your phone on a soft surface with pillows on the sides to reduce sound reflections.

Consider purchasing a microphone for ideal sound recording, still keeping in mind sound reflections and background noise in the environment. There are small directional microphones that plug into your phone jack.

Depending on how you record your interview, keep it to 45 minutes or so. The limit on file size to submit is 400mb, or 400,000kb.

You may need to ZIP your video file if it is too big. How to zip and unzip files

How To Record an Interview On Your Smartphone or iPhone

4 Tips to improve your audio recording on a smartphone

Want a printer-friendly version of this information? Print this PDF.


teen girl web meeting zoom on laptop

Recorded workshop

Want even more tips about interviewing? Watch this recording of our Teen Interview Orientation. We spent an hour chatting with Mark McLemore of AZPM about interviewing techniques.

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