9.9 Methods: Telephone

For journalists who need to get information from busy or distant experts, the telephone interview is the second favorite method for interviewing. It is a widely used approach for advertisers and public relations professionals who need to speak to clients about the message campaign, or to potential audience members to get the prevailing opinion about a topic or product.

Advantages of telephone interviews:

  • Two women performing phone interviews

    Steven Depelo – CC BY 2.0

    Still get the verbal clues of tone of voice and emotion

  • Convenience for interviewer (no travel required) and interviewee (no stranger in your space)

  • Interviews can be recorded (if agreed on by the interviewee)

Disadvantages:

  • Visual clues from the interpersonal interaction are missing (unless you are using Skype or some other live video link)

  • Easier for the interviewee to cut short a phone interview by hanging up if it becomes uncomfortable or confrontational versus if someone is in your physical space

  • For strategic communicators, the way that tele-marketing phone calls have tainted phone interviews can lower the response rate to phone requests