Create Better Training Videos: Learn to be a Better Interviewer

These days, not only L&D professionals but also managers and subject matter experts (SMEs) are expected to create and deliver effective training videos. One of the most important aspects of creating successful training videos is being a good interviewer. But being a good interviewer requires certain skills and techniques that can make or break the quality of the video. Luckily, there are some tried and true techniques for improving your interview skills — and new technologies that can enhance the interviews that might not be going as planned…

This article will outline a few simple ways to improve your interview skills and improve the quality of your video-based training content.

Just hit “record”

One of the simplest methods to produce training videos is to record an SME delivering a course in a classroom setting. This has become less common as virtual workplace learning has risen to prominence. Now, recording videos for live virtual courses, or pre-recorded videos for course modules, is the norm for many L&D programs.

If you are choosing to record an interview, as opposed to a lecture, you can use advancements in AI to assist in video creation and enhance the editing process. Tools like Camtasia have evolved, incorporating AI to streamline the creation and editing processes and making it easier for anyone to produce professional-quality videos without formal videography or instructional design training.

Think like a journalist

The most effective interviewers draw lessons from journalism, which has only become more fast-paced and multi-faceted with the rise of social media and the 24-hour news cycle.

Modern journalists often handle multiple aspects of content creation — from planning, to interviewing, to shooting and editing. L&D teams have almost become their own internal broadcast networks, requiring instructional designers to develop their own set of journalistic skills — with interviewing being one of the most valuable.

Interviewing SMEs is particularly effective for capturing expert knowledge, especially when dealing with specialists who are too busy or reluctant to create content themselves. The key to successful interviews lies in the ability of the interviewer to connect on a personal level, making interviewees comfortable and willing to share their insights. This personal approach is crucial, as the essence of training is about putting peoples’ needs first.

With that in mind, here are three best practices for conducting video interviews:

  1. Show genuine interest: When interviewing SMEs, it is important to show genuine interest in their expertise. Ask detailed follow-up questions and leave lots of room for them to respond at length. This not only establishes a rapport but also encourages them to share their knowledge more freely.
  2. Be a good listener: Pay attention to what the SME is saying and actively listen to their responses. Active listening will not only make the interviewee feel heard but will also give you a deeper understanding of their expertise.
  3. Ask open-ended questions: Asking a yes or no question is a real “no-no” for interviews. Ask open-ended questions that require the SME to provide detailed answers and insights. This will help you gather more valuable information and allows the SME to showcase their knowledge and experience.

Additionally, be prepared to go off-script and follow any interesting tangents or ideas that the SME may bring up. This can lead to unexpected and valuable insights that may not have been uncovered through pre-planned questions. Remember, the goal is to gather as much information as possible to create a comprehensive and informative piece. And with the right editing and transcription tools, you can also easily derive additional assets from the responses you record.

Practice, practice, practice

The old saying “practice makes perfect” is still as relevant as ever when it comes to creating training videos. Conducting a mock interview with a friend or colleague before you record with an SME is an effective way to test the flow and timing of your questions.

To take an even more modern approach, you can use Generative AI or a Large Language Model to simulate a real interview, feeding it your questions and finding opportunities for further investigation. If you’re worried about the public speaking aspect of recording an interview, investigate whether your LMS or CRM offers an AI video assessment tool that can analyze a mock interview and provide realtime feedback on your sentiment, keyword usage, and rate of speech.

Remember that regardless of the format or technology used, you can create the most effective learning materials by staying curious, experimenting, practicing, and refining your approach.