Interview checklist

Stakeholder and user interviews often progress through key moments: introductions lead to warm-up questions, which lead to topic-specific questions, activities, etc. This checklist outlines those key moments, and suggests things to do as you go through them. GSA Staff, please see this Google Doc Template

Pre-interview preparation

Set aside 10 minutes before the interview begins to help your team intentionally transition to an inquiring mindset, to clarify with your colleagues their respective roles, to check any technologies on which the interview will rely, etc.

Make sure to


Spend 5 minutes at the beginning of the interview to clarify with the participant the parameters of the interview, and to give them a chance to ask any logistics-related questions.

Make sure to

Warm-up / icebreaker

Spend 5-10 minutes establishing the cadence for the interview as a conversation rather than a stilted back and forth. Help the participant feel comfortable, and focus on gaining important context for the body of the interview.

Make sure to

Activities or topic-specific questions

Spend 25 minutes exploring the topics or leading the participant through the activities (for example, screen sharing) the research was designed around.

Make sure to


Spend 5 minutes thanking the participant, communicating any next steps, and giving the participant a chance to ask any questions they might have.

Make sure to

Post-interview activities

Once the interview is complete, spend 15 minutes completing a post-interview debrief. Tend to any post-interview logistics.

Make sure to


Amy Ashida, Julia Lindpaintner, Andrew Maier, Victor Udoewa


Interviewing Users by Steve Portigal; Practical Ethnography by Sam Ladner