How to Summarize an Interview?

How to Summarize an Interview?

An interview, whether a celebrity interview or a candidate interview, is essential. The information obtained in such discussions is necessary and must get captured somewhere. While you could record a video clip, writing a summary of it is the most efficient way. The summary will help the reader get the essence of the interview without observing the whole discussion. It is a convenient way to collect and share information, but it needs strategies. So here is How to Summarize an Interview?

What Is an Interview Summary?

Just as the name suggests, it is the summarization of a lengthy interview into an essay. Interviews are usually detailed conversations that take place between the interviewer and the interviewee. 

However, it is not practical to use the entire interview to pass on the information to others. So people usually summarize the discussion into a written summary and then share it with others.

It benefits the interviewer and interviewee as more people can access and understand the interview. Such summaries are popular in firms and even for celebrity or famous persons’ interviews.

Why Do We Need Interview Summaries?

Interview summaries are a way to understand all the proceedings in the interview. You can also do the same by watching a video recording of the interview, but it takes time and effort. Having the information organized helps you get more interested and understand the discussion better.

Here are all the merits of an interview summary that make it desirable:

  • It Is Time Saving– For an average reader reading an excerpt in the newspaper, or even a superior reading a report, long paragraphs are tedious. They will take time and be inefficient in delivering the information quickly. 

It is why summaries are superior since they convey the necessary information about the interview. Moreover, they do it without taking too much time for the reader.

  • It Is Informative– While the summary of an interview saves the reader time, it also informs them about the content. A summary is organized into a concise excerpt, so there is no compromise on the information. 

The details of the interview and conversation remain protected in summary and get conveyed to the reader.

  • It is Attractive to Readers– Imagine that you are an employer in a firm and you want to know about the interview of the candidates for a post. You open the report, and the whole discussion is present as is. 

It would take you so much time and effort to get through. But if you receive concise excerpts for each candidate, you would appreciate the HR manager who created the report. It is why concise summaries are perfect and attractive to readers.

Essential Steps to Follow Before and During the Interview Itself

To make the perfect summary of an interview, you must be prepared even before the interview. Although you might have a recording of the interview to refer to later, some people might not be comfortable recording the interview. 

In such cases, and usually in all cases, you must get prepared with a few steps before the interview. Such steps mentioned below will help you summarize the discussion:

Prepare A Customized Questionnaire

The first step to follow before taking any interview is to formulate the questions to get asked in the discussion. You must keep in mind your motive and the specific requirements of the interviewee to make a questionnaire.

Keep the questions to the point and try to be as polite as possible. Even if you want to touch over a sensitive but essential topic, ensure that you use polite speech and for the question well. Such questionnaires will help obtain useful information for the summary.

Keep A Notepad or Tablet with You

For interviewers, it may not always be possible to record the interviews. However, you can use the traditional way and note down the responses in that case. It is not as efficient, but if necessary, it can work well.

You can keep a device or notepad with you in which you can pre-write the questions. When the interviewee and answers them, you can note down bullets and then expand the information later on.

Try to Record the Interview

If possible, take the permission of your interviewee and record the interview. It is an essential step for firms hiring candidates. However, interviews with celebs might be different. Not everyone might agree to record the interview for reference.

You can use the above method in that case, and it is not a grave issue. But recording an interview is always ideal because you can look back at the interview and catch any essential information you may have missed the first time you noted it down.

Steps to Follow While Writing the Summary of an Interview 

Now that you know what you must do while taking an interview let us go further to what you must keep in mind while making the summary. Creating a summary itself is not a complex task, but for interviews, it may be.

Interviews are conversations, so if the information is not organized well, it could lead to miscommunication. Hence, if you make a summary of an interview, you have to be careful to make an ideal summary.

Here are some steps and tricks you can follow while you summarize the interview:

Refer to The Recording or Notes

The first and most essential part of summarization would be to refer to the information. The best time to write the summary would be immediately after the interview so you can process maximum information and details.

But if you can’t do so, you can always refer to the recording or the notes of the interview multiple times. It will help you ensure that the information you pass on is accurate and the point of the interviewee gets across.

Choose Between Summary Styles

An interview summary or report can get written in two major styles of writing. The first way is the Question and Answer format, and the second way is the Narrative style. Both these styles are ideal for writing the summary.

In a Q&A format, you would write short answers to the questions the interviewee answered, so it is more detailed. However, the narrative would help you combine the overall essence of the interview and share it as a consistent story rather than individual answers.

Stay Objective

While taking the interview, you might meet a celebrity with who you disagree, or even a candidate who you know. But regardless of your personal opinions and relations with the interviewee, your report must be objective.

Even if you might disagree with a statement, you must convey it in your report just as the interviewee intended. And even if you might want the best for your acquaintance, you must only present the facts without being biased.

Keep The Audience in Mind

Now we have broadly discussed two types of interviews in our guide. The celebrity or famous persons’ interviews has the general public as an audience. At the same time, the candidate interview has your superiors as an audience.

With different audiences, you must change the tone of your summary. For the general public, a polite yet fun tone would be better to keep them engaged. But with your superiors, a serious tone would be perfect.

Re-Read the Summary 

Once you have followed all the guidelines and created the summary of the interview, you must proofread it. You can also play the interview recording and check if the report has any deviations from the original point.

At this point, if you find that your statements are different, you can correct them before presenting them to someone else. It is a way to ensure that there is no miscommunication with the audience.


An interview summary is a concise account of the conversation in an interview. While the entire interview might be too long and detailed for everyone, a summary is convenient to read for all.

Summarizing an interview is not that difficult for an average worker. If you know how you must prepare and conduct the interview, you can make a summary too. Just ensure that you follow our tips for summarizing to get optimum results.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Is it necessary to create an interview summary?

No, it isn’t technically necessary to make a summary of an interview. The summary is optional, but it is preferred as it is convenient for other people. If you must share the data from the interview, a summary is the most convenient way to do so.

2. Is recording the interview better or summarizing it?

Both methods are efficient, and it just depends on what purpose they serve. Summaries are more comprehensible and less time taking as compared to recordings. So if you have to communicate the interview to many people, the summary is ideal.

3. Do you need the expertise to summarize interviews?

No, you do not need expertise in the work to summarize an interview. You must take care of a few preparations before the interview, and you can follow the above steps to summarize an interview.

How to Summarize an Interview?

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