Questions For An In-Depth Interview


 Christopher Ebbe, Ph.D.    6-15

 ABSTRACT:  Interview questions are presented that could be used to show the interviewee as a complex, interesting person with depth.

KEY WORDS:  interview, personality, personhood, soul


“Please don’t feel any pressure to perform in answering these questions.  The purpose of them is to give you (and perhaps others) a glimpse of what it is like to be you.  Take time to consider your answers if you want, and just say “pass” if you want to skip one.  Any questions before we start? “

(A selection of questions would be used, and it might be well for some interviewees to have the questions in advance.)

1. What would you say are your three characteristics that stand out the most to others?

2. What are your three characteristics that you like best about yourself?

3. What are the three things that you value most in other people?

4. How many people know the real you?  Who are they?

5. As you look at yourself, what is the real you?

6. What percent of the day do you get to be the real you?

7. How do you decide how much of your real self to show to other people?

8. Is there any sort of interaction going on all day inside you between the real you and the you that you present to most of the world?

9. Is your self-esteem (how you feel about yourself) good or fair or poor?  What seems to determine how you feel about yourself?

10. How secure do you feel in life, on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being “very secure”?  What are you insecure about?

11. What do you understand to be the point of being here (the reason human beings are here), if there is one?

12. What do you see as your purpose in life?

13. What is the most wonderful thing about life?

14. What is the worst or most troublesome thing about life?

15. What are you most committed to in life?

16. What are your four or five most important values?

17. How many people do you know who share those values?  Who are they?

18. Are there several people whom you know really well (well enough, for instance, that you know how and why they will react to most topics of conversation, and well enough that you can accurately choose gifts for that person based on that person’s likes and dislikes)?  Does this include your significant other?

19. How important is honesty to you?  Where do you find it most difficult to be honest?

20. How important is being responsible to you?  When do you find it most difficult to be responsible?

21. How do you feel when you see that others are feeling the same things as you or struggling with the same problems as you?

22. Can anyone really completely know anyone else?  How do you feel about that?

23. Are your days filled mostly with fear and caution, with good feelings, with satisfaction, or with something else?

24. What aspect of your life causes you the most concern and stress?

25. What aspect of your life gives you the most pleasure and satisfaction?

26. Do you prefer to compete with others or be close with others?

27. Do you believe that you get the most out of life by looking for ways to be better than others and get more than others, or do you believe that you get the most out of life by cooperating with others and seeking closeness with others?

28. How seriously do you try to evaluate the long-term effects of your choices before you take action?  Can you give us an example?

29. How important do you think it is to consider how your choices will affect other people before you take action?  Can you give us an example?

30. How do you react to people who are different from you?  (different race, different culture, different social standing and income, different education)

31. Are you curious about all of your thoughts and feelings?  Do you think every day about why you are the way you are?  What are some of determinative factors that you have found?

32. What do you have the most difficulty holding back from doing, when you know that it would be best for you to hold back?

33. Do you have some secrets that only you know about yourself?  There’s no pressure to do this, but do you want to share anything about those with us?

34. What are you most disappointed about in life?  What has been the most disappointing thing that has occurred in your life?

35. Are you worried about what happens after death?  Does that affect how you live?