Interview Assignment

The goal of this assignment is to gain more insight about the food industry through interviewing someone who works directly in the industry. Your questions should revolve around: 1) short-term and long-term changes and trends they see in supply chain and among consumers, 2) what are the greatest challenges / opportunities they see for their company and sector, 3) what are characteristics and necessary skills for successful employees at their organization.

Submission - be sure to separate sections. Also separate each takeaway and your reaction.

  1. Name and title of the individual you interviewed.
  2. Company/organization and its sector in the food system the individual works for.
  3. Why? Briefly explain why you were interested in interviewing this individual.
  4. When and how you conducted the interview. Date, time, if it was conducted via Zoom, FaceTime, phone, etc.
  5. Three interview questions you prepared specific to your interviewee’s role. It is important to keep the questions open-ended (i.e. requires more than just a yes or no response) in order to get valuable information.
  6. Four takeaways about the food industry and working in the food industry you gained from the interview. Focus the takeaways on what the interviewee said (not your reactions to it). For each takeaway, discuss why you think it is an important takeaway.
  7. Paper should be a minimum of 3 full single spaced pages/ 1 inch margins/ no skipped lines/ 12 point font/ Times New Roman.

Who to interview: You can interview anyone who works within the food system for this assignment, but be aware that you are expected to receive quality responses. For example, entry-level, new hirers, and some frontline workers may not be able to provide the level of insight you want for this assignment.

Interview Assignment

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How do you find a contact? Use your networking skills. You might already have these people lined up, otherwise it will be your job to find and reach out to new contacts. Leverage the alumni network, the Academy of Food Marketing, FMA and class speakers, and do not forget about LinkedIn. Do not delay in seeking out and setting up your interview. You have busy schedules and so do your contacts. You want to make sure you can schedule a conversation in time for the due date.

Who not to interview: SJU instructors and close family members are not acceptable for this assignment. The purpose is to gain insight through your expanded network as well as to develop that network

Interview Requirements, Guidelines, and Tips

  • It is your job to gain depth from your interviewee and probe for more insight. This means asking for more explanation or asking follow up questions when they give you short answers.
  • The interview should be done in person, over video chat, or on the phone. It should not be conducted via email—this does not provide the depth we are seeking.
  • Prepare your interviewee by letting them know you will be asking a few questions and their opinions about the food industry.
  • Recording can be helpful. Be sure to ask permission beforehand and let them know the recording is only to help you personally. It will not be made available to anyone else.
  • Don’t assume any answers. Avoid completing sentences or skipping over a question because you think you know the answer. This is usually harder the closer you are to the interviewee. If your interviewee says something like “you know what I mean,” ask them politely to expand, such as “I believe I might, but I would like to get your perspective on things.”
  • Be impartial as much as possible. Be careful about comments and body language. Avoid giving personal opinions, comments or interjections during the interview. Remember, this interview is ABOUT THEM NOT YOU.
  • Practice active listening, change the wording of the follow-up questions, create your own questions, and ask probing questions based on your participant’s responses. Remember, you are seeking insight. Continue to pursue the “why?”

Grade Criteria

  • Demonstrated critical thinking in choosing takeaways and discussing their importance. 

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