A game that helps design researchers practice their interviewing skills

with HPI dSchool

Primary Responsibilities

Activity design
Workshop conceptualization and facilitation


Designed a game that challenges players to improve their skills as interviewers by giving the interviewees 'role cards' to take on.


As part of the HPI d.Schools 'Experience Day,' students get to rotate through a variety of workshops to practice various skillsets in design thinking. I chose the 'Interviewing' skillset along with my co-coach, Caro Scheffler.

How it works

  • Participants are asked to write a short (~5min) interview guide on a given subject, framed as a cold approach field interview.
  • Participants are paired up. Interviewees receive (or pick) a Role Card from the deck. This card instructs them to act in a certain way — for example, to exhibit negative body language, to be distracted, or to leave awkward silences between answers. They are instructed not to let their Interviewer see their card, so that the role is a surprise each time.
  • The roles are common characteristics of challenging interview dynamics. This is intended to challenge the interviewer to keep the interview running smoothly.

We also developed Role Cards for interviewers, which were intended to show both interviewer and interviewee how interviewing style can drastically influence the tone, direction, and responses in an interview.

In testing, we found that the exercised worked best when only one side (interviewee or interviewer) took on a role — not both at the same time. When both participants are busy focusing on maintaining a character, neither are able to observe or learn from the exercise.


  • Students embraced the roles and had a lot of fun with them!
  • Interviewing can be a nerve wracking experience. This game created a safe container in which to practice before going out 'into the field.'
  • An additional effect was that it created empathy for interviewees. Being a good interviewer isn't just about getting the answers you're looking for — it's about connecting with the other person, making them feel comfortable, and making sure they want to be in the conversation, too.