What are SME Interviews?
There’s a reason why so many skin care products use the words “dermatologist recommended.”
We give weight to the words of experts. Consumers give more attention to opinions that hold authority. This is true whether you’re selling airplanes or aloe vera lotion.
A subject matter expert (SME) is an individual with in-depth knowledge of a particular process. He or she may also be an expert in a specific technology, function, material, the operation of a machine or type of equipment. SMEs develop their expertise after a great deal of immersion in their field. Such knowledge takes a long time to grow.
Many SMEs pursue advanced degrees in their area of specialization. They may maintain a rigorous program of continuous study. Some may publish articles and books on their areas of expertise, while others work as educators in colleges and universities. This further work and study help ensure the SME stays up-to-date in his or her area of expertise.
Experts can exist in all functions and disciplines. However, it is most common to find SMEs in the technical fields. You will see them in software development and information technology. SMEs are also in customer support, marketing, and all other areas in a business.
Becoming an SME takes much time and intense study and research. Thus, many career professionals prefer to remain generalists. They draw upon the right SMEs at the right time to navigate one-off and difficult challenges.
Subject matter experts can offer critical insights into their field. One of the best ways to gather these insights is through an interview. The interview helps you to discover what an updated or new system has to do to meet the business need. Interviewing subject matter experts is part science, part art.
What Insights Can You Get From SME Interviews?
Many professionals receive cross-training in their particular functions. However, some situations call for specialized knowledge:
- Engineers and architects will call upon SMEs when considering new design approaches. They also use SMEs to assess building technologies
- Project teams hire SMEs when they cannot solve a particular problem
- Information technology pros will use them for insights into integrating new software applications. They also hire them to fix glitches or bugs discovered during testing.
- Innovators striving to apply new advancements or technologies will often draw upon SMEs. The SMEs help them solve technical or business challenges.
- Expert witnesses in the legal industry call SMEs to testify in court cases. They are especially useful for liability lawsuits.
Some SMEs are “thought leaders.” They anticipate emerging trends and their perspectives are often controversial. Thought leaders exist within the workplace, or you may know of them in your industry. There is also the rising star thought leader. Many people in your region may know of his or her reputation. The industry rock stars are the names you can recognize on a national level. Finally, there are global superstars. Their reputation and visibility have developed beyond their niche and industry.
SMEs provide valuable insight because they have an in-depth understanding of their respective fields. They can discuss the duties and responsibilities of a job because they know the skill, knowledge, and ability requirements. There’s no substitute for SME insight.
We Conduct Subject Matter Expert Interviews
The most valuable SMEs sell new business. Top performing companies are embracing them as the new rainmakers. We can help your brand leverage this type of expertise by conducting your SME interviews. This method is more time-consuming than other data-gathering techniques. However, we have the personnel and the knowledge to tie it together for you. We can gather detailed, insightful information that can help your brand take off.