Doing interviews the right way

In these past few quarters, I have interviewed over two dozen people for my Podcast.  Before starting the journey and deciding on the interview format, I learned interviewing techniques by listening to Cal Fussman, Tim Ferris, Krista Tippet, Jenny Blake, James Altucher, Tony Robbins and a few more.  There were many takeaways that I gathered from the lessons on “art of interviewing”.  “Being Present” with guests was the theme that played in all interviews.  What is “Being Present”?  It’s essentially listening to your guests and listening intently. 

How easy is it to get answers to socially controversial topics?  It’s easy if your approach is right.  I get to have people talk about their marriages, their families, and the challenges that they face.  I prepare but I also let my guests create a comfortable space for themselves so they can share openly.  Yes, there are many ways to interview but there definitely is a right way to interview if you want QUALITY. 

You may have your own questions that you prepare and that is excellent as to create foundation and format for an interview but the quality of an interview gets compromised when your focus is on you and your questions only and not the person you are speaking with. 

Here are a few points that will only help you and will not take anything away.  Though all are important, if you pick only 2 from the list, you will be able to do a pretty decent job in interviewing people and learning this skill:

1.      If you ask rehearsed questions don’t be surprised by rehearsed answers – Ask questions that you really want to know the answers to and not just what you think others would like you to ask.  You are going to be working with this person in some capacity so find out how the individual fits in the company and in your environment.

2.      You have heard; to deliver a great speech and to provide quality presentation, engage with your audience, try the same when you are selling your company to a prospective employee.

3.      Taking from #2, ask follow up questions which takes us back to really listening to your interviewee.

4.      Be prepared – you expect an interviewee to be prepared so deliver the same level of professionalism.

5.      Quality of your questions is important.  High quality questions will help you differentiate among the candidates based on their qualifications and experience.

6.      Really study a candidate’s resume before the interview.  You will be able to fulfill #5 by doing this.  Know that YOU are given a RESPONSIBILITY to hire the best for the company so do your job well just the way you expect others to do their jobs well. 

7.      Interviewing is an art and it requires practice.  Develop interviewing skills by learning from leaders in the field. 

I have tested most of the ideas on the above list and they have been profitable in my opinion.  In believe #7 requires more attention in our businesses.  In the corporate world, the thought process is - Because a person has a senior level title, that individual has interviewing skills and doesn’t need help.  This is where companies need to be careful as the interviewer is presenting the company to a potential employee.  A company may miss out on high level candidates because of the lack of interviewing skills of a hiring manager.  How many companies offer training on developing interviewing skills?  I believe that developing interviewing skills in individuals is undervalued but it is as important as developing public speaking skills. 

There’s more to be shared on this topic and I will continue to share with you.  Give the above list a chance.  For starters, just pick any two and really try those on and you will definitely experience the difference (for the better).