Let’s get real for a moment.
There are A LOT of interview podcasts out there.
And many, MANY of them are less than stellar.
But it’s really not their fault.
And it’s not your fault either.
This is an unregulated industry that doesn’t exactly teach where and how to start.
But I want to help in the area of interviewing today. Because it doesn’t come naturally to everyone. We aren’t all natural Oprahs or Katie Courics.
And even they continue to refine their skill.
So here are three, simple keys to becoming a great interviewer.
Something I’ve experienced over and over again is:
This one may seem counter intuitive but listen. If you think asking an open-ended, broad question allows the interviewee to ‘take the conversation where they want to’ – you’re going to be sorely disappointed most of the time.
Think about it.
If someone asks you, ‘Tell me about yourself.’
You kind of…well..freeze right? Where to start? Where to end? What do they actually want to know?
Now, what if someone asked you:
“Tell me what you were doing RIGHT before you received that life-changing news?”
You remember EXACTLY where you were when you received that acceptance letter. When you got dumped. When you got that job.
I called this the “Dropping into a Moment” method.
Give the interviewee a place to jump off from with your question. This helps them to know what exactly you’re asking, and easily allows them to go into storytelling mode.
Interviewing can feel intimidating. I SO get that.
And sometimes people will overcompensate for that intimidation by qualifying or over-qualifying their question.
And then one question turns into 18 questions packed into one.
Let me give you an example:
Have you ever wanted to simply ask:
What feeling did that evoke for you?
And somehow it comes out:
What feeling did that evoke? I mean, it seems like it would be a really hard situation for you to get through. Especially since you were by yourself when it happened. I can imagine it would have taken a lot of courage to make that decision after moving across the country, having that conversation with your mom, and then finding that old letter you that you lost.
Just ask your question. You don’t need to ‘prove’ that it was a good question by following it up with unnecessary details.
Ask the question and then close those little lips, friend.
Every once and a while, you’ll have an interviewee who isn’t great at explaining the emotion that is going on behind the scenes.
They can ‘tell’ you about it, the emotion – but they aren’t really ‘going there.’
It’s the difference between saying:
‘It was a hard decision to make, but I did.’
‘My head was telling me no way, don’t do it. But my heart was telling me to go for it. I felt the weight of the decision and was so conflicted. It was as if I had to choose between two completely separate lives, but the time was ticking for me to make a decision.’
So, for those times when you’re having difficulty breaking through with the interviewee, simply ask:
‘And what did you make of that?’
It forces the interviewee to become more introspective and wrap emotion around what they are saying.
And those are the 3 keys to becoming a great interviewer.
Drop into a moment.
Don’t qualify your question.
Identify the tension point.
Remember these three things during your next interview and watch the conversation unwind in the most beautiful of directions.
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