How to Conduct a Kick A** Interview
All right, it’s time to prep for a big interview you are conducting. Rather than asking the same standard (and dare I say boring) questions, here are a few tips for creating interview questions that bypass the mundane and get down to the nitty-gritty.
Do Your Research
With the focus of the interview in mind, research what the person does in and out of work. Not only should you know that they are the CEO of a cereal company but a quick social media search could lead you to the fact that they are an amateur hot dog eating champion. This may not seem important at first but during an interview, personal questions can relax them and possibly lead to the bigger and unexpected “WHY”.
Look at Past Interviews
The farmer who found a dinosaur fossil on his land has already done 20+ interviews. So what makes yours different? Watch past interviews and make a list of the questions being asked over and over again — then steer clear of those! You want to have a unique interview, not a carbon copy of someone else’s. Take a look at recurring topics and compile your list of distinct questions.
Follow Their Passion
Our most important tip is to have your interview questions* outlined, but be ready to ditch them. Yes, you read that right. Often by following where the interview is going naturally, you get some of the most authentic and captivating answers. Ask follow-up questions based on their responses rather than trying to stick to a strict script.
*Note: It is important to have your list of crucial questions in hand in case you forget.
Find Their Emotion
When it comes to interviews, raw emotions, no matter what they are, can help authenticate and amplify the message behind a story. For instance, if you are asking a car accident survivor about the tragic accident they were in 15 years ago, time may have softened their emotional response to questions such as, “How did you feel that day?” Instead, to draw on the raw emotion, consider asking questions like, “How has this changed how you talk to your children about distracted driving?”
Intentional Awkward Pause
Everyone hates silence, but don’t be afraid of it. Pause for 3-5 seconds every time they finish their answer. The beauty of this I.A.P. (intentional awkward pause) is you can really listen to them while they are talking, because you know there will be a few seconds in the end for you to collect your thoughts and plan your next question. Chances are, they will think of something else they want to say and just keep talking.
No matter who you are interviewing, your final question should always be, “What is something no one has ever asked you in an interview that you want to talk about?” Be it a CEO or a survivor, chances are there is something about their story they have never been asked. This might be their perfect opportunity to tell you something they have never shared.