My male friend recently recounted a terrible first date story.
Within minutes of ordering drinks at dinner– the beautiful woman cut to the chase and said, ” Do you want kids? Because I want kids. And if you don’t–well, we should just end the date now because my clock is ticking.”
It occurred to me that a bad first date is a lot like a poorly conducted interview. You can’t just launch into a series of questions and expect to get good answers. You need to ease into certain questions and requests for information.
You see, interviewing people is an art form. Few people do it well. Watch any television news program or listen to any podcast and you’ll understand what I mean. The questions are often clumsy; they aren’t framed well. The interviewer doesn’t listen to his subject. He just recites a list of prepared questions. As a result, no real information is imparted.
1. Put your interviewee at ease by reviewing some basic questions that you’ll ask.
2. Think of your interview as a conversation. It’s not a series of rapid-fire questions. Rather it’s a way to get to know an interesting person.
3. Start out with a few easy questions to get your interviewee warmed up. Then ask your interesting or tough questions.
4. LISTEN. It’s so simple, but few people actually do this. Listen to what your interviewee is saying. I promise you that follow-up questions will jump out at you if you do.
5. Be courteous and professional. You will always catch more bees with honey than vinegar.
Lastly, you need to shift your thinking. Interviews are opportunities to learn… about people, places, ideas etc. As such, it doesn’t hurt to approach it as you would a first date: Be on your best behavior, listen intently to what someone is saying and try to be charming and courteous, even when the other person isn’t.