How to Conduct Professional Interviews
Concerned about how to conduct professional interviews? Common sense prevails. No matter how close you might get with your interviewees, you should always maintain a high level of professionalism. Being professional will help ensure that the interview goes smoothly and you both feel like you’re getting the value you need out of the experience. Here are tips on how to conduct professional interviews I have found to be helpful.
Do everything you need to do in order to be fully prepared for the interview. Create a good outline with questions that you’ll ask the interviewee, and ask them to review the questions before the interview. Make sure that all of the technology you’re using works and do a quick run-through with the equipment. Rehearse your introduction and wrap-up so that it will be smooth during the actual interview. You cannot overdue this. The more homework you do about your Influencer and the topic, the more value your audience will gain from your interview. As important, the more likely your influencer will be much more likely to want to share the interview with their audiences and followers if you do this thoroughly and isn’t that one of the objectives?
Honor the Schedule
Set a date, time and venue for the interview, and be there on that date and time. Give the interviewee a clear idea of how long the interview will be; for example, an hour long. Whatever time you set, stick to it. If you go long on time, you could be wasting your influencer’s valuable time or interfering with their other commitments. No matter how many interviews you do over time, there is always something that needs to bebefore going live. I personally open the recorder, Skype, or Webcam platform 30 minutes prior to the scheduled start time. I also tell the influencer that I will be doing this. This time before is helpful not only to “check the tech” but also get into the conversational flow before the interview begins.
Know Your Interviewee
Research your interviewee so that you know as much about them as possible. Professional interviewers know their interview subjects very well. If you don’t, it could be insulting to your interviewee and a waste of time. Knowing your subject well helps you to ask the right questions and present the information that’s most important for your audience to know. If this sounds a bit like what you should be doing in preparation for a sales call, it should. An interview comes out best when the listener, viewer or reader senses the connection is real.
Look the Part
Take a moment to consider how you will dress and present yourself to your interviewee. Dress nicely and appropriately. Try to understand their expectations and meet them. Good grooming also helps to make you look more professional. If you are conducting the interview over a webcam, ensure your lighting and background scene represents both you and your Influencer well. A background with a messy bed or open closet door is usually not the message you want to convey for most interviews.
Spotlight on the Interviewee
Throughout the entire process, the spotlight should be solidly on the interviewee. Don’t make the interview about yourself or an unrelated topic. The sole focus should be on the expert and their knowledge and experience. This is the reason why your listeners are tuning in and it’s why the expert showed up for the interview.
Thank Sincerely and Often
Approach your interview subjects with a humble attitude and thank them often for taking the time and trouble. Remember that well-known experts are busy and besieged with offers just like yours. The fact that they’ve chosen you to interview them and cleared out a part of their schedule for you is a huge favor to you. Make sure that they understand how grateful you are.
All of this might sound intimidating when you’re just getting started doing interviews, but it will become second nature over time. Each time you conduct an interview, you’ll be less nervous and more natural. These tips are all really just common sense, and reflect how you would like to be treated when you become the influencer and others are interviewing you.
My next post in this series will address “6 Things That Can Totally Wreck Your Influencer Interview”.
If you have missed my earlier posts in this series you can review them here: