I am not a journalist or a reporter, and yet I conduct interviews on a regular basis. With no major experience you might be wondering why I choose to spend some of my time interviewing other people.
We believe that the interviews that we conduct are mutually beneficial.
In a business world that is always looking out for the interests of #1, we wanted to do something that would be beneficial to both parties involved.
Whenever we conduct an interview it provides an opportunity to build a relationship and broaden networks. We get to engage with a fellow colleague and simply ask questions about their company, their work, their history, and their future.
This mentality all goes back to my experience conducting informational interviews. While I was in College at Bethel University in St. Paul, MN we were encouraged to connect with professionals within our field of study to simply sit down and ask them questions. We were not inquiring about any particular position that was open within the company, we were not really asking for anything at all. We were simply engaging with them and learning from what they had to say.This is the way that I approach interviews today.
How to start interviewing – First you will need to have a place to post your interview after you have conducted it. We utilize our blog on the MDWebPro website as the place to post our interview, but you can use things like your newsroom, or social media profiles to post it as well.
Next, you will need to compile a general list of questions to ask. I typically use the same types of questions in each interview, but then taylor them to the situation because when conducting an interview you need to know how to communicate on your feet. Plus awkward pauses are not enjoyable for anyone. Here is a list of good questions to start with:
- Tell me about the history of your company.
- What is your role within your company?
- How did you get to where you are?
- What are the characteristics that make your company unique?
- What would you consider to be the “pillars” of your company?
- Where do you see your company going in the future?
- How many employees make up your company?
Like I said, these questions can and should be adjusted to be specific for the person that you are interviewing.
Where to start interviewing – In an ideal situation, you will want to interview someone who has influence within their field, experience to speak from, and a place to post the interview. The reason for the third point is so that they can show off that they have been interviewed and so that your company will gain exposure to their network. But even if you can’t find an ideal situation, it is important to be forward thinking. Find interactions that are mutually beneficial, and then fire away with questions.
What we do with the interview content – Once you have conducted the interview, it will take some time to create the article that you will post. Here are a few helpful tips to transforming your notes into a helpful interview article:
- Record your conversation – The conversations move fast and you don’t want to have to pause just to take detailed notes. Find a way to record your conversation so that you can listen back to it. I conduct most of our interviews over the phone and I’ve found an app that records phone conversations and so that has worked well.
- Don’t be afraid to manage the content – Most people don’t talk in a way that is grammatically correct and so if you are to simply write down everything that is said in the interview you may end up with a messy looking article. Use your writing ability to translate what is said into the strongest message. This is why recording the conversation is so helpful because you don’t have to worry about losing information.
- Send the content back – After you have come up with your final draft, send it back to the person that you have interviewed. This is a great way to make sure that you didn’t misinterpret any information, and it gives you a chance to follow up. And tell the person that you are going to send it back to them to proof before you post it. They will most likely appreciate it.