I’m not exactly an expert, but I have learned a fair amount about interviewing in the last two weeks. It might amaze you how many mistakes one can make when one has only conducted three interviews. Yes. Only three. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but if one learns from mistakes, then I’m about to be the interview expert… In order to save time I will just go ahead and list out how to do a good blog interview by reviewing my mistakes. And yes, I actually did
some all of these things:
Mispronounce the Persons Name
Ugh. You can imagine how embarrassing it is to meet with a Vice President of an organization and not have taken the time to find out how to pronounce his name. He was very nice about it but I felt silly and unprepared.
Forget to Send the Questions
Really? The manager of the store had to call ME four days later to ask why she had not received the questions I told her I would send? Face. Palm. That’s what I get for not putting it on the calendar that I keep just for blog stuff.
Turn Off the Recorder Way Too Soon
I have asked each person if I could record the interview for the sake of accuracy, and so far everyone has agreed. So, near the end of the first interview, I asked my last question and got the answer. So I turned the recording thingy off on my iPod and packed my stuff up. The conversation continued and the person I am interviewing starts giving me great info about his organization – but do I have any of that on tape? Of course not… As you can imagine, I now leave the recorder going the entire time so I don’t miss anything.
Don’t Prepare Any Followup Questions
For my first interview, I had a fairly extensive list of questions and I was also quite nervous. I did not know to prepare any followup questions in order to be able to more fully engage in the conversation. So here I was, very nervous, and only able to say “That’s great, my next question is….”. Great, just great… The good news is that I was able to immediately learn from this last mistake. When I went to the second interview I did prepare followup questions. This really helped me and I felt so much better about my interaction in that interview. It would have been amazing if I had just pronounced his name right… Thankfully, and perhaps surprisingly, all three of the interviews have gone very well overall. I do want to be polished and professional when I interview people for this blog as a way of showing respect for them and their time. Everyone makes mistakes but my goal is to learn from my mistakes and improve. Hopefully this will help you not to make these same errors, although you probably would have thought of these things in the first place!
In the coming weeks I will be sharing what I have learned in these interviews. And hopefully – won’t have any other mistakes to report as I continue to do research and interview people who can help teens make the most of their life and money. Have you ever conducted an interview? What did you learn and what would you do differently?