Everything Is Really Just a Conversation
“Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your business?” I asked. “Sure!” he responded.
If you thought I was writing about when I was first interviewed by someone, you thought wrong.
On a hot, June morning, I interviewed Jesse Leadbetter, Founder of Freshlist. I was writing an article for StartCharlotte; our interview was the first part of that process.
This is the story – and the key lessons – about when I ventured to the other side – as interviewer.
IT’S OKAY TO DRINK A KOMBUCHA WITH THEM – AS LONG AS THEY OFFER IT.
Before we started the interview, he asked, “Would you like a kombucha?” I graciously accepted. He returned with a couple different bottles of Lenny Boy kombuchas.
Food and drink unites people. It helps the interview environment feel more chill. So, be proactive about it – before the interview, call, text, or email, asking them if you can bring their favorite drink with you. It’s a small cost that makes a big, first impression – and sets up the interview environment well.
If you’re relaxed, warm, and inviting, your interviewee will feel comfortable speaking to you. Their responses will be real, not fake (something every interviewer wants.) Keep a healthy balance between presenting yourself as relaxed and professional.
GO WITH THE FLOW.
“You already hit some of my questions without me even asking them,” I exclaimed. In talking through his company and the company’s story, Leadbetter naturally answered some of my questions without my prompting.
It’s important to be cool with whatever comes your way and adjust the conversation when needed. Be ready to ask strategic questions in order to spark a more in-depth exchange.
KEEP THE CONVERSATION GOING.
Even though it’s awkward, sometimes there will be silence. It’s your job to fill that. Ask another question that’s easier for them to answer or share one of your own experiences to get them talking again. Drive the conversation in the right direction.
THE MORE HONEST YOU ARE, THE MORE HONEST THEY’LL BE.
They respect someone who is real and willing to answer questions like they would with anyone else. You’ll be able to tell their real story. That makes your job easier and makes the story more authentic.
An interview is not always easy and that goes for both sides. However, the ultimate lesson I learned: everything is really just a conversation. If you set up an interview like that, you’re bound to get good results.