Wednesday, May 16, 2012

My favorite interview question

I have done more than one hundred interviews over the past five years. [You can find a bunch of them here.] My idol is Terry Gross, and I modeled my style on hers. I try to be prepared, curious, and to listen carefully to what my subject is saying.

I have found that there is one question that has led to more interesting and insightful responses than any other question by far. It is this:

"Is there anything else you'd like to tell me?"

You can't ask this question straightaway; for me it comes last. But as long as the earlier questions have resonated, this last one is almost sure to draw out some great thinking.

I was interviewing the customer of an e- commerce client once, and wrapped up a 30-minute interview with this question. He paused a few moments to think, & then spent the next 45 minutes laying out a number of concerns he had with the client's systems. At the end of his answer, he said, "Thanks for asking."

If you ever need to interview a colleague, customer or family member, don't forget to ask this question.

[And, if you have a mistake story or two to share, and you'd like to experience my interviewing style first-hand, email us at mistakebank (at) caddellinsightgroup (dot) com.]

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