Interview Tips From a Journalist: How Research Can Help

by Jack Parodi 11/03/2020

Before writing your first article, shooting your first video, or recording your first radio show, there’s one thing all journalists are instructed to master beforehand: Interviewing.

It’s impossible to expect your subject to open up and give you the stories that help you get to know them without first doing your due diligence.

The same could be said for recruiting. While you’re not necessarily looking for stories from job seekers, you’re still trying to get more out of them than the nuts and bolts that can be the monotony of a resume. You want to make sure that candidate fits not only the job description, but also the company’s culture.

Here’s a couple tips on how to improve your interviewing skills as a recruiter from someone who’s been in journalism for the better part of a decade:

Know the job front, back, and side-to-side

Just as journalists do plenty of research on the topic before producing a story, recruiters have to do research on the job they’re hiring for.

While you’re probably fairly well-versed in the industry you recruit for, let’s face it: You can’t possibly know everything. There’s bound to be a vast variety of jobs within that industry that you don’t know well.

Research the position, its qualifications and, if applicable, the programs and certifications required. It’s important to do so in order to see how different candidates’ skill sets can be transferable and make them suitable for the role or company.

Dive deep into their work history

It’s simple: The more you know about someone, the more you can tailor your questions and get down to what you really want to know. It all begins with looking at who their previous employers were, analyzing their job responsibilities, and taking a peek at what that company has accomplished while the candidate was there.

From there, you can reference certain campaigns, projects, and initiatives they may have been involved with. It allows you to bring up specifics rather than vaguely going over their qualifications. Pulling stories from their work history will enhance the interview experience tenfold for both parties.

Make a quick connection

You can typically tell how an interview will go within the first few minutes based on the subject’s temperament. If they’re outgoing and personable, you’re off to the races. But if they’re anxious or shy, you may have to work a little harder to make them feel comfortable

Search through their resume, LinkedIn, and other resources to find some common ground between you two. If you can talk about that commonality from the start, not only will you feel more comfortable yourself, but the candidate will ease up as well.

If there are no commonalities, doing something as simple as looking at the volunteering section of their profile or bringing up something about their hometown or university can foster trust and comfortability.

Having that positive, easy-going vibe to begin the interview opens up both sides and makes it feel more like a conversation rather than a question and answer-based interaction — which, let’s be honest, can be very intimidating.

Before concluding, open it up to them

One of the most helpful interview tips I received during my time as a journalist was to always end an interview by thanking the subject for their time and asking if there’s anything we didn’t touch on that they’d like to. It opens up the floor to them and oftentimes is the best part of the interview because they’re now in charge of what will be discussed.

The same goes for interviewing a candidate. There could be a few things the interviewee wanted to touch on that you didn’t get to yet. There could be questions they have about the company, other qualifications they have for the position, etc.

By simply asking them at the end if they have any questions or if there’s something they’d like to touch on, you can see just how prepared they are and possibly unearth some newfound qualifications and traits they possess.

Addison Group recruiters are always prepared

Here at Addison Group, we make sure our recruiters know their candidates and job opportunities to the best of their ability. We’re not just pushing them to interview as many people as possible like finding a job is a numbers game. Quality over quantity, always. That’s the Addison way.If you’re looking for a job or looking to get a job filled, Addison Group can help. Get in touch with us here.

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