Be genuinely interested in people and their well-being. Ask about their family, occupation, their recreation and hobbies.  You find out their needs, strengths and goals that way. What do they like about it? don’t like? “Tell me more about that” doesn’t presuppose what the reply will be and you are more likely to receive an authentic response. Unwrap their skills and qualities. This picture you are painting of the interviewee helps to see how motivation has spurred the individual to goals and how motivation can further be harnessed.

Community-media.com starts off its page on the radio interview with: Know WHY you’re doing the interview. In other words, INTENT is crucial. This is sage advice. It focuses your efforts in the interview. The prospect is less likely to take over the interview and drive the process right into a train wreck. For media interviews, one considers hooking the listener. This holds for any preparatory interview. Consider  colleagues, clients and customers as the future listeners when you are interviewing someone for a position.

The same consideration holds for the prospective job. Do your homework. Understand the business environment and the challenges facing the organization with good probing questions and listening skills. What are the strengths and needs of the company? What attributes do you have that will appeal to them? Lead with where they are at. How can you add success to this person’s opportunity?

Listen. Develop a rapport. Consider the classic who, what, when, where, why and how questions to open up the person you are privileged to get to know. If you lead your questions with what you want, people shut down  for the message is loud and clear that their hopes, dreams, strengths, needs and wants don’t matter. For example, what is it about their occupation or ability that they like and don’t like? Empower this person: carefully chosen questions lead them to a greater understanding of the good seed within them that needs to be planted in the ground of life. You are merely the facilitator.

An interviewer’s greatest gift is to care about the wellbeing of the person being interviewed. It sets the tone and ultimately determines the success of the interview. If your opportunity does not fit with this particular person, who can you refer this person and respective gifts to? Determine to keep in touch. We are greater than the sum of our parts. We are greater than thinking in the short term. We are greater when not in isolation or segregation. Develop a network of contacts so they can refer you to others and vic versa.

Useful skills for business building are communication skills, problem solving, decision making, time-management, ability to follow instructions, organization and planning, leadership planning, research, coordination, communication, computer skills, conflict management, willingness to learn. People with technical or procedural knowledge are worth their weight in gold. Keep in touch with them. If you don’t have the skills, get someone on your team who does.

For example, a administrative assistant needs to be personable, detailed oriented, highly organized, with excellent computer, communication and written skills, ability to multi-task, manage time and prioritize effectively, take initiative, remain versatile and work independently. If that isn’t you, find someone who is! 

Search out the interviewee’s point of view and flesh it out. Personality, expert opinion, witness story, reaction to events are various foci that can be taken in an interview.  What is the person’s need, strength, goal? How can you help this person to reach these goals? to maximize those strengths? Their need can be their driving force to action you can capitalize on that can be traced back to your skillful questioning.

Surveys and questionnaires provide research material from which to start your questioning. “Tell me about…”, “Tell me more about that” is open ended which express your interest in the person and encourages their revealing the areas you can draw out with your communication skills.

Keep your questions short and tight to keep in control of the interview. Draw out the story, issue, subject. Don’t make the story your own personal issue with editorializing, debates and commentaries. You will derive a better view of the person and how you can mutually serve one another and the community. It also avoids inadvertently prompting questions from your prospect which could lead you down a tangent that is difficult to pull away from.

At the end of the interview a reply may need to be induced. An either-or question can finalize the interview to generate a position statement. Always thank the person and wish them God’s favour.

Janet Wiebe

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