Interview Tips Vol. 2

This is my second installment of interview tips. My goal is to continue the series moving forward with pointers and advice.

Be Annoying

I know this is a bit direct, but it’ll help your interview skills moving forward.

Sometimes sources aren’t going to want to answer all of your questions. Obviously, some stories will be easier to get sources to talk then others, but it’s not always going to be a cinch.

You have to be persistent. You have to make sure the source knows you aren’t going to go away without an answer. I have no problem leaving a couple messages on someone’s office phone for several days. It’s the way I am.

That may sound a bit crazy, but how else are they going to get the message that I want an answer. Why should I beat around the bush when I know that, if I don’t press them, they may not answer.

Getting annoying early in your relationship with a source lets them get to know you a bit better. When a tough story comes your way, they will already understand how you act and how persistent, or yielding you are.

Always keep trying, though.

Step Back a Bit

When you get to know sources, after talking to them dozens of times, you start to get a rapport with them.

So, when you do call them, it’s not always about the information you are looking for. Obviously, that’s your main goal, but you have to think outside the box for this one.

Take yesterday for example. I called a finance director and started off with how town hall was. I didn’t call to get information at town hall, but I immediately got my source talking, freely, about how the long weekend (Columbus Day) was both a blessing and a curse because now their Tuesday is, essentially, a Monday. We talked about town hall for a bit and, while she was talking, I got several ideas to follow-up on. No, they aren’t stories yet, but they have potential.

After that, I got into my interview and went about the rest of my morning.

That’s all it takes. Yes, get the information that you called for, but throw out some basic conversation starters to see what comes back. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. It’s all a game.

Taking that step back will help you get comfortable talking to sources and get the sources comfortable talking to you, as well.

Until next time.



One Response to Interview Tips Vol. 2

  1. Pingback: Interview Tips Vol. 3 « Just Starting Out

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