Interviewing Skills for Content Creators: 10 Huge Mistakes to Avoid

1. Don’t be afraid to ask for the big interviews.

You sell yourself short when you assume people won’t want to speak with you especially if you are just starting out. You’d be surprised. When I first started, I had to work hard to put the awkwardness of approaching strangers aside.

2. Don’t be late.

I know this one sounds like something your mom would say but I cannot express how much it will damage your interview.

3. Don’t show up unprepared.

I’m back to sounding like your mom again but do your homework. Don’t assume anything and fact-check everything. You likely don’t know as much as you thought you knew about your interviewee.

4. Don’t have a thoughtless robotic response.

This is nails on a chalkboard my friends, nails on a chalkboard.

5. Don’t break eye contact.

This goes along with the above don’t. I’m not saying stare creepily at your subject without blinking and risk a restraining order.

6. Don’t talk about yourself.

I think it’s a good thing to be relatable and find some common ground with your subject.

7. Don’t be a dolt.

In one of my favorite books on interviewing, Talk to Me by Dean Nelson, he writes about a particular cringe-worthy interview.

8. Don’t panic.

Sometimes things go poorly no matter what you do. If you are prepared and you’ve done your homework, finished all your spinach at dinner, showed up on time, asked great questions and the interview still goes off the rails, don’t panic.

9. Don’t forget it’s NOT about you.

I learned a valuable lesson from one of my previous work colleagues. She is a profound empath which plays well in interviews. We were on-site for an interview with a high-level official. I was producing it and had a film crew with me and she was going to ask the questions.

10. Don’t forget it IS about you.

But then again, you also have a job to do. You obviously are conducting an interview to get something out of it. Sometimes we can forget our own needs and agenda and we swing too far into making it all about them.

Just to wrap it all up in a tidy package. Here’s the rundown.

  • Always make an attempt to ask for the interview you really want.
  • Show up on time and be prepared.
  • Practice getting rid of your automatic responses. And “umm’s” while you’re at it.
  • Make eye contact and really listen to what they are saying.
  • Don’t talk about yourself too much.
  • And please, don’t be that guy. Don’t be a dolt.
  • Never panic if it’s not going well and do your best. A lot can be fixed in editing.
  • Make the interview about them but include your own interest in a humble way.

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Donlyn Turnbull

Donlyn Turnbull

Dearly beloved. We are gathered here today to write about this thing called life. (Life transformation writer.)