Interview Lessons from Marc Pachter

Information is a highly prized commodity. You need this in order to make informed decisions in your work. The concept is simple enough to understand, however acquiring premium information is not as easy as it seems. In some circumstances the most valuable information can come from the most complex sources possible – people.

If you are faced with this prospect, you need to master the art of interviewing people in order to get the information which you need. As such, you will need some useful advice and lessons from an expert on interviewing - like Marc Pachter.

The Art of Interviewing People

Marc Pachter has interviewed a lot of different and important personalities over the years. So you can only imagine the challenges that he faced in trying to find ways to get the information that he needed from these people.

Every person is different from one another. What could move and touch one person could have no effect on another. So you cannot just follow a single method in interviewing people. You need to develop complex and adaptable schemes, like Pachter did in order to deal with the different personalities of people.

  • The most crucial thing to have in an interview is empathy

Pachter was an expert in empathizing with other people. He is able to do this because he pays attention to the person he is interviewing. This doesn’t just mean listening to every word being said. He also takes into account a person’s background and vital information that could help him review that person’s situation.

If you are doing job interviews for example, you usually refer to CVs and resumes being submitted to get a brief background of the person you are interviewing. This isn’t just to know the other person’s qualifications, it also lets you understand and know the other person more.

Being emphatic gives you an insight on how to move and touch others. This is highly useful in interviews because you will be able to steer the conversation to a subject that you want to broach on. In turn, you will be able to obtain the information that you need.

  • Tap into what drives other people

Pachter often refers to this drive or energy as the life force and how he is always drawn to it. He interviewed a lot of people who were in their senior years so you may probably think that they were weak and frail. However, he describes the vitality in each one of them and how he was able to tamper and harness that energy to create more meaningful and lively interviews.

The same way, you can get other people to talk more and thus giving you all that you need when you are able to tap into the what they are truly passionate about. By getting them to talk about their passion or linking it to your actual question at hand, you can have more data available because they were able to share more.  

  • Try to get others to feel proud of their achievements or works

Modesty is a wonderful trait. But in interviews, it is a mood killer. Pachter has said often enough that the worse interviews he ever made were with modest people. They never lived up to their actual achievements and would shrug them off as accidents or lucky encounters. Instead of getting interesting stories and anecdotes, all he got were modest answers.

You will encounter a lot of humble and modest people at work. They rarely acknowledge that they are doing something of great importance. So you would end up getting close-ended answers which would result to very little obtained information.  

You have to get others to feel proud of their achievements. It is not being pompous to acknowledge them but a tribute to hard work and dedication to the work at hand. If you are able to translate this to the other person, you may be able to get him or her to open up more.

  • Do not steal the limelight

In interviews, you aren’t the star of the show, you are the audience. You want the other person to do all the important talking and shine through. You may be unconsciously stealing the spotlight and so not really putting emphasis on the person being interviewed.

When Pachter interviewed other people, he tried to make sure that he never upstaged them. It can be equated to a conversation with a friend. The reason why you your friends can open up and tell you several things is because they feel that you are listening to what they are saying. They don’t feel that you just want to talk to them so that you can do all the important talking.

If you are able to do this, you could do very little talking and act as a sponge to all the information that is being shared in your conversation or interview.

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Learning interview skills is not just something that you can use to literally interview someone. In your work, you can use these skills to learn about crucial information and data, which you need from certain key people. The interview lessons from Marc Pachter can be put to good use at work when seeking out data, which in many ways can help you excel in the workplace.


Sourced Image: Marc Pachter