Interviewing skills…

Inside the Actor’s Studio, the periodic television show, is often predictable, with host James Lipton almost fawning over his guests, tossing them softball questions and heaping much flattery upon them. However, there is one segment near the end of each show that often provides more insights into the guest than the most of the show preceding it.

And, it is from the segment that I think we all can take a lesson on how to become a more effective interviewer. The goal of an interview is to draw out a subject and have them reveal new and interesting things about themselves.

Then it is up to the interviewer to actually listen, understand and comprehend what the subject is saying and use that info to lead them into questions areas they might now have thought of previously.

The list of questions Lipton asks are adapted from a French series (“Bouillon de Culture” hosted by Bernard Pivot) and is known as the Pivot Questionnaire.

Here are the questions:

What is your favorite word?
What is your least favorite word?
What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
What turns you off?
What is your favorite curse word?
What sound or noise do you love?
What sound or noise do you hate?
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
What profession would you not like to do?
If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?


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