7 things we learned about interviews

palms, sky and a text

10 Minutes On A Mangotree has a non-traditional way of doing interviews. Our concept does not allow any preparation. All interviews are done spontaneously without any research beforehand. The reason behind this concept is, that we like to talk with people as effortlessly as possible. And we want to allow for magic to happen in those 10 minutes. However, the situation is an interview situation. During our work, we made some experiences that we’d like to share with you. These 7 things we learned about interviews are a guideline that can be applied to any sort of interview. As always, we wish you a good read and – Stay Mango!

1. It’s a top sport!

Our interviews are only 10 minutes long. But these 10 minutes can be intense. From the first second until the last one we listen. We concentrate. And that is a top sport. Our brain is easy to stimulate, means also that impulses from outside, whatever that might be, can attract our attention. Under the mangotree, we forget the surrounding and focus on our interview partner. This is the only way to formulate spontaneous questions that bring us interesting answers.

2. The key: Listening

Listen, listen, listen. And you might think: Ah that is easy! Well, try to listen to one person and count how many times your thoughts are taking the lead and go in another direction. There it happened. You missed a crucial information that leads to the perfect question. Or you were already busy with formulating the next question. Listening back to the interviews we had these given-away moments and thought: Why did we not listen?

marianna kitchen close up

3. Be brave

You have a question, that is on the tip of your tongue but you think it might be too personal or not appropriate? Be brave and ask it! Sometimes it’s a matter of perspective. What is personal? You see? Everybody has a different perception of it. And if your interview partner does not feel comfortable with answering, he can always say no. You can’t, unfortunately, go back to that moment and ask the question, you did not ask. So don’t miss the moment and don’t hesitate to ask what pops up in your mind. It might be THE crucial question.

4. Take the lead

You have a topic you talk about? Then you should try to relate to it as often as possible. If your topic is the meaning of mango farming and your interview partner talks about how much he loves his dog you might get nervous or annoyed. Give it a try. Perhaps there is something in the story that has to do with your topic. Perhaps it gives you an interesting insight. You never know. If there is nothing you can take out of it and your time is limited, cut it. Interrupt your interview partner in a friendly way and go back to your topic. To take the lead is a combination of letting go, giving freedom and on the other hand being strict, giving limitation.

Man on a boat

5. Be open

An interview consists always of two or more people. Means: it’s not a monologue! Yes, you want your interview-partner to talk. That is why you are sitting there to ask questions. But an interview is also a dialogue, a ping-pong game. If you tell something about yourself, your interview partners will also be more likely to tell something about themselves. If you are not willing to open up, neither will the other one. By creating a space where openness and honesty are the bases, you increase the chance for interviewees to follow you.

6. Everything is absolutely normal

No matter how comfortable the situation was before the 10 minutes of our interviews start, there’s always a bit of stress involved for everyone involved once the clock starts ticking. „I hope I don’t sound stupid“ or „Maybe the way I think about this is absolutely weird“. If we, as interviewers,  don’t manage to just be, take in and understand the natural flow of the interview without judgment, it will most likely not turn out great. Feeling judged and misunderstood is a real killer for open interviews.

7. Editing interviews is tricky

Once the interview is finished and the photos are shot, the editing process starts. Easier said than done. Obviously, there are rules to the process. We don’t change the order of sentences within an answer and we don’t write down things that our interviewees never actually said. But what if an answer seems redundant because it’s almost the same as the one given before? Do we cut it? Yes, sometimes we do. Why? Because as we said, there is a product at the end of the interview and we are responsible for that to be clear, readable and logical within itself. At the end, editing always a compromise between keeping it real and publishing a good interview.

Quing writing