Overview – Interviews: third party
Third-party interviews are an in-depth conversation conducted between a senior leader and an interviewer from outside the organisation, e.g. a respected television or radio journalist or subject matter expert. The purpose of this tactic is to tackle difficult, sensitive or controversial issues in a forthright and transparent manner. Probing questions are asked by the interviewer to obtain information and insights from the person being interviewed.
Use of a respected, external interviewer lends credibility to the interview by ensuring that an investigative approach is taken to fully explore all aspects of an issue. The interview can be conducted live as part of the program for a conference or town hall meeting. Alternatively, it can be webcast, screened on digital signage or distributed via the intranet. An article about the interview can be published in the company magazine or newsletter.
This tactic is useful for:
✓ Addressing issues that are highly sensitive, complex, emotionally-charged, or are creating employee fear and/or uncertainty.
✓ Scotching rumours.
✓ Building credibility.
✓ Connecting the workplace to the marketplace.
✓ Raising the profile of a new leader.
Things to consider:
⇒ Establish the purpose of conducting a third-party interview. This will aid selection of a suitable interviewer. For example, choose a finance journalist for business-related Interviews; a current-affairs journalist to interview a new leader; or an ethics expert for governance-related interviews.
⇒ Select a communication tactic for delivering the interview. For example, conduct the interview at a conference, leaders forum, via television, webcast or DVD. This will determine when and where the interview is conducted.
⇒ Arrange for the interviewee and interviewer to meet beforehand to establish a rapport, discuss the purpose of the interview and agree on the interview structure, potential questions and timing.
Third-party interviews are effective when the interviewee is prepared to be forthright, authentic and honest in their responses. It will aggravate a sensitive situation if the interviewee tries to dodge answering tough questions, fabricates the truth, or gets hostile or defensive. Don’t go there!
Category: Face to Face