Executive Interviews
VanAmburg Group Executive Interview Process
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Individual interviews, whether conducted in person, by phone, or via the web, are one of the most valuable information gathering tools.
Whether speaking with executives within your organization for direction and insight, or interviewing key decision makers and influencers in your marketplace, executive interviews can provide phenomenal return on investment.


Interviewing decision makers is a commonsense art, not rocket science. Begin with the obvious, define who can provide you with the most valuable answers, who has the practical experience and who can illustrate (or paint) the big picture view you need.

Understand in advance what you need to ask, develop an elevator pitch to explain the purpose of your interview request in 30 seconds, and include it in written communications. Determine why external interviewees will want to help you:

  • Will you need to offer compensation?
  • Will they want access to your aggregate results? Can you share this information?
  • Are they likely to enjoy being treated as the expert?
  • Will they be open to acting as an ongoing resource?


Treat every step of the interviewing process as an opportunity to build lasting relationships with good people, and always look to help them, not just to achieve your project goals.

  • Stay organized. Create and manage your database from the beginning. Always communicate to avoid any misunderstandings.
  • Be professional, but personal. Always deliver promised information on time.
  • Meet the gatekeeper. Assistants, secretaries, or others working with decision making executives are there because he/she trusts them. As every good sales person knows, they hold both the keys to the kingdom, and are repositories of great knowledge.
  • Set expectations. Ask for a specific amount of time. Explain the purpose of the meeting, the reason for requesting this executive's insights, and the value to him or her for sharing their time. Offer aggregate results feedback, if appropriate.
  • Have a conversation. While following your outline, keep the interview conversational, rather than reading a list of stilted questions.
  • Make it iterative. Use your interview responses to modify and enhance your questions in subsequent interviews.
  • Communicate. One of the most impressive things you can do is send a handwritten thank you note, both to each executive and to his/her gatekeeper.
Research Secret: Everyone talks about networking, but how many people have the opportunity to meet with and learn in depth about decision makers? The executive interview process is a golden opportunity. Treating each person you meet with respect and sincerity can generate life-long business relationships.


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Copyright VanAmburg Group, Inc.
Updated November 4, 2008
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