Some of you know I’m a huge Katie Couric fan, and have mentioned her in a couple of my posts. If I could have dinner with anyone – dead or alive – it would be Katie.
Today I took 3 of my girlfriends to the taping of her new talk show. (You can too. Since the show debuted in September, they’ll give you free tickets if you ask.)
I think Katie is an exceptional interviewer: Relatable, authentic, in the moment, sincerely curious. She’ll live a story as her guest is recounting it, leaving behind the scripted questions and responding to cues to empathize or probe deeper. She’ll make it look easy.
Of course, doing a great interview isn’t easy. It’s a bit more involved than having a conversation, or even building rapport with someone. You actually have to come away with a story, which means you have to research and prepare questions in advance, then make sure that you get complete, on-topic responses.
This may sound hokey, but Katie is a role model for me because I see our jobs as similar. We interview people for a living. Katie does it for network TV and I do it for companies looking to hire. We have to imagine the story, pitch and headlines, then make sure we capture and recount them in a riveting way.
When I identify a lead for a search project, I have to make contact and gain their trust in an instant. Then I need to qualify them, understand their motivations, gauge their integrity and finally, pitch them the job. From there, I work up a bio for my employer client and provide details to add dimension to their resume.
My clients want to know what they’re like? How’s their energy? Will they fit in with our organization? There’s so much more to recruiting than matching people to jobs.
It was an incredible treat to see Katie in action – watching her respond to guests and gently guide conversations if they strayed off topic. I wanted to take notes. Oh, that’s how she does it. And she’s no different off-camera: Humble, petite in stature but with a playful and engaging energy. In short, she lived up to all my expectations and gave me more reason to look forward to my interviews this week.
The only thing missing was getting a chance to turn the tables and interview her: How did you overcome the sadness of losing your husband so early in his life? How did you pick yourself up and keep going after people were so critical of you on the evening news? Why was it important for you to do this show and what themes do you hope to get across?
Beware if we’re due to talk this week. I’m feeling a little bit more rabidly curious than usual!
Check out Katie’s website