Interview Preparation

Thank you

First, thank you for considering or agreeing to be a guest on a CSIA video interview or podcast. These interviews are posted and broadcast throughout the automation industry and are a valuable tool for elevating you, your company and CSIA. It can be a little unnerving to be the subject of an interview. No worries. We’ll hold your hand through the whole process and help you look like the industry authority that you are.

Let’s get started . . .

Scheduling

I use Hubspot Meeting for scheduling our interviews. Choose an available time slot and complete the form. If none of the suggested days/times is convenient for you, feel free to suggest a time that will work with your schedule. Try to schedule  one to two weeks or more so I have some advance notice.

I am in the U.S. Central Time Zone, (Madison, WI/Chicago, IL) and will make accommodations for guests who are international. Let's also schedule a brief pre-interview to fix any tech issues and make certain you are set for our main appointment and to answer your questions.

Currently, the interview opportunity is offered only to companies that have a Gold Profile upgrade on the Industrial Automation Exchange.

Video 

I conduct the interviews via Zoom Conferencing or in person if we can manage it. See below for audio requirements.

Audio

To produce a high-quality show, I record the direct audio and video using Zoom. I will send a URL to you ahead of the interview.

For microphones, I recommend the following in preferred order:

Do not use:

  • Bluetooth Headphone
  • USB Speakerphone
  • The built-in microphone in your laptop

Internet

Please connect via a wired connection.

Interview Questions

The audio and video is a “live version” of the questions asked in the Featured Interviews that are posted to the Exchange. The Featured Interview looks like this. While you will be completing these questions in writing separate from the live interview, please do not read from them during this time. Remember, we are just having a conversation. To give you an idea of how the live interview will go, listen to the podcast.

While this is a conversation, you will do most of the talking. I won’t read from a list of questions, but I will have some notes. I’ll ask open-ended questions. Do your best to be detailed and elaborate as much as possible. I might ask you, How did you do that? Why did that happen? This is not a super personal Barbara Walters-type interview, but I will ask you where you grew up, where you went to school, what you wanted to be when you grew up, etc.

You may want to create a bulleted list of things you want the audience to know so you can work them into the interview, but don't sweat it; just roll with it and have fun! Let me know if there is anything you want me to ask you to lead the conversation that way

Preparation

  1. Determine the best hardware to use. 
  2. Laptop or desktop with built-in or external camera
  3. Headphones
  4. Microphone

Select the proper location for the interview. The ideal location is a small secluded room in which you can shut out distractions (and noises), control the lighting, and display a generic background. Large unfurnished conference rooms are not great because of echo.

Ideally, you’ll want to have some diffused lighting so as not to create shadows or glare. You should also be positioned in such a way that you can be seen on camera from about the waist up — not just your face. Try to position yourself so you are front lit, not back lit, or else you will be seen as a silhouette. Try not to have a bright window behind you.

Day of the Web/Video Interview

Test all the technology. Test your connection. Test your camera. Test your lighting. Test your sound. Test the video program.

  1. Restart your computer the day of or just before your interview time, especially if you normally do not restart.
  2. Go under. Remember to turn off all apps, programs and windows notifications that might interrupt the interview. Go to your interview location and shut out all distractions.
  3. Be sure to put your phone on airplane mode, close your email programs and Facebook, Skype any anything running in your system tray that will pop a notification. Put the dog and the kids in the other room, etc.
  4. Hang a note on your door indicating you are recording.
  5. Remember your nonverbals. Make solid eye contact and smile at appropriate times. Have good posture and even lean in a bit. Use hand gestures to make your point.
  6. Look directly into the camera. You might be tempted to look at the monitor or yourself, but focus on making eye contact via the camera.
  7. Set up your laptop or camera so that it's eye level. An ideal angle includes your head and shoulders; a view of your ceiling is not ideal. :)
  8. Have a conversation. Speak in a conversational voice. Relax. Grab a cup of coffee or water.
  9. Have notes if you need them. Unlike other interview situations, you can have some notes in front of you (off camera) to remind you of critical issues you want to highlight. But do NOT overuse them, or you will look odd on camera.
  10. Take a second. When responding to questions from the interviewer, take a second, and then respond in detail. Long-winded answers are welcome!

Next Steps

After the interview, I will edit the recording. While I am doing that, you should complete the Featured Interview form. I will post the text, audio or video on a page like this. Once the episode is released I will announce it via the CSIA Exchange and CSIA’s social media accounts. As per the scheduling form, you should submit all of your social media usernames and links. Then “like and follow” our social media accounts and we will reciprocate.

Once this is done, we can mention and tag you and your company If you can promote the episode within all of your social media accounts, Not only will it help us grow, it will help you get more listens and views! Here's how to promote your episode.

Read More Tips for Being a Great Podcast Guest

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