Back when nobody read this blog other then my mom and I, I used to interview people and got a pretty good response. I think it was because of my technique. Now I get a lot of interview requests… sometimes as many as 5 per day. Most come via the contact form and most I never respond to. Why? Well I like to do interviews but if they become “work” then most of the time I just ignore them. So I thought I would write a “how to do a interview” post.

The DO NOT list:

DO NOT email the person asking if you can interview them. This is a waste of time. Instead just send your questions.

DO NOT list all the other people you have interviewed and try to “con” the person into participating in your interview. I do not know why but this seems to have become a popular technique. Odds are people either 1) do not care or 2) do not like the other people you are interviewing.

DO NOT miss spell the persons name you are trying to interview.

DO NOT ask questions that can be easily answered by reading the persons about page. People put those pages up for a reason and its very annoying when people ask you those questions.

DO NOT expect the person will link to the article.


The DO list:

DO a VERY brief introduction on who you are, the context of the interview, and where the interview will be posted.

DO let the person know you have already collected some basic information on them and will post that prior to the questions in the interview.

DO a search for the person’s name you interviewing in Google like “Jeremy Schoemaker interview” and see what they have said in other interviews. Try not to ask the same questions others have asked.

DO try to ask something the person would be interested in. Ask about their latest project or something they are excited about. This also shows you are not just firing away the same email to as many people as possible.

DO ask controversial questions. Everyone has opinions and most of them will share them. Its quite possible you are giving the person a stage they have wanted on a issue they have wanted to share their opinion about. I respect people that ask hard hitting controversial questions. It also usually shows they have taken the time to know what makes me tick and what I am passionate about.

DO a follow up email with the URL and thank the person for their time.

So those are my tips for getting responses in interviews. Do you have any tips to add?

By Jeremy Schoemaker

Jeremy "ShoeMoney" Schoemaker is the founder & CEO of ShoeMoney Media Group, and to date has sold 6 companies and done over 10 million in affiliate revenue. In 2013 Jeremy released his #1 International Best selling Autobiography titled "Nothing's Changed But My Change" - The ShoeMoney Story. You can read more about Jeremy on his wikipedia page here.

61 thoughts on “How To Get That Interview”
  1. Great advice. I was also wondering if you have time of course, if I could interview you. I have already interviewed Seth Godin, Darren Rowse, and John Chow. I think we can both benefit from it.

    Thanks 😉

  2. I’m sure that this post is just for you. Most of the people think like you do, but you have to see how the person is. Other people love some of the things you hate 😛
    By the way, I think the same as you do 😛

  3. It is the simple things sometimes… Seems some of these things would almost be obvious.

  4. This is so true. You need to be courteous and acknowledgeable of people’s time constraints.

  5. I’m gonna go interview the man behind TAC and see what he has to say. I’m going to be first and be HUGE… LoL 🙂

  6. Hey Shoe, with all your coverage of Yahoo lately, I’m surprised you havent made a post about the Microsoft bid.

  7. re: controversial questions – in company profiles or dealing with people from the pr department, that doesn’t always work. nothing like a long interview of rhetoric responses to what are really usually pointed questions. beating around the bush usually works better for me in these situations, because it allows me to make the format very informal, and loosen’s them up.

  8. Great tips. Some of the DO NOT’s I would never even think about doing. Like misspelling their names. Haha.

  9. Adam I predicted it 2 years ago. Its old news 😉

    Also I hate echo’ing news you can read everywhere else. Its a blog not a news site !

  10. I’ve found that getting interviews was always much easier when first thought of the subjects motivations. Kind of starting off from the “How can I help them” question. No need to worry about how it can help me, that’s obvious. I’ve been able to strike up JV’s that way when it seemed like I had little to offer, but with enough thought and research you can always come up with a few things that would be beneficial to the other person. Just my little 2 cents.

  11. Do Not #1 reminds me of a clip in the movie “We are Marshall”. The president had written a letter requesting permission from the NCAA to play with an all Freshmen team. When the president tells the coach that the NCAA wouldn’t allow them to play all freshmen the dialog went something like this.
    Coach: Your married right?
    Pres: yeah
    Coach: I’m pretty sure you didn’t propose with a letter.

  12. That’s a good resource, I was thinking to interview a few people around the internet.

  13. So excellent advice there, Shoe. Especially the ‘obvious questions’ idea. many times the interviewee will go ahead and answer dumb ‘about page’ questions out of politeness and/or boredom but those of us who drop by to read the interview often know as much as you do about the interviewee and it gets _boring_ to read the same old ‘how did you get started blogging’ questions … be alive and you’ll get readers, be boring and Zzzzzzz

  14. Excellent tips. Some of the interviews I’ve read have been the same old predictable crap. If you have the opportunity to ask someone interesting a question – at least have the decency to ask them something interesting.

  15. Some would want to see examples of other interviews to see how they are presented. Also what photography they want to use as well as logos, etc..

  16. DO NOT miss spell the persons name

    LOL this is misspelled – I would misspell everything without spell check

  17. If you get 100 monkeys into one room and give them typewriters, they’ll eventually come up with a work of art, though most of their stuff will be crap.

    Congrats on not stepping in monkey poop Jeremy!

  18. Another tip: if you have enough money and you want that interview so much? Just pay him or give him a present, then they will let them interview you them, I think.:P

  19. Great advice for a new blogger such as myself. I’ve been thinking of “picking the brains” of some A-list bloggers in my area of interest so these do’s and don’t will come in handy.

  20. You know I was thinking of this. Wanted to do a survey too.. So very nice ideas for me. Anyhow I have this small community of Sri lankan bloggers. Its a syndication site. I know as a newbie I will never get a chance to interview big guys like you. But I feel the site you build give more information than a interview. We can extract from that. Anyhow very nice ideas. Wish I can interview you someday he he …

  21. […] How To Get That Interview Last month I wrote an article about the benefits of getting interviewed and interviewing others. This post by Shoemoney describes how to get that interview, including what to include and what not to do. If interviewing key players in the industry is part of your marketing strategy, be sure to read this post. […]

  22. Shoe , this post has came at the right time, i was about to interview india’s No. 1 Blogger for my site, i can now prepare the question more efficiently now.

  23. The tip about misspelling is great and actually true. I mean if you cannot even contact the person with his / her proper name, there no chance (s)he will reply back.

  24. The last 2 points can actually work together. A follow up email with a URL of the interview updates can get you the link you wanted!

  25. Very good post, but how does one get an interview with the Shoe, does he respond to emails? I bet your get thousands everyday.

    1. I think it is great. At our site we are planning interviews and the content above is really helpful. I think it is about undersnding key aspects of how the other side think and what they are expecting! so no unpleasent surprises

  26. Hi Shoe,

    I have to respectfully disagree with you on a few points here. When I reached out to the blogging community for interviews for my upcoming book “Interviews with the Pros: What does it take to create a Successful Blog?“, I got almost a 35% success ratio using some of your DO NOT items in your list (a very high ratio). I sent out the interview requests in seperate batches and I found that I got a better response rate once other people had already committed (which goes against your second DO NOT advice).

    Although I didn’t list the actual names in the intial emails, I included a link to a blog article that did. Many of the responses I got directly refered to that link. Some of the comments were along the lines of “If so and so has joined, then I’m in”, or “That’s awesome you got … to participate, I’m in.”. Of course having prominent bloggers was key!

    Another DO NOT you listed was to send an email asking to interview them, but rather to send the interview questions right away. I didn’t, I only sent a sample. Most prominent people have very limited time, so I wanted to keep the initial communication short. If the email was too long I suspected that most people wouldn’t even read it.

    As for your DO’s, I absolutely agree that you should start with a BRIEF introduction of who you are and why the person you want to interview might be interested to take the interview. If you don’t give them a what’s in it for me, then why should they be interested?

    As for your other DO’s, I have mixed feelings on some of them. It depends on the context. For example, for my book, my readers are interested in your core material, not necesarily your latest projects, etc. If I’m writing a blog article about blogging, then I absolutely agree. Again the questions should depend on the audience and the context.

    And as for your last DO, I couldn’t agree more. Follow-up after the interview. Thank them. If it’s an online interview let them know when it will be available online. Send them the link. Be thankful that they took the time out of their busy schedule to help you. For me personally, every person I interviewed for my book I will also personally ship them a hard copy as a thank you. Be appreciative of the people that helped you!

  27. Great suggestions. I’m new to conducting interviews and I have recently broken some of these “DON’Ts.” Now I see that a few of my actions were just plain stupid on my part. Thanks for the post!

  28. Great additions. Basically, give the individual as much information as possible in the initial interview.

  29. […] A few days after I mailed ShoeMoney the questions, he posted this How To Get That Interview. […]

  30. […] A few days after I mailed ShoeMoney the questions, he posted this How To Get That Interview. […]

  31. Thanks for sharing, tell me do you have some form of affiliate program i can join?

    Please let me know where to go to join.

  32. Hi, heard your radio spot, I need your help to promote my teeth whitening business in
    memphis tn, not a dentist ,but work with salons, I’d like to talk to you and see what we could do.

  33. […] with a feather when he agreed to give us this interview–I guess sometimes paying attention to what people say works […]

  34. […] You might find this insight from Jeremy Shoemaker fairly useful in answering your question: How To Get That Interview – ShoeMoney® Hope it helps, or gives some food for […]

  35. Awesome post – I will incorporate your strategies into my subsequent interviews!

  36. Don’t be generic in the questions so that it appears like a biography. Instead someone should better off asking questions around a specific topic such a recent event or a viral project going off or sth.

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