David Marchese knows a lot of celebrities. He’s spent time with Quincy Jones, Isabella Rossellini, Bono, and dozens more. But what's interesting is that they reveal to him parts of their lives they otherwise keep hidden. Why?
Is he their agent? No.
Their accountant? Nope.
Their therapist? Not quite.
David Marchese is a journalist. An interviewer.
If you read a David Marchese interview you’ll notice it has a unique feel. He asks unusual questions, pushes back on responses, and references incredibly specific details of his subjects’ lives.
His style isn’t for everyone, but his skills most certainly are.
Interviewing is a skill set, and a deeply underrated one at that.
Inside it are skills like question design. Empathy. Decision making (press hard or sit back?). Patience.
Perhaps the most interesting skill relates to self-control - overcoming our desperate desire to be liked.
When Marchese interviewed Lou Reed, the two of them did not get along. Reed was insulting, aggressive and took issue with a lot of the questions. Marchese thought the interview was a disaster. But the final piece turned out very well. Reflecting on the experience, he said:
“I think it's a natural human desire to want to feel that a person liked you after you’ve had a conversation with them, but in terms of what an interviewer is supposed to be doing, that's not always the goal. It's important to keep that in mind.”
All of which gets me wondering - when the skill set is so rich and valuable, why do so few of us get good opportunities to learn interviewing skills?
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