Tips for a successful interview

Whether you are participating in a live television or radio interview or in an interview with a newspaper reporter, there are several tips to consider to ensure a successful interview.

Before the interview

  • Confirm the interview time, date and place by letter or telephone.
  • Provide the interviewer with a short personal biography or curriculum vitae and offer additional print materials, such as fact sheets and brochures. Include a phone number, if appropriate, for information about your screening program.
  • Ask if the interviewer wants to talk to any additional medical experts or skin cancer patients.
  • Do your homework. Prepare for the interview by reviewing and knowing all the updated facts and figures about skin cancer.
  • Arrive 15 minutes early to familiarize yourself with the setting and then relax.

During the interview

  • Know the key points you want to get across and state them early during the interview. Repeat the key points at least twice during the interview so the reporter knows you think this information is important. For example, key points you might want to get across in an interview on melanoma are:
    • Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer and the incidence is on the rise.
    • If melanoma is detected early, it can be cured.  There are medical and surgical treatments available. 
    • When examining your skin, if you notice a change in a mole or a new mole, see your dermatologist right away.
    • Information, including date and time, on your free screening.
  • Speak in short, concise sentences.
  • Relax and speak naturally.
  • Use lay terms and avoid technical language and medical jargon.
  • Use examples, stories and anecdotes when possible to dramatize your message.
  • Anticipate questions that will come up during the interview and be prepared to use those questions as launching pads for your key points.

Some special considerations for television interviews include:

  • If possible, avoid sitting between two interviewers to prevent the disadvantage of constantly turning to answer questions.
  • Answer the interviewer directly. Do not talk into the camera unless directed to do so.
  • Lean slightly forward in your chair. This posture makes you appear interested. Sitting with legs crossed is the most comfortable and natural position for most people.
  • Check your clothes to make sure they do not appear wrinkled or rumpled when you are sitting. Unbutton your suit jacket when you sit.
  • Use natural hand gestures.
  • Offer slides and graphs if appropriate. If available, use horizontal slides rather than vertical ones.
  • Television lights can make a white shirt or blouse flare. Off-white, beige or pastels are preferred.
  • Avoid busy patterns, such as herringbones. They tend to “dance” under television lights.
  • Wear calf-length socks with trousers to prevent skin showing between the sock top and trouser cuff.
  • Keep jewelry, especially dangling earrings and flashy rings and watches, to a minimum.