How not to start an interview

I remember my editor once unveiling his disdain for the conduct of interviews that start with the question, “Can we meet you?” According to him, apart from being jejune and parochial, the expression could be considered demeaning by some people, especially people who believe they are too popular to be asked such a question.

Well, a friend of mine who works for another newspaper company learnt this the hard way when he decided to start an interview with a notable lawyer with the question: “Can we meet you?” He even decided to add the words “please” and “sir”, so as to add more colour to the interview. Thus “Can we please meet you sir?” was his starting point.

Well, that proved to be the end of the interview as the legal practitioner was said to have flared up, suggesting that, since the interviewer didn’t know who he was, there was no point for the interview in the first place. The lawyer also suggested that my friend should “google” his name to get his profile on the Internet.

All entrities made by my friend to the man, suggesting that he just asked the question as a mere formality, fell on deaf ears. “Come back for another rescheduled interview after you know who I am” was the stiff reply that met my friend’s entreaties. Soon he was left alone in the lawyer’s waiting room, where splattered all over the wall were the pictures of the lawyer at different stages of his life.

My friend’s day of tracking a ‘big catch’ and hours of waiting on the appointment day had just gone down the drain. My friend who had been dreaming of having a full page interview with a celebrated lawyer was left wondering where he got it all wrong. As he trudged away from the lawyer’s residence, it suddenly dawned on him, how not to start an interview, especially with a prominent personality.