An interviewer was once giving a lecture on the art of the the Q&A. He shared question strategies, tips and techniques he had carefully collected over the years. The overarching advice he offered to the intently listening crowd was empathy. That’s it – that’s all it takes to be a good interviewer. Interviewers are there to be the brush that asks the questions resulting in a beautiful self-portrait. The moment you take off your shoes and try theirs on for size, you will know what questions to ask that will take the discussion straight to the heart of the matter. He then went on to stress that empathy is as essential in everyday life as it is to the professional interviewer. Most people are hoping for the opportunity to be truthful about who they are and how they became that way.
Right now you are asking yourself… “when was the last time I was empathetic?” But to answer that question you might first need a refresher course on what empathy is exactly. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines empathy as the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner – what a mouth full!
In other words, empathy is walking a mile in someone else’s shoes, experiencing the joys and sorrows of their life without actually having to live it. American actress Meryl Streep says this, “The great gift of human beings is that we have the power of empathy.” However, this gift is only enjoyable when used. (continue reading)