If you’re reading a blog post about corporate video interview questions, you’re finally making that long-sought corporate video for your company. Congratulations! It has the potential to be inspiring, authentic, and effective. You’ll have an infinitely repeatable way to introduce prospects to your company and its amazing leadership.
Maybe most miraculously, you’ve scheduled a sit-down interview with your CEO or some other busy person, and you’ll be the one asking the questions. But the interview time is rapidly approaching, and you have no idea what you’re going to ask!
Don’t worry. Use (your own versions of) the questions here, and your interview will be productive and fun.
5 Powerful Corporate Video Interview Questions
Interview Question #1
How did your style of thinking lead you to [company name]?
People may or may not enjoy talking about companies, but if one thing is certain, it’s that most people love talking about themselves. When you need an explanation for what the company does, tie your question into the interviewee’s personal journey. You’ll get the information you need, and they’ll have a blast answering it.
Protip Ask questions they'll enjoy answering. Most executives have a sense of pride in their company and its mission. Play to that pride by setting them up to explain it in a way that they're proud of. Instead of interrogating them about what the the company does, show them that you yourself are stoked on the company, and that you want to hear about it from the source. I even use this in social situations. All my friends have particular viewpoints and philosophies they love describing, so when we're in groups, I ask them about it in front of everyone. It enlivens the conversation and makes them feel amazing.
Interview Question #2
I love the concept of [company slogan or tagline]! It seems like you’re making a big difference in the lives of [client category]. Why is that important?
Business leaders devote a lot of time to their company and its goals. Unless they’re sociopaths, they need it to feed into their sense of purpose in life. They need it to be important. So make it important. Make yourself an interested party. Prove you care. If your interviewee believes you care, she’ll feel comfortable sharing her enthusiasm with you.
Protip Use open-ended questions. Yes/no questions and questions that have a limited number of possible responses will not engage your interviewee in natural conversation. They'll lead to awkward moments during which both of you start to secretly question whether this video was a good idea. Questions that start with: Is... Are... Can... Will... Which... How many... How much... are likely to stall the interview. Such questions probe for raw information while stifling emotional engagement. Yes, your interviewee may voluntarily elaborate and go beyond simple one-word answers, but why count on that? Make it easy on her, and try questions that start with: Why... How do you feel about... Tell me about... While you're planning your corporate video interview questions, you can make things easier on yourself later by avoiding closed-ended questions.
Interview Question #3
What’s personally satisfying about the work you do here?
This question will prompt the interviewee to paraphrase what the company is achieving in the world (which you’ll definitely want in the editing room), but is easy and fun to answer because it’s a personal question. The information you get will be presented with enthusiasm, rather than feeling like a rote recitation of the company propaganda.
Protip Don't make your interviewee jog her memory. The job interview classic, "Tell me about a time you overcame a challenge." comes to mind here. Job applicants may have a prepared response to such a question, but most people will have to do some deep digging to come up with something, and deep digging with cameras rolling can lead to a flustered interviewee and awkward footage. This is a corporate video interview question; not a job interview question. Keep it easy.
Interview Question #4
What would you say to a prospect who loves you but is on the fence about working with [company]?
If your interviewee has the sense that the interview is too focused on her and not enough on the company, she’ll find this question extremely satisfying because it will appease her urge to get a sales pitch into the video. At the same time, she will have to visualize a conversation with a real or hypothetical sales prospect who likes her, so her answer will feel more authentic and personal than it would if you simply asked “Why is [company] the best?”
Protip Start with small talk. Like all great conversations, corporate video interviews benefit from a little warm-up. Presumably, you're shooting with digital cameras, so you don't need to worry about wasting film. Make small talk before you get to work. It's important to note, though, that this strategy works best after you've started rolling the cameras. Otherwise, a busy executive may perceive it as a disregard for their time.
Interview Question #5
On your [website/social feed/marketing email/white paper], you emphasize that you [selling point]. How does that contrast with the way your competitors do it?
This questions allows your interviewee to comfortably communicate a company talking point while adding in her own narrative about the competition. More importantly, because you did your homework, she’ll perceive you as a supportive audience and her performance won’t be tainted by visible fear over whether or not she’s landing her point.
Protip Ask informed questions. While it may feel intuitive to play the role of someone being introduced to the company for the first time (as a viewer of the video might be), this practice stilts conversational flow and puts undue burden on the interviewee to explain everything. Instead, embed bits of flattering knowledge into your questions. This way, your interviewee will speak to you like a peer instead of an interrogator. If the company has testimonials or case studies on its website, those are a great source of flattering knowledge. I love Carlos Avila from ExampleTech's quote on your website, [quote]. Why do you think [company] is able to make someone so happy?
Remember, corporate video interview questions are just conversation starters. While you plan your questions (and you should plan them), just think about what will prompt your interviewee to speak as much and as freely as possible. Let her deliver the company talking points, but encourage her to expand on them and relate them to her own experience.