August 6, 2018 Yscouts

How Alan Alda Helps Me Be a Better Interviewer

This article by Tasha Hock, Leadership Search Director at Y Scouts, will explore how to be a better interviewer.

Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE podcasts.  Well produced, informative and thought-provoking, podcasts have so much to teach us.

Recently, Alan Alda launched Clear+Vivid, a podcast about conversations, connecting, and communicating. He’s had great conversations with Judge Judy, Renee Fleming, Kate Bowler and Itzhak Perlman. The first episode, with Sarah Silverman, is heart-warming and mind-blowing. Working from a place of compassion, Sarah was able to take what had the potential to erupt into toxicity, into a genuine, authentic dialogue and action that enriched lives beyond the two involved in the conversation. She did this by really relating to the other person.

And that brings us to interviewing.

When interviewing is done well, we have the opportunity to engage deeply with people, learning about what’s most important to them, and connecting them with possibilities.  Our “covert” approach at Y Scouts, puts into practice our prioritization of purpose, mission, and values, allowing our candidates to be considered for roles in organizations that align with what is most important to them. Excellent listening, being fascinated by people, and caring genuinely that they and our clients are successful is at the heart of the Y Scouts interview process.

Alec Baldwin’s “Here’s the Thing” podcast also gives insight into becoming a better interviewer. Unlike Alan Alda’s gift for deep listening and connection, Alec Baldwin consistently overshadows and interrupts his guests, which is disappointing. Guests like Janice Min, Jeffrey Toobin, and Paul Simon have so much to share, but they are interrupted by Baldwin, who dominates the conversation. These interruptions keep us from learning from the guests, their voices eclipsed by Baldwin.

Your candidates have important things to communicate, too. Podcasts, like interviews, need to provide airtime for the guest/candidate and the host/interviewer need to facilitate that. Be like Alan, and learn from him and his guests. Your candidate interactions will be more rewarding, and you’ll be better able to connect them to opportunities that matter to them.

Tasha Hock loves connecting people and organizations to work that matters. As a Leadership Search Director at Y Scouts, Tasha leads the Finance, Accounting, Legal, Operations, Non-profit and Social Impact practices. Gifs are one of her love languages.


Y Scouts is a purpose-aligned, performance-proven leadership search and development firm focused on transforming how people and organizations connect to work that matters. When you’re ready to hire a new leader, Contact Y Scouts. If you are looking for your next leadership role within a purpose-driven, performance-focused organization, please join the Y Scouts Leadership Community.