Can Interviewing Be a Career?

Can Interviewing Be a Career?

I did my first “official” interview as a senior in high school. Backstage just before the curtain went up, I interviewed Dave Brubeck for my high school radio show.

I had no idea at the time, but interviewing would turn out to be a major part of the work I would do from that day to this. I decided to count up all the interviews I’ve done – those I had records of and / or could remember. Spanning school, business, family retirement. I came up with around 200, that I could remember. I’m sure there are more. Some were as short as 3-5 minutes, some as long as 60 to 90 minutes.

1) BHS / Berkeley Highlights – Dave Brubeck (1957)

2) 1961 Hostility Study / (1962) cars Berkeley parking lots N = 20 people

3) 1973 Drag Racing Study / SF State (1973) Don Garlits (18 pro and 23 amateur drivers)

4) 1973 – 1977 PhD Dissertation / N = 25

Dissertation / N = 25


Earl Fatha Hines
Phil Lesh
Mose Allison
Cal Tjader
Todd Barkin
Vince Guaraldi
Eddie Harris
Jon Hendricks


Malcom Brown
John Enright
Richard Farson
Don Gold
Tim Keller
Dick Russell
John Wood
Bill Woodson
All Wasserman


Harriet Fier
Ralph Gleason
Leonard Schatzman
Steve Seidman
Joseph Solomon
Jim Tolman
John Wasserman

5) Corp: HP / Amdahl 1980 – 1985

Dave Packard

6) Powerspeaking / 1985 – 2015 N = 12

Cisco / London 2011

Fred Baker
Joe Clarke
Troy Sherman
ISA Video N = 7

7) 2001 – 2013 Speaking Up / PowerSpeaking N = 29

Greg Ballard
Ned Barnholt x2
Steve Blank x2
Robert Drolet
Dan Eilers x2
Anna Eschoo
Harold Fethe
Ginger Graham x2
Vern Kelley
Steve Kirsch
John Kispert
Bryan Lamkin
Mark Leslie
Mike Lyon
Audrey MacLean
Felicia Marcus
Corinne Nevinny
Brenda Rhodes x2
Rick Wallace
Dan Warmenhoven x2
Andy Billings
Brent Bloom
Julie Patel
Sharon Black

Randi Feigan
Todd Lutwak
Nikon CEO / RWC

8) 2015 – Present (Blog Interviews) N = 20

John Hutchison
Andy Nantz
Ken Blanchard
Michael Lesser
Bonnie McGarr
Tim Gathwaite
Jerry Sello
Jim Hunolt
Brenda Lee Wong
Doug Summers
Jordi Oliver
Robert Fish
Arnie Cornez
Dan Dulac
Erna Grasz
Ronney Richard
Keith Bloss
Yvonne Harris Burnley
Renee Carrillo
Robin McKeller
Josie Sadan
Ernest Walker
Wilderness on the trail N = 4

The McGlynns

San Miguel Writers Conference N = 7

Susan Page
I have a gift
Southern lady support for kids
I have to write
We have an inner life
Greek psychologist

Musicians N = 13

Nancy Gilliland
Katie Thiroux
Chris Brubeck
Taylor Eigsti
Terry Garthwaite
Anton Schwartz
Joaquin Gallegos
Mike Bressler
Ann Powell
Sam Chan
Michael Joplin
Jeff Hamilton
Jon Hendricks

McGlynns N = 23

Mary McGlynn
Kathleen McGlynn
John McGlynn
Bill Scanlon
Christine Sequin
Tim McGlynn
Tad McGlynn
John McGlynn (father)
Anna Marie McGlynn
Molly Schafer
Shar McGlynn
John McGlynn
Colleen McGlynn
Mark McGlynn
Bob Schauf
Joe McGlynn
Caitlin Scanlon
Tam McGlynn
Jane Ostenso
Maureen McGlynn
Eileen McGlynn
Luke McGlynn

Renee and Liz

Iron Workers

Sharing Our Stories N = 33

Carl Johnson
Anne Sallie
Brad Webb
Mary Warren
Winston Copeland
Anna Eschoo
Jim Keeffe
Jane Hunter
Alex Fish
Annie Laurie Gaylor
Dan Baker
Josie Garthwaite Sadan
Gitta Carnochan
Brooklyn Bennally
Renee Carillo
Dennis Stern
Sarah Cameron Sunde
Gloria Steinem
Daniel Ellsberg
Don Garlits
Dan Diaz
Katy Munger
Terry Lyngso
Viv / Laura Duering (12 interviews)

Dave Stewart (8 interviews)
Renee Matingly
Liz Williamson
Adele Sheely
Jehova Witness

Iron Workers

Larry Lippert
Jose Hernandez
Tim Horrisburger
Johnny Kooker

So, what makes a good interview? In a nutshell: 

  • Mentors
  • High points
  • Low points
  • Turning points
  • Legacy

My work as a therapist with a Rogerian (client-centered) approach, has been invaluable for interviewing. Active listening responses (i.e. “So that must have been a hard time in your life.”) builds trust. The person opens up and gives a rich interview with strong emotion. Always memorable.

Anne Sallie

Sharing Our Stories

14 thoughts on “Can Interviewing Be a Career?

  1. Ian Griffin says:

    Wow! An amazing list that certainly started on a high note with Dave Brubeck back in ’57 and then his son Chris. Impressed to see names such as Dave Packard, members of the Grateful Dead, Gloria Steinem, and Daniel Ellsberg. My own podcast interviews started back in 2007 with members of the National Speakers Association on my Professionally Speaking Blog. I made a habit of carrying my digital recorder everywhere and was able to interview JFK speechwriter Ted Sorensen and Sci-Fi author Bruce Sterling when the opportunities arose. Since retiring I’ve been focused on the global kombucha industry and have over 100+ interviews with kombucha company owners I meet on my travels and call on the phone. It’s a great way for people to be able to share their stories!

  2. Michael Joyce says:

    Well, done, Rick! Leaves me wondering what the High Point low points of your interview experiences have been?

  3. Melinda says:

    The list of your interviewees is truly impressive. And it’s been inspirational to observe you over the years so easily engage these people – so many you’ve never even seen before and some of them even celebrities – and how you so smoothly draw them out, making it comfortable for them to be revealing with you.

    Also I very much like the interview template you’ve presented:
    1) Mentors (lets them talk about someone other than themselves at first);
    2) High Points (easy to recall and uplifting – a good way to encourage them to say more);
    3) Low Points (now that they are warmed up, they may feel more comfortable being vulnerable, and getting closer to truth-telling); 4) Legacy (here they get to talk about Meaning, and reconnect with their Why – so they and you end on a high note).

    See what you did there?? You’re such a natural.

    I’m encouraged to try this out for myself, following your model. Going to the Blues Fest in Port Townsend at the end of July, singing in the gospel choir. Ought to be plenty of interesting accomplish people there …

  4. Susan Page says:

    So interesting to collect all these interviews together. Wow, It has given you a rich life and enriched the lives of both those you have interviewed and those of us who have heard the interviews. It’s a major contribution!

  5. Sue Neville says:

    Such interesting people and conversations you’ve had. I wonder what Taylor Eigsti had to say. His music is amazing!

  6. Azile Bennett says:

    wow your combination of excellent listening and warm friendliness made for your successful interviewing —- but knowing you from our BHS zoom- curiosity played a large part as well. You rock !

  7. Suzanne Quentin says:

    You are a legacy in your own right dear Rick! I wish you could interview yourself, to add to this impressive list! Congratulations on this lifetime body of work.

  8. John hutchison says:

    Yes I’m in England at the British Formula one race at Silverstone. I met 2 young people, a lovely young lady 21 years old. Comparing the changes in Formula One fans over the last 10 years. I was trying to coach her on how the person being interviewed will be getting a lot out of the interview if you ask the right challenging questions. I talked a lot about my mentor Former SF State TA Rick Gilbert. Then she sort of disappeared. We talked for two hours then the next two days it was a polite hello. Who figures. Miss you a lot Rick.

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