How to jazz up interviews for your employee magazine

The standard profile has become substandard—lacking in pizzazz and brimming with run-of-the-mill Q&A exchanges. Try these innovative approaches to rekindle staffers’ interest.

It’s said that there are three rules to success in business: Know your people, know your people, and know your people

A great way to help that happen is through your internal magazine. Employee interviews in internal publications can be engaging and fun, and they can help colleagues connect in an easy-going, lighthearted way.

A well-considered employee presence delivered with a personal touch helps to create a powerful sense of belonging and ownership: It’s “our magazine” representing “our people.”

It’s important to keep the content of this feel-good platform fresh and relevant, so readers come back for more. There are lots of quirky ways to go about introducing your associates to the rest of the organization by injecting energy into your employee interviews:

Take inspiration from “Meet the team” Web pages.

Creative organizations are always coming up with fresh and engaging ways to present their people to the public. There’s a lot we can learn from this, swiping cheeky ideas to transfer to our internal environment.

The websites to look out for are the ones that focus on people, rather than abstract company information or dull product detail. Peruse your favorite funky companies to see how they do it.

Some of the best ideas we’ve spotted include heaps of humor, creative imagery, cartoon portraits, random facts, yearbook presentation styles, “skills scales,” personal stats cards and superpower capabilities. All these approaches work well for printed publications, as well as for digital channels, where you can use different formats like video and animation.

Download the free white paper, “Creating a Consistent Message,” to discover how to keep your organization’s message and voice on track across all your internal communications platforms.

Here are some examples of nifty team pages to get your creative thoughts flowing:

The Wow Co.



Digital Marmalade

Revamp your questions.

If your employee magazine has been around a while, it might be time to refresh it.

Think about how your questions set the tone for you employee interviews. More lighthearted options can help employees to “open up.”

Here are 20 of our current favorites:

  • What gets you out of bed in the morning?
  • How would you describe your day job to a child?
  • What is your biggest achievement to date—either personal or professional?
  • What does a typical day look like for you, and what are you currently working on?
  • What three words would you use to describe your role?
  • If you could switch jobs with someone, who would it be?
  • What is on your wish list for your next five years here?
  • What are your biggest professional challenges?
  • If you could choose anyone, whom would you pick as your mentor?
  • If you could change one thing about working here, what would it be?
  • What do you like most about your job?
  • What advice would you give to recent hires?
  • What’s your most memorable face-palm moment?
  • When was the last time you laughed so hard you cried?
  • What is your motto or personal mantra?
  • What’s your favorite blog?
  • What’s the most recent app you’ve downloaded but have yet to use?
  • Given a chance, who would you like to be for a day?
  • What’s your favorite line from a film?
  • What is your guilty pleasure?

Repackage the feature.

Another way to freshen up an interview feature is to give it a new identity. Internal magazine features don’t have to be dry, corporate content.

Rather than conducting a humdrum Q&A session, get creative with the format. We’ve come across some really strong internal magazines in which the employee interview always hits the spot in the popularity stakes. These include:

  • One Minute With…
  • Stuck in the Elevator
  • Q&A by the Coffee Machine
  • Spotlight On…
  • Lunch Break Roulette
  • Center Stage
  • An Audience With…
  • On the Grapevine

Ask employees to interview each other.

If interviewing doesn’t come naturally to you or if it’s just time for a fresh approach—there is another way.

Readers have a unique relationship with each other, understanding the right questions to ask while also knowing what people want to read about. Employees understand the priorities, the subjects that they’re all talking about, and the juicy stuff that gets all the hits.

Cutting out the middleman can uncover this detail faster and produce a purer, more sincere result. You can set a few parameters or guidelines, but really you want to hand over the reins and encourage some creativity.

Ask employees simply to record it and send you an audio file-that way you’re not waiting for a finished product that’ll never come. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the raw, unadulterated dialogue.

What’s next?

Take a good look at how you’re presenting your employee interviews. Could you be a little more creative? A spot more stimulating?

Ask employees what they’d like to see, have fun with new ideas, and introduce your people in appealing ways. People love to see a familiar face, “one of them.”

A fresh new look to your employee interviews will certainly pique readers’ interest and could end up being your best-loved feature.

A version of this article originally appeared on the Alive With Ideas blog.

COMMENT Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive the latest articles from directly in your inbox.