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  • Writer's pictureNatalie Robinson Bruner

Walking Interviews and Their Hidden Power

Two women walking and talking
Photo by LinkedIn Sales Navigator

They might just be the secret weapon to boost your leadership skills and make you a standout candidate. Based on the fascinating insights from a recent study in the European Management Journal, let's dive into the world of walking interviews and discover how they can transform your approach to leadership and career advancement.

The Walk and Talk Revolution

Walking interviews are a refreshing departure from the traditional sit-down interview or shadowing. This method involves the interviewer and interviewee walking together, often through spaces relevant to the interviewee's daily life or work. This dynamic approach offers several critical advantages:

  1. Co-Creation of Meaning: Walking side by side fosters a more egalitarian relationship. The interviewee feels less like they're being grilled and more like they're in a collaborative dialogue. This environment encourages the sharing of richer, more nuanced information.

  2. Power Reversal: The act of walking can help diminish the power imbalance between interviewer and interviewee. It’s harder to feel intimidated when you're both navigating the same path, literally and figuratively.

  3. Place as a Prompt: The physical environment can trigger memories and insights that might remain dormant in a sterile office setting. Walking through different spaces provides natural prompts that can elicit deeper reflections and more authentic responses.

  4. Sensory Experience: The multi-sensory nature of walking—seeing, hearing, feeling—can evoke emotions and insights that might not surface in a traditional interview setting. This can lead to a more holistic understanding of the interviewee’s experiences and perspectives.

  5. Emotional Insights: Moving through spaces can stimulate emotions tied to those environments, offering valuable insights into how people feel about their work and their workplace. This emotional layer is often missed in more static interview settings.

Inclusive Alternatives for Mobility Issues

It's crucial to recognize that walking interviews might not be suitable for everyone, especially those with mobility issues. Inclusivity is key, and there are excellent alternatives that can offer similar benefits:

  • Seated Movement Sessions: Conduct interviews or meetings in environments where participants can move slightly or shift positions, such as a large room with swivel chairs or a comfortable outdoor space with plenty of seating options.

  • Virtual Tours: Utilize video conferencing tools to take participants on a virtual tour of relevant spaces. This can be just as engaging and allows for visual and sensory experiences without physical movement.

  • Desk Walks: Create a route within a seated area where participants can guide the interviewer through different "stations" at their desk or workspace, explaining the significance of various items and areas.

  • Adaptive Technology: Use augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR) to create immersive experiences that simulate walking through spaces, offering a dynamic and engaging way to share insights and narratives.

  • Mini Interviews in Different Locations: Host short, focused interviews in various settings around your office or another relevant environment. By changing locations, you can still benefit from varied sensory experiences and environment-tied emotions, which can prompt memories and deeper reflections.

Actionable Insights for Aspiring Leaders

Now, how can you leverage the power of walking interviews or their alternatives to level up in your career?

  • Embrace Mobility and Inclusivity: Whether you're leading a team or conducting interviews, consider integrating walking meetings or their inclusive alternatives into your routine. This can lead to more dynamic and open conversations, fostering stronger team relationships and uncovering hidden insights.

  • Create Collaborative Spaces: Encourage your team to utilize different spaces within your organization for meetings and discussions. This not only breaks the monotony but also can stimulate creativity and deeper engagement.

  • Harness the Environment: Use your surroundings to your advantage. Whether it's a walking tour of your office, a virtual walk-through, or navigating different "stations" during a seated session, these moments can become opportunities for meaningful interaction and discovery.

Ready to Level Up?

Walking interviews and their inclusive alternatives aren't just a trendy new technique; they're powerful tools for anyone looking to advance their career and leadership skills. By incorporating these methods into your professional toolkit, you can gain deeper insights, foster better relationships, and stand out as a forward-thinking leader.

Are you ready to take the next step? Join our upcoming course on career advancement where we'll dive deeper into innovative strategies like walking interviews and more. Let's walk the path to your promotion together!


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