As a writer for Roundpeg, I create a lot of different kinds of content. Short blurbs and catchy headlines for emails, social media updates, and even blog posts about truckloads of different topics (marketing, flooring, fashion, plumbing, beans, you name it). But, one of my favorite things to write? Employee profiles.
Maybe it’s the reporter in me that hasn’t been totally snuffed out yet, but I love talking with people. Asking people questions about themselves is natural and comes easy to me and I genuinely enjoy.
But that’s not the case for everyone.
Some people aren’t comfortable asking questions or they have no idea where to start when it comes to writing an employee profile. But don’t worry, I want to help you get better and more comfortable putting together these articles from what can be an awkward process if you aren’t sure what you’re doing. A good employee profile can be broken down into three basic parts.
Why write employee profiles?
Before we get into the how, let’s talk about the why. Well, the easy answer is that employee profiles are great content! They are the perfect light-hearted, human-interest kind of piece that folks love to see on social media and in email newsletters and they are a great way to regularly inject content into your blog. They really don’t take that much effort, don’t have to be that long and can be finished (from interview to finished article) in an afternoon.
The bigger reason to write employee profiles? They are the perfect way to gain trust from your community. An employee profile portfolio is a valuable collection to have at your disposal particularly for businesses in the home service and any other service industry that entails a lot of 1-on-1 communication with customers.
By having an opportunity to meet and learn more about your staff through these blog posts, you help customers become more comfortable with scheduling an appointment, inviting them into their homes or putting their trust in you.
Nobody wants to work with a faceless company – there’s nothing there to trust or connect with. Employee profiles can make your customers feel like they’ve shaken your hand long before they actually meet you.
Newsflash: you may not be the only one uncomfortable with the interview process. As comfortable as I may be asking questions, a lot of the folks I interview are often somewhat intimidated, even if I’ve had a dialogue with them previously. It’s important that you help your interviewee be as relaxed as possible. Don’t spring an interview on them. Let them know well in advance that you want to interview them and set a date a couple days ahead of time.
It’s also nice to give them an idea of what kind of questions you plan on asking them so they have an idea of what to expect. Will it help them prepare better answers? Probably not. But, it will hopefully help put them at ease and get them comfortable with the idea of being interviewed.
A good way to start an employee profile is with a simple introduction. Your first round of questions should be some nice soft ball questions to help ease your subject into the interview. Get some baseline information. Start with their name, even if you already know it, making sure to get the correct spelling. This can help establish some rapport, not to mention avoiding a misspelled name right at the top of your bio.
Questions you can ask:
- What’s your name?
- What’s your title?
- How long have you worked at (insert company name here)?
Typically, people are a lot more comfortable talking about their work than themselves. So, once you’ve got some of the basic questions out of the way move on to their job. If you try jumping straight into personal questions they still may feel less comfortable and less likely to give you more quality or natural answers. Talking about their job first is a good bridge between these two subjects.
You can get as in-depth as you want depending on how much you want people to know about your employees and how long you want the write up to be. One thing in particular I think is a good thing to ask is to elaborate, explain, or focus on one aspect or common question about their job or field. This is a subtle and informative way of not just telling readers about their expertise, but actually showing it.
Don’t be afraid to have a little fun by tossing in some light-hearted questions either. If you are relaxed and having fun, chances are your interviewee will pick up on that and relax too.
Questions you can ask:
- What does your job entail?
- What is a typical day like?
- Favorite memory from work?
- What’s a common question you get from customers?
- What do you like most about your job?
The fun part of writing an employee profile comes once you are both settled in. Well, fun yet kind of tricky. While you want to show the human and personal side of your interviewee, you don’t want to get too personal. Keep personal questions on the light side – think of questions that you would feel comfortable answering. Good areas to stick to are hobbies and other interests outside of work.
If you’ve done a good job of making them feel comfortable or establishing rapport, they should be pretty open at this point in the interview. That’s good, because most of the interesting tid-bits and real human element content will come from these questions. If you haven’t, it can fall a bit flat.
You may be able to get a little more personal with questions if you have established a good relationship along the way. Great answers and content can come from more focused questions, but you don’t want to make you subject uncomfortable. Just be careful and courteous.
Questions you can ask:
- Where are you from?
- Where did you go to school?
- What do you like to do when you aren’t working?
- Who are your favorite sports teams?
- What’s a fun fact about you many people may not know?
Once you are done, be sure to show off those manners your mother taught you and thank them for their time and answering your questions. Once you’ve put it together, it is good polite practice to let them read it before you post it. This is also a good way to catch any inaccuracies and give them a chance to tweak anything they want to be changed. Be sure to let them know where they can find it after it’s published and see if they would be OK with sharing it on social media to help it reach some new eyes.
Interviewing isn’t always the most natural thing for people, but with a little practice it will become easier. You’ll fine tune what questions to ask, what to avoid and get better and better about making your subjects feel comfortable which will give you better answers.
For a fun example of an employee profile page, check out Roundpeg’s Meet the Team Page.