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EO 360°, a podcast by Entrepreneurs’ Organization, explores entrepreneurship with a wide perspective, moving beyond business to those insights not often shared by high-profile thought leaders.

Host and serial entrepreneur, Dave Will, leads in-depth interviews, whose featured guests include: Gazelles founder and CEO, Verne Harnish; popular podcast host and founder of Genius Network, Joe Polish; award-winning entrepreneur, Zahra Al-Harazi; and more. Tune into this top podcast made by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs.

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Sep 19, 2017

Have you ever faced difficulties in your interviewing process with potential hires? Is it a struggle to find passionate, talented individuals who are a good fit for your organization? If yes, then today’s episode of E.O. Podcast isn’t one you want to miss. Meet Cal Fussman, a New York best-selling author who has a history of interviewing global icons. Today, Cal will enthrall you with some of his life changing experiences with Julio Chavez, Petra Nemcova, Mikhail Gorbachev and Robert Di Niro. Cal also indulges listeners with his travel adventures across Europe which taught him the art of being an effective interviewer. Read on and get some terrific insights from this master storyteller on how to master your interviewing process.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 0:40 – Dave was really impressed with Cal Fussman when he heard him on Tim Ferriss’ Podcast
  • 1:55 – Cal gets nervous when people hero worship him—he gets bogged down by expectations
    • 02:03 – Martin Scorsese was a big fan of Akira Kurosawa, the director of “Seven Samurai”
    • 02:16 – Scorsese was about to enter a party when he found out that Kurosawa was there as well. Not wanting to be disappointed by his hero, he simply walked out
  • 07:17 – Cal has a picture of him hitting Julio César Chávez in the jaw; it’s hanging in his office
    • 07:32 – Cal sparred with Julio César Chávez, the then junior welterweight champion, for a couple of rounds
    • 07:35 – This picture reminds Cal that ANYTHING is possible
    • 08:06 – Cal was determined to fight one round with Julio; he trained hard for seven months
    • 09:20 – Cal’s trainer advised him to throw a combination of jabs and punches that resulted in Cal landing a punch on Julio!
    • 12:43 – After being knocked down by Julio at the end of the first round, Julio asked Cal whether he wanted to continue for another round. Not wanting to back down, Cal responded positively. This was one of the GREATEST movements of Cal’s life
  • 14:00 – Cal is currently working with organizations to create a great interview process for employees
  • 14:30 – Check out Cal’s website to learn more about him
  • 14:54 – Cal’s Introduction:
  • 16:45 – The first principle of a good conversation: “Start from the heart and go to the head”
  • 18:00 – Cal has only recently started to reflect on what he has learnt from interviewing such icons; he wishes to help other people conduct their interviews
    • 18:48 – Cal likens his interviewing process to that of an “old grandma cooking”—he points out that he has never thought about the process until recently
  • 19:55 – Cal is coming to Boston in September 14, 2018 to talk to entrepreneurs about mastering the interviewing process
  • 20:12 – How Cal got around to helping employers master their interviewing process
    • 20:12 – Cal got in touch with the founder of Summit, an organization based in Powder Mountain, Utah. Entrepreneurs can network and figure out a way to help each other
    • 20:49 – 4000 entrepreneurs take part in Summit at Sea every November where Cal was invited to be a speaker
    • 22:00 – Cal had to reflect and jot down how he managed to interview difficult personalities such as Muhammad Ali, Gorbachev and Robert De Niro
    • 23:54 – Cal had a bout of nervousness when he realized he would be speaking in front of a huge crowd consisting of prominent personalities; however his speech was well received
    • 24:42 – After the speech, there was a long line of people waiting to meet Cal in a bid to find out how they could interview better and hire better people
    • 25:06 – To gauge a candidate’s passion for work, Cal suggests asking the following question: “How long have you gone without sleep working on a project that you were passionate about?”
    • 26:17 – He realized that if he could transpose what he knew over the company’s interviewing process, it would yield rich dividends
  • 27:50 – Born in Brooklyn, Cal spent 10 years traveling the world
  • 28:42 – How a trip to Europe turned into a 10 year adventure
    • 28:50 – He’d show up at a train station or bus station and ask for a ticket to the next destination
    • 29:12 – Having no money to pay for accommodation, Cal would initiate a conversation and hope that his fellow passenger would invite him to stay at their home for the night
    • 32:32 – Was able to travel from one dinner table to another thanks to his gift of gab
  • 32:57 – Cal recounts his conversation with the model Petra Nemcova
    • 33:43 – Cal and Petra end up exchanging traveling stories—an hour and a half interview turned into a 4-hour long conversation
  • 35:30 – Conversations that Cal had on the trains and buses in Europe helped him to become an effective interviewer
  • 36:47 – Hear Cal recount his fantastic experience interviewing Mikhail Gorbachev
  • 37:30 – Cal’s life changing experience with Robert De Niro
    • 37:41 – Esquire asked Cal to interview De Niro back in 2003
    • 38:06 – Cal was lukewarm about interviewing De Niro since he was known to be difficult
    • 40:03 – De Niro agrees to meet Cal at the Tribeca Grill, De Niro’s restaurant
    • 42:05 – Respect and trust between Cal and Robert led to Robert opening up about his many experiences
    • 43:11 – Robert shares his biggest regret: that he could not record his family history
    • 43:46 – Hearing Robert’s experience, Cal decided to make a short film about his parents and play it at their 50th anniversary celebrations—this is how the De Niro experience CHANGED Cal’s life
  • 46:22 – Telling a good story
    • 46:22 – Important to place a “seed of vulnerability” in every story; Cal was in a vulnerable position in all his experiences
    • 48:32 – Like in a movie, if a story revolves around overcoming an obstacle, it heightens the storytelling experience
  • 49:10 – Listen to Brené Brown talk about the power of vulnerability in her Ted Talk
  • 52:50 – Check out Dave’s interview with John Kimmich, the maker of Heady Topper beer
  • 59:35 – Dave closes the episode and encourages you to visit his website

3 Key Points:

  1. The first principle of having a great conversation: start from the heart and go the head.
  2. Trust and respect between the interviewer and the interviewee enables a genuine conversation.
  3. Placing a “seed of vulnerability” in a story heightens the entire story telling experience. 

Resources Mentioned: