They won't be expecting the question; it may have never been asked of them before. But when you care enough to ask, I've found that you're almost always met with a heartfelt reply.
One of my favorite requests to throw out during an interview is, "Tell me about your first big crush."
Inevitably, the eyebrows go up, a moment of silence ensues, and then a smile breaks out from ear to ear as they look up and off into a time of life long past. And the most wonderful story of young love pours forth.
"I haven't thought of him/her for years," I often hear.
These are the kinds of questions that bring a life-story interview to life -- for everyone.
- What do you remember about falling in love with Grandpa/Grandma?
- What's the most trouble you ever got into as a young person?
- When you were 18 years old, what did you envision for your life?
- What was the toughest lesson that you had to learn?
- What has brought you happiness in life?