Thursday, January 16, 2014
I could mention that Dan just had an at-home phone interview for a job. I really hope he gets it. Please, please, for the love of God, let him get it. He was good on the phone. I tried not to eavesdrop, but it was difficult, especially since I was perched on his shoulder. I could tell they were having a casual conversation (which is good--he was relaxed; it all sounded natural and friendly), and that she was asking some of the standard questions for graphic designers like about his process, how he works with others and what he does when people want twenty changes to a logo.
In this new-ish job (how long do I get to say that before it becomes an excuse?), I do a lot more interviewing for stories. These Q&A skills are rusty, though it's coming back to me. One thing I need to do more is to remind people at the beginning of the conversation that they need to talk at a slightly slower pace because I'm trying to capture everything word for word as they speak. I know there are probably apps that will do this and I could also tape conversations, but it's just so much more efficient to get it all down at the time of the interview rather than transcribing it later. That is, it will be more efficient when I get better at it. Because sometimes, especially if I'm meeting with the person face to face and typing, I try to make eye contact and, you know, be at least somewhat physically present, as I'm also typing. What happens then is that I keep typing and then I go back to my office and find I've written something that looks like: Captan says would he honor form the fRAnkcsense institute developing flashers that can see will change for the biggest part Kenndy's brother 9n in 1984 brekthro.
The other thing I have to keep in mind is that it's okay to have a pause in the conversation, to let the interview-ee think or rethink what she's said. I have an impulse to want to fill up any awkward moments, but really, sometimes, it's in the pauses that interesting things happen. I might think of a better question or the person might come forth with a confessional fact he wouldn't have shared otherwise.
Then the other thing that I need to remember is to keep talking and listening, because it's weird--when the interview seems to be winding down, and when everyone's a little more relaxed, that's also the time when you can again get something interesting. The other day, I was talking to someone and the interview was fine, normal. plenty to work with, but then, he suddenly came up with this really cool research project that he did during undergrad with endangered species--and that is what's going to make the interview, but it came toward the end, after I thought we'd covered everything we needed to cover.