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I have been in exactly the same situation as Vaughn, and am now
approaching old-timer status at 6 months on the job (yippee!)
my question is: do any of you have any advice on conducting interviews
with people/departments that do things you know nothing (or vitrually
My advice is (and I have developed this after guidance from the wonderful
people of this list, plus a lot of reading and fretting): Treat it as a
training session, not as an interview. Put the "interviewee" into a
teacher status, and yourself into student status. You ask,"how does this
help?" Well, it loosens up the "interviewee". The typical view of the
interview is "being grilled", or having your job threatened, by needing to
prove competence. Instead, the subject matter expert (SME) gets to feel
just like the name implies: an expert. People love to feel superior, and
feel they are helping 'little you' to understand things better.
On the down side, you must maintain a balance of respect. Don't allow
yourself to be branded as a blank sheet; you could end up with 'menial'
tag on your forehead. Pause them with questions. Have them write notes
that you mark-up with your responses. If you get involved with
keyboarding, insist that you do the keyboard-punching, mousing, etc. while
they stand behind and guide. (for example, how to use software that they
relied on to perform) Be ready to switch hats to "teacher".
stephanie -at- storerunner -dot- com