Re: The Covert Interview

Subject: Re: The Covert Interview
From: Rosie <ncrowe -at- PRIMENET -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 5 Jan 1995 13:57:57 -0700

On Thu, 5 Jan 1995, John Russell wrote:

> "Astute" is a key word. I can't just go and say, "tell me how this sucker
> works." I've found that if you ask a question about a seeming bug or
> apparent contradiction in features, I get the best results. I'll give you
[snip]

> One of the most frustrating things I've encountered (not too often) is when
> I go to a develeper with my reasonably astute question and he/she says,
> "I'm really busy right now. Tell you what, you give me a list of questions
> and I'll answer them." There goes all my information. I think what they

The number one way to get around this is to give them a list of
questions. Highest likelihood is that they will not get around to
answering them on paper, and you can use it for an overt interview
guide. My favorite technique for getting an interview in the event
that I can't catch one of the shy creatures grazing out in the
open, is to go ask for it with the caveats that "I just need 10
or 15 minutes of your time" and in some cases, offering the question
list for their security. (Some folks don't like unexpected
questions and like to feel prepared.)

The worst is when you give them the questions and they answer
them on paper. You usually have to go back an re-interview them
anyway because they don't *really* answer the question in all
cases. That's why a face-to-face interview works so much
better, because if they don't understand the question, you
can rephrase it right away.

Rosie (NorthCrowe)
ncrowe -at- primenet -dot- com
rwilc -at- fast -dot- dot -dot- state -dot- az -dot- us
*******
"Half an hour's meditation is essential except
when you are very busy. Then a full hour is needed."
-St. Francis De Sales


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