The Covert Interview

Subject: The Covert Interview
From: Jan Boomsliter <boom -at- CADENCE -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 6 Jan 1995 09:06:59 -0800

Intended recpient(s): Andrea Magers
Failure reason: User Andrea Magers not listed in public Name & Address Book

When I was contracting, therefore interviewing a lot, a frequent
question had to do with how to get info from engineers. That question
was always followed by or included in an oh-so-softly-pedalled query
about "getting along" with engineers.

I knew what they were talking about and why they were asking. I have
my stories, too. But what I answered, and what has always worked for
me, is: people who like what they do like to talk about it. Lots. So
I get them talking and I listen. As I get to know the person I can
start directing the conversation without being abrupt, thus using our
time well.

I'm glad you are writing this. I think you've got a winner.


"By expressing interest in or admiration for the software (or
whatever) or by asking a particularly astute question, one can
sometimes elicit an almost overwhelming flow of information from
engineers who, when they know they are being 'interviewed,' are
reticent or even rude."

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