Saturday, April 17, 2010

Location, location, location

Planning an interview? Suggestion for today: You must consider the location for the face to face meeting. I've found that's as important as the questions I ask. I devote much of my time to an exchange student program and my position as area team sending coordinator involves interviewing students and their parents. I am required to make a home visit to see the student's environment and interaction within the family setting. One step inside a home can reveal as much about family dynamics as a thousand words. Yes, the proverb holds true in that case.

Yesterday I interviewed someone for a job in that same exchange student company. We met at a restaurant in a casual, comfortable setting that allowed us to speak about hopes and ideas and possibilities. Her thousand words gave me the picture I needed. Different situation, different need, different location choice.

In the Pilot Mountain Schoolhouse project, I'm finding some older adults see home interviews by a stranger as next to an invasion. They begin by apologizing for the condition of their home. They wonder if they should offer me anything to eat. They ignore the telephone when it rings, even though I assure them I don't mind if they answer.

After about ten home interviews for this project, I decided to change strategies. Now I interview in the schoolhouse. Being there brings back certain memories just by looking at the hallway or the door into a particular teacher's classroom. Trouble is, here I need the thousand words. I have the picture from the forty people I've already interviewed, but I must pull out the unique story this person has about the same picture.

This morning I'm off to another interview. This one is at the library because the schoolhouse is rented for the day. It's a new location for me to use. I'll let you know how this works.


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