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Monday, March 20, 2006

Ask A Stupid Question ...

Even on holiday, I couldn't stop thinking about my blog. I knew it was in good hands, but I kept having ideas for blog posts. One particular incident made me think of revisiting a post I did on interviewing. In that post I gave the following advice about interview preparation:

Interview preparation recap

  • People want to read about other people
  • Preparation is key
  • Go with the flow
  • Use both a notebook and a recording device
  • Ask open-ended questions
  • Don't be afraid to look stupid

So what did I forget? Before I tell you, let me backtrack to a week ago. I was in Barbados

Learning from my mistake

Before I tell you, let me backtrack to a week ago. I was in Barbados and had to go to one of the government departments there to collect a piece of paper. I arrived bright and early and asked to see the person I needed to see (let's call her Miss F). My name was put on a list and I sat and waited. Even with the famously slow pace within such departments, I thought I could get out within half and hour. No such luck. When I'd been there an hour, I returned to the front window and asked for Miss F again. It was then I discovered my original mistake, because Miss F wasn't there. Instead of asking if I could see her (which I could), I should have asked if she was there (which she wasn't). Had I asked the correct question the first time, I could have done something else and returned when she was there. As it was, Miss F turned up just after I'd been to the window for the second time and I was ushered inside for another wait.

So what does this have to do with freelance writing and interviewing? Simply this. Asking the right question will get you an answer that will help you. Asking the wrong question may well waste your time - as it did mine.

And by the way, you don't need to get paranoid about interviewing. A bit of preparation will help you ask the right questions most of the time.

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