Case Method: Business Interviewingby Linda Hickman, Cliff Longman
An indispensable guide to successful information gathering, this book focuses on the techniques of how to interview, giving the reader more time to concentrate on what is actually being said. As a tool for personal skill development or as a training aid, this text serves as an easy-to-use reference on all aspects of business interviewing.
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PREFACE: In our consultancy role, we find that interviews play a major part in the information gathering for any project. We have learned that the activity is a valuable opportunity for discovering many layers of information. Where we once looked on it as a data collection activity, now we consider it one that can provide real knowledge and understanding of the individuals we are interviewing.
We enjoy interviewing and have become more and more fascinated with the whole process of communication. We find ourselves interviewing in varied industries, countries and cultures. In such situations, we are looking at how we can best create an environment for a free interchange of ideas and be able to interpret accurately the information we gather. The last part is the most difficult. Semantics and differing sets of assumptions blur our view of what we have heard. Throughout any interview, we are trying to put aside our own preconceptions and listen with an open mind. It is not easy. The task is made easier, however, by having a set of techniques in hand for interviewing.
The mechanics of an interview are just that, mechanisms for smoothing a process. Once the interview process can be carried out with less effort, we can devote our time and attention to the real issues that are being discussed. That is why we are focusing in this book on the techniques for interviewing-on how to interview-with the goal of helping you have more time to concentrate on the real part of the interview-on what is actually being said.
Over the years we have come to value the practical techniques we have discovered which enable us to get below the surface in an interview to really understand the perspective ofthe interviewee. We believe that Information Technology practitioners in particular have an opportunity to improve their knowledge and understanding of what the needs of their business are and thus to dramatically improve the role they play in their business. Good interviewing techniques become an important asset.
The understanding we gain from an interview brings with it another challenge. We must often take information from one interview and combine it with results from several other interviews in order to build a picture or models, about our understanding. At this point, clarifying meaning becomes especially critical. It is the dilemma of converging various points of view that brings us closest to the real issue in an interview-understanding what is being said. We have been developing techniques to help us with that task and want to share them with others.
A book develops slowly. Several years ago Linda wrote some practical guidelines for interviewing. We used feedback from practitioners to expand the guidelines, which in turn formed the starting point for this book. We hope that this book will help to answer more questions and lead to rewarding and successful interviews.
To all - new and experienced alike - good luck.
AcknowledgmentsThe book evolved slowly and with the invaluable assistance of many people. We would like to thank a few personally, and hope that all the other special people who have influenced our ideas and development of the book will know who they are, too. In particular, Jeanette Longman spent many long hours patiently setting up material and resetting it; Barbara Barker has the genius to take all the parts and put them together in a readable, attractive book; as the originator of CASE Method, has a special role which cannot be measured.
Others also contributed along the way. Sue Ladbrook daily helps keep Linda's schedule manageable in countless ways, and among associates who read carefully and encouraged more interview materials were RenEe Taylor and Jeremy Davis. Countless colleagues in projects in may countries over the years have contributed to our understanding of interviewing.
Finally, a big thank you to our understanding families who have enthusiastically supported the idea of the book.
Linda Hickman and Cliff Longman
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