Ah, interviews! Pretty much anyone of job-seeking age has gone through an interview of some sort, whether it’s a job interview, a pre-application review for a school or college, interviewing for a club membership, or interviewing with a military recruiter after taking the ASVAB. Those are mainly formal and/or professional interviews, which always have a certain format and tone, and certain expectations are of higher demand from the interviewer and the interviewee. The resume is what the interviewer uses to glean information about the applicant, while also having a formulaic list of pre-written questions. The interviewee has the added expectation of researching the company or organization he or she is applying to, and is questioned on the applicant’s knowledge of same. This is usually to determine if the applicant is truly interested in being an employee or member.
Another type of interview is the casual, informal one generally seen on TV programs or the internet, or heard on radio stations. These include news interviews, “round-table” discussions, or late-night talk-show interviews. The format and tone of these are a bit different from the formal or professional ones, as the tone is set by the interviewer. The interviewer can do as little or as much research on the interviewee as they feel like doing, which can lend to a lop-sided, selective, and biased atmosphere. The interviewee has little to no control over the ebb and flow of the interview, as the questioner either responds with good follow-up questions, or takes cues on his or her whim.
This seemed to be the case with a recent blogger-to-blogger interview that was done between the Well-Red Mage and myself, published on his blog on 16 January. Some background: last November, on his blog, he said that he wanted to do informal interviews on other bloggers with the same interests as he has: namely, video games of all types, and animated TV shows and movies, including Japanese anime. I indicated that participating sounded like fun since I had read a few of the interviews that he’d conducted, but I was participating in the NaNoWriMo challenge so wouldn’t be available until December. The December holidays would also add to any delay on his end, since he’s a married father of two with another on the way. I indicated via email that doing the interview after the 1st of the year would be just fine. I thought that would offer plenty of time for him to check out my blog and read a few of the posts that I’d done about gaming, my computer issues and music. I felt that any discussions about anime TV shows or movies would be brought up during the interview, since I have written on that subject in the past, and have commented on other anime-related blogs. Needless to say, I was mildly disappointed! I guess that I set my expectations too high, especially after reading the other well done interviews of other bloggers. They got the grade-A treatment; I seemed to only warrant a C-minus effort, at best.
For example, the length of time it took to even get the interview started. We exchanged a couple of emails to figure out the best medium for the interview, and finally decided on Skype IM. No need for a camera, which was ideal for me. Skype can also be used on a cell-phone, so I wouldn’t need to be tied to my computer. I thought that IM would be quick and easy, but it was tedious because of the interviewer choosing to ask only one question per day. The interview took from 6 – 14 January. Eight fucking days to do something that could have taken an hour at the most. Time difference wasn’t an issue, as a person who lives in Alaska or Hawai’i is an hour or so behind me, not two or three hours ahead, as are most of my fellow online gamers.
On top of that, on the second day, I was doing some gaming and had Skype running in the background. The little indicator showed that Mr. Mage was ‘online / available.’ He asked one question, then nothing more during a four-hour period. I was doing some AvA in my MMO, but could easily have taken a break to complete the Q & A session. I sent two messages after my initial answer, in the first hour, in an attempt to give a cue that I was prepared. Not one reply came back the entire time I was on, and no other question was asked until I logged back on the next morning. Talk about disrespectful! Still, that was my first clue that the interview wasn’t going to be pleasant, and adjusted accordingly.
Next, the questions were just not at all what I expected, and some were essentially repeated, using different words. The tone of the questions was one of disinterest, as they were tossed out in a cavalier way – and, in a couple of instances, he answered the very question he asked by adding a statement after a question. Definitely not the attitude of a person who is interested in similar hobbies, nor one who took the time to read my blog and see what other subjects are mentioned there. Compared to the good interviews that he did here and here, the one that I participated in was less than satisfactory, from my perspective.
It seems to me, that, for whatever reason, this individual really didn’t want to interview me, but made a half-hearted effort to do so only because he said he would and wanted to get the obligation over with. Since the questions asked were apathetic, I pretty much ended up giving apathetic answers. I would rather have had no interview than the seemingly disinterested one that I was subjected to. Sure, I could have just said, “you know, I think that you aren’t really feeling this interview, so you’re off the hook.” But, I think that adults should be able to be honest and say something like, “You know, I said that I would do this, but I don’t think that I can. I’m just not into your blog; you don’t talk about gaming or movies as much as I do, so we have nothing in common. No hard feelings, okay?” That would have been honest and perfectly acceptable. As it is, I just think that the whole thing was pretty lame. At any rate, I copied the entire conversation to a Word document, only editing the names to reflect our respective blogs. That will help me answer any questions that anyone who read the interview, and this review of same, might ask. Who knows? One of my followers or readers might have an interesting perspective of their own to share! That would be pretty cool.