Chapter 5: Step Four -- Meeting

You've had some correspondence with a seeker. Perhaps you've seen them in action or even briefly met them at a gathering or a local networking group. So far, they seem okay. It's time to get to know them better, and this can only be done in a face-to-face meeting. However informal this may seem, it's actually very similar to an ordinary job interview. Remember that it is only natural, not at all dishonest, for a person to try to make the best possible impression during an interview. So, no matter how much you may like them, proceed carefully and tentatively.

Where to meet

We strongly advise that you have your initial meeting with a seeker in some neutral, public place. This need not be fancy or expensive. A booth in a coffee-shop, at a slow time of the day, is a good, quiet place to talk.

By not bringing total strangers into your home, you protect your privacy and, possibly even your safety. There are dangerous creeps out there: crooks, sexual predators and even bigots who feel they are divinely commanded to murder people of whom they disapprove.

What to ask

What information are you looking for? Nothing very different than what was in the letter of self-introduction, but in more detail and more depth. Where has the person been, what did he or she learn there, and where would he or she like to be going? Just as in a secular job interview, some questions will be the same for all seekers, some will be specific to this person but planned in advance, based on your reading of their paperwork, and still others will come up in response to something they said during the conversation.

Be sure to invite the seeker to ask any questions of her or his own. The seeker has as legitimate a need as you do to check out the situation before committing to it. Besides, you can learn a great deal about someone from what questions he or she chooses to ask.

At least as important as what people say is how they say it. You may want to probe or challenge a bit, to see how they will react, since challenge is part of any training process. Pay attention to all the non-verbal and psychic cues you will certainly be picking up. Pay particular attention to any emotional reactions or hunches that come up in you during the interaction.

Partnership in interviewing

If your partner has come with you to the interview, consider having one partner do most of the dialogue, while the other quietly observes the seeker's responses on all levels. If you do not have a partner, consider asking a trusted, empathic senior member of your group to assist. Compare your observations as soon after the meeting as possible, while they are still fresh. Two viewpoints are what allow us to see in depth.

Watch out for the temptation to play 'good cop / bad cop' roles while interviewing someone. Regardless of how well this works in dramatic settings, you owe a basic duty of care towards the person you are interviewing, and our religion is about life and learning, not interrogation.

Input from group members

If you are bringing some new people into an existing group, at some point your current members should get a chance to meet with the seekers. You can do this by a group interview, where all current members get to ask whatever questions they like, perhaps offer the seeker some advice about the group, and respond to the seeker's questions.

If you're starting a beginner group or outer court, it may not be practicable to have an individual group interview for each seeker. In that case, you might want to invite all the seekers who have passed your preliminary screens to some sort of workshop that has a component of "show and tell." Proteus often uses a mask-making workshop for this purpose. As each seeker explained the mask they'd made, every present member got a chance to learn a bit about them and feel into their vibes.

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    Last revision: February 4, 2002