She knew she hated dirty dishes in the kitchen sink. It didn’t seem so important when she interviewed to live with others in a large house. Remember an interview is an important part of the housemate selection process. She fell in love with the room, the house and the location. She noticed the dirty dishes but internally she shrugged and thought, “I can live with it.”
So she moved in. As she got comfortable and became a member of the community she began to feel that her need not to have dirty dishes in the sink was a reasonable request and that the others should acknowledge it. When that didn’t happen, it became a source of friction and stress. After just six months she moved out.
This is a story I often tell to demonstrate the importance of asking the right questions, which includes your “must-haves” and “can’t-live-withs.” But sometimes it is hard to realize what your must-haves and can’t-live-withs are. That’s why it’s important to understand your own needs and preferences. Enter the interview guide.
The Interviewing Questions
The interviewing questions are thirteen multiple-choice questions and three yes/no items for a total of sixteen. Each of the multiple-choice questions deals with an aspect of what makes for compatibility for people in sharing a home. It’s based on my experience over twenty-one years of living in shared housing.
The questions are to be used in the selection process in a two-way conversation where both parties have completed the questionnaire. Then the two (or more) people share their answers and discuss them. It is a valuable tool, a compass for the interview. It structures the interview. Most importantly, it allows you to ask, “What did you say to number 1?” rather than the uncomfortable, “How clean are you?” Using the questionnaire you can explore the nitty-gritty of living together by comparing your results. You will figure out pretty quickly if you are compatible enough to be comfortable living together.
“I was really surprised at how easy and fun it was to use the questionnaire.”
(More testimonials here.)
The questionnaire does not have some special magic for matching you up with someone whose answers would match yours. Nor does it prescribe the type of person you could live with. It can’t do that because everyone is unique and every shared-housing arrangement is what the people living it decide it should be. It could be that totally opposite answers to an item turn out to be just fine — in your particular situation. It is up to you to figure this out.
How to Use the Questions
The questions are part of the PDF What You Need to Talk About When Interviewing a Potential Home-mate. You will learn how the interview conversation is the essential part of the process and how to discern if the person you are talking to might be a good home-mate for you.
By asking the right questions you will gain confidence that you can figure out if the person you are interviewing will be a good fit. They will guide you and support you.