Interviewing the Mediator

I recently had a couple who were facing a divorce, come to my office for a free, initial consultation.  After sitting down at the table together, they asked if it would be okay if they interviewed me for the job of assisting them through the divorce process.  They explained that the interview they were hoping to conduct would include asking me quite a few personal questions.  It only took me a few seconds to let them know that the interview was not only okay, but that I considered it appropriate!

They spent the next 20 minutes or so asking me questions on a wide range of topics, such as my views on religion and politics, whether I had raised any children and how I had raised them, my ethnicity, my mediation style and much more.  I was very open with them, and as the discussion progressed, I realized that they were not so much judging me on my answers, as they were gaining a level of comfort from my willingness to be open with them.  Their consultation lasted about 90 minutes and they contacted me the next day to let me know they had decided they would like to work with me.

The moral of this particular story is not that a good interview usually leads to a job, but rather, that trust is a two-way street.