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Why audio recording interviews and typing them up is a very good idea

Today’s guest blog comes from Ashley Price of APA Secretarial. Ashley has been running the business since 1996. He works with his wife, Jackie, and together they provide audio transcription services to companies and university researchers. Outside of work, Ashley is a Town Councillor for Lewes, in Sussex, and the Council’s “Anti-Domestic Abuse Champion”. Ashley is also a Rotarian and involved with Lewes Twinning Association. Huge thanks to Ashley for putting digits to keyboard and producing this guest blog on the importance of recording interviews and meetings and having them typed up!

“That’s not what I said, the typist is biased against me!”

There are some interviews or meetings where someone taking notes is not sufficient, especially if that person is also taking an active part in the meeting.

  • Grievances
  • Disciplinaries
  • Appeals
  • Termination of employment, e.g. redundancies

These are all often highly-emotive interviews; the interviewee is often desperate to defend themselves, or get their point across that, later on, they forget what they said. When they receive a copy of the notes of the interview, they may feel they were incorrectly heard, taken out of context (did they laugh as they said something?) or even that the typist was biased.

It should become good practice to make an audio recording of any interview of this nature, and transcribe it. This means there can be no accusations regarding accuracy. Any complaints about the transcript can be quickly dealt with by playing back the recording.

Using a third party service for the transcription of the recording has three benefits: confidentiality, independence and speed.

If someone, within the interviewee’s company does the transcription, there is a chance they may be biased or may gossip, or drop hints, to colleagues about the content of the recording. A third party transcription service removes those problems.

Unless the staff member has the right equipment and software, the transcription can take a very long time. Hiring a transcription service means the resulting document is completed quickly and, at the same time, freeing up staff to concentrate on other matters.

So, from now on, why not make it standard practice to record these meetings and provide a word-for-word transcript to all participants?

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