5 Basic Tips for Doing Well in the Interview

by Sean O’Brien, Head Editor, INALJ Colorado

5 Basic Tips for Doing Well in the Interview

15188252622411237047 - Copy - CopySo you got the interview!  Congratulations!  But now, you realize, you still have to get through the scariest part; the interview.  But hey, don’t worry, we’re here this month to give you a few basic tips that will help you get more prepared for the big day, which will hopefully make the ordeal a little less stressful.

5. Remember the fundamentals

Turn off your phone.  Don’t be underdressed.  Be polite.  Be on time.  Don’t talk ugly about previous jobs or employers.  These are all the super-basic interview tips that you should hardwire into your brain.  This should go without saying, but just remember to avoid doing anything that gets you an honorable mention on the interviewer’s mental list of “worst interviewees I’ve ever seen.”  It may seem like there are a lot of little rules for interviewees, but they’re all common-sense, and they’ll stick in your head after you review them a few times.

4. Do your homework

Poke around in the library’s resources a bit.  Figure out how to use the OPAC.  Look at their databases.  Check out their budget and mission statement.  In short, be prepared to talk and ask questions about how the library actually runs.  This shows genuine interest in the position and helps them visualize you working there, and your interviewers will be pleasantly surprised to have an “insiders” conversation with you.

3. Engage everyone

Oftentimes as part of an interview, you may be taken around to meet employees in the library.  At the very least, you will be interviewed by a group instead of a single person.  Engage all of them.  Eye contact, firm handshake, relevant questions, the works.  These are your potential future coworkers, and part of the interview process is seeing if you can get along with them.   Don’t alienate anyone you’re introduced to throughout the day, as it may cost you.

2. Be confident!

It’s easy to be nervous in an interview.  Believe me, I know.  The stakes are high, and you need this job.  Still, as much as possible, try to be confident.  First of all, getting the interview in the first place is a huge step.  You’ve gotten this far, so you’re clearly a contender.  So, be calm, keep your chin up, and have faith in yourself.  Even if you don’t end up getting the job, it’s good to have as much interview practice as you can get.

1. Finish strong

After you’ve finished up the interview, finish strong with another round of handshakes and a “thank you for your time.”  Politely ask when you can expect to hear from them, but avoid any awkward questions about what your pay or benefits will be, or what your chances of getting the job are.  When you get back to your computer, send of a round of emails thanking your interviewers for taking the time to meet with you.  Sometimes this sort of note can really help an interviewer remember you in a positive light, which in turn will better your odds of landing the position.


Naomi House

Naomi House, MLIS, is the founder and publisher of the popular webzine and jobs list INALJ.com (formerly I Need a Library Job) and former CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) of T160K.org, a crowdfunding platform focused on African patrimony, heritage and cultural projects. INALJ was founded in October 2010 with the assistance of her fellow Rutgers classmate, Elizabeth Leonard. Its social media presence has grown to include Facebook (retired in 2016), Twitter and a LinkedIn group, in addition to the interviews, articles and jobs found on INALJ. INALJ has had over 21 Million page hits and helped many, many thousands of librarians find employment! Through grassroots marketing, word of mouth and a real focus on exploring unconventional resources for job leads, INALJ grew from a subscription base of 20 friends to a website with over 500,000 visits in one month. Naomi believes that well-sourced quantity is quality in this narrow job market and INALJ reflects this with many new jobs published daily. She has also written for the 2011, 2012 and 2013 LexisNexis Government Info Pro and many other publications in the past decade. She presents whenever she can, including serving on three panels at the American Library Association's Annual Conference in Las Vegas; as breakout presenter at OCLC EMEA in Cape Town, South Africa; as a keynote speaker at the Virginia Library Association annual meeting; at the National Press Club in Washington DC; McGill University in Montreal, Canada; the University of the Emirates, Dubai, MLIS program and the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Naomi was a Reference, Marketing and Acquisitions Librarian for a contractor at a federal library outside Washington, DC, and has been living and working in Budapest, Hungary and Western New York State. She spent years running her husband’s moving labor website, fixed and sold old houses and assisted her husband cooking delicious Pakistani food. She is preparing to re-enter the workforce and is job hunting. Her husband is now the co-editor of INALJ, a true support!  She has heard of spare time but hasn’t encountered it lately. She pronounces INALJ as eye-na-elle-jay.