My On-campus Interview

by R.C. Miessler, Head Editor, INALJ Indiana

My On-campus Interview

rcmprofileVarious things running through my head on the week of an all-day, on-campus librarian interview:

Is this real? While I have experience being interviewed (as well as interviewing), this will be my first full-blown on-campus interview for a job. It’s kind of nerve-wracking. I kind of want to puke. It’s exciting that you think I’m good enough to potentially do the job. It’s terrifying to realize that a lot of things will change if I get this job. And it’s crushing to realize that if I don’t get it it’s going to depress me a lot more than I probably think it will. It’s real, man. Deal with it.

Why didn’t I get my suit altered? I bought this suit probably 10 years ago. It certainly doesn’t fit anymore, and I doubt it’s at the high point of fashion right now anyway … and yet, would I be wearing it even if it did? It’s not who I am. I barely remember to know how to tie a Windsor knot. I just want to be comfortable and professional. Me in a suit isn’t going to give me confidence. If you turn me down because I didn’t wear the crappiest suit JCPenney had to offer, I guess I didn’t want to work there either. Am I trying to justify my choice? Absolutely. Am I making a mistake? I’m sure some people will say I am. But in the end, I’ll pick wearing something that I feel comfortable and honest in. My sports coat looks a lot cooler than my suit anyway, more academic-like, although I need some patches for the elbows.

What happens if I get there and I hate it? How do I sit through a day’s worth of interviews and presentations if I know right away it isn’t a good fit? This is one of those times where the experience is as good as anything, and hopefully make a few good professional contacts, so I need to put my best foot forward regardless. I’ve done my best to read up on the institution, gone through your catalog, read everything on your website, and scoured the Web for any other pieces of information I could pick up that reinforces my desire to move forward with the school. Everything seems to point to a good fit, and that’s probably why you invited me anyway, but there’s still that nagging feeling that this is the wrong choice. I want this to work, so of course I do my best to sabotage it internally. Hooray for anxiety issues!

What happens if I get there and they hate me? I’m fresh out of library school. I have some volunteer experience in a library but in some ways I feel like a fraud, that I should be shelving books for a few years before I have any right to be called a librarian. I feel like I’m light years behind those kids who shot through their BA and MLS in 5 years and got a job right away.  I have years of customer service, technical support and management experience, as well as two master’s degrees. I should be able to do this. I can do this. I will do this. Hopefully. Maybe. PLEASE LIKE ME. I’ll make you cookies.

So, by the time this is posted, the interview will have been done, it will have gone great (hopefully), and I’ll be waiting for a response. And if my potential employer is reading this, thank you for not holding it against me. You guys are awesome. Even more so if  you give me a job.

Naomi House

Naomi House, MLIS, is the founder and publisher of the popular webzine and jobs list (formerly I Need a Library Job) and former CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) of, 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.