Preparation, Preparation, Preparation, and…….Preparation.
Preparing for a job interview is probably the least exciting of tasks to perform, but it should pay off in the long run, if you are diligent. When I think back to my first interview, I remember the mental brain fart that clouded my cerebrum when I was trying to relate how my qualifications corresponded to the job posting. I remember before the interview, thinking how easy it would be to whip up a thoughtful, and articulate answer on the spot. After all, the individuals on the panel put their pants on the same way I do, right? No need to be nervous! The question is a gimmie, how could I possibly screw it up? Flash forward to the interview, a few awkward pauses, umms , and hmms segue nicely to an indication from the panel that my time was up for answering the question.
So, after the panel asked what I thought was one of the easiest interview questions in the world. The question left me feeling like a captain of a capsized vessel – an apt metaphor. Now granted I knew better; I failed to prepare and now know better for the future. While I did not bomb the interview, thankfully; however, it did to this very day, leave a lasting impression. As anyone who has experienced a similar moment in an interview can tell you. It is a terrible feeling that stings for a quite a while.
For those of you who are recent library school graduates, currently on the job market, or soon to be. I have put together a list of websites that should help you prepare for possible future interview questions. Preparation will bring familiarity, and through familiarity you will have confidence. Besides, no one likes a case of mental flatulence in an interview. How you prepare and being prepared is up to you!
MrLibraryDude – Nailing the Library Interview: A fantastic website that provides a hyperlinked guide to resources that address interview questions, and how to formulate interview questions. Check out the page devoted to interview pitfalls.
Hiring Librarians: The whole website is fantastic, and should be something you check weekly, if not daily. Check out the Interview Question Repository, it is a neat spreadsheet that lays out the interview process, the questions asked by potential employers and the questions asked by interviewees. If you keep track of your interviews (which you should) I highly recommend adding your information to the collective stockpile.
ALA NMRT: For those of you who are aspiring academic librarians, New Members Round Table has put together an excellent overview of what to expect in an academic library hiring process. A generic overview of the hiring process, an example schedule for a candidate visit, questions asked depending on the position applied for and examples of questions you should ask.
University of South Carolina School of Library and Information Science Frequently Asked Interview Questions: USC has put together 54 interview questions that you should read and reflect on. Do you have a collection development philosophy? How would you handle the -Kobayashi Muru- reference scenario question?
Glassdoor: For larger public library systems, you might find an entry on Glassdoor. Descriptions include the interview process, personal account of the interview experience, was employment offered, and starting salary range may be listed for the job. Interview questions may be listed, but nevertheless, a good primer to start with.
Florida State Library and Technology Jobs LibGuide: This is an extremely detailed and thorough library guide that Florida State has assembled and deserves more than a cursory glance. Check out the side hyperlinks and read the advice/tips from the FSU Career Center. For those of you about to enter the job market, check out the top tabs that provide advice on resumes, cover letters. Another must read section is the Job Offer tab. Know your worth!