Okay, tumblarians, I need your help. In approximately ONE WEEK, I have my first real library interview. I’ve worked in an academic library before but they essentially just gave me the job because they knew me really well. This position is a graduate hourly position for the summer and I cannot…
My advice is: be prepared & do your research. Review the library organization’s website. Be prepared to talk about the organization, the departments and services you would be supporting, and why you want to work for/with them. If possible, track down the library’s strategic reports, org charts, mission statement, and any other info you can find that will give you insight into what they value, how their organization operates and what projects or initiatives they are working on. Make sure to fully understand what your job and role in the library will be and, if it is not clear from the job description, ask questions. I can tell you, I have lead and sat on a couple of academic library search committees over the past couple of years and I have seen quite a few candidates blow it when they were asked the simple question “so why do you want to work for us specifically?” or “why did you apply for this position”
Also, be prepared to ask questions at the end of the interview.
Example: When they finish grilling you during the interview and they ask “now, do you have any questions for us” your best response is “Yes, I was reviewing your website/touring your library in preparation for the interview and I noticed that… [reference something you found important when researching the organization]”
Through this short, seemingly meaningless sentence, you have indicated to your potential employer that you:
- You really want to work for them (and only them. Employers have big egos that need stroking now again.)
- That you have done your prep work to learn who they are as an organization.
- You are a professional who takes your job seriously.
- You have your “eyes on the big picture” and you are interested in the library profession as a whole.
- You have an demonstrated interest in learning new things.
Lastly, make sure to reference your tech skills. Employers love to exploit tech skills.
Best of luck with the interview. I am sure you will do great!
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