Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Library Interview Tips

Do your research:
  1. Know what the institution is about, its goals and history.  During the question and answer period it’s good to be able to talk about specifics. Be aware of recent awards and upcoming events. 
  2. Show some forethought, even if it's just a page position.  When asked if you have questions, ask about something that is coming up in the pipeline for them.  Scan the news, their website and their fliers; many institutions strive to convey their triumphs to their patron base.
Take inventory of yourself:
  1. Don't just play up your library skills and knowledge.  Even if you haven't finished your certificate there are other skills you could relate that could be applicable to the position.
  2. How do your previous experiences relate to this library and its functions?  Before the interview think of your current skills and successes at work, then relate them to the library you will be interviewing for.
  3. To expand on the first two points, what other skills do you have: phone skills, handling money, handling difficult people?  These are some skills that may come into use for a position that simply lists job duties as shelving and clerical work.
Sell yourself:
  1. Be yourself. Put your best foot forward to be someone the interviewer would want to work with.
  2. Dress a level above what you see in the workplace.  Some libraries have a relaxed dress code for work. You may see librarians and technical staff in jeans and t-shirts.  But for the interview dress it up a little to show a level of professionalism.
  3. Greet everyone professionally, that "patron" you ignore standing at the desk could be your future boss.  In the excitement and nervousness of a pending job interview it's easy to have tunnel vision, focusing on what you've prepared to say and what questions might come up, but be friendly and open to those around you.  You never know whose input may count when they sit down to decide between candidates.

Here are a few web pages for review.  Some of these tips are for librarian positions, but they will help you stand out from other candidates.

Also check out this previous PCC Lib Tech Blog post regarding interviews:

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