Common Interview Questions: Ace the (Library) Interview Part 5

Common Interview Questions–How Common Are They?

It is no secret that interview questions get recycled over and over again.  It is has become almost cliche to ask a candidate their strengths and weaknesses.  But what other common interview questions should you be prepared to answer?  Over the years I have collected some interview questions that are a good place to start when thinking about what to be prepared to answer.

  • Tell me about your greatest strength/greatest weakness?
  •  Tell us about a difficult person that you had to deal with on the job.  How did you handle that person?
  •  Why do you want to work here?
  •  Tell us about your work on library committees and task forces.
  •  Can you tell us about a situation in which you wished you had acted differently?
  •  Have you ever been in a situation where you had limited resources available to get the job done?  What did you do?  What was the result?
  •  Describe a situation in which the project assigned to you was completely new.  How did you go about learning more about this subject/project?
  •  Tell us about a project that you generated on your own.  What prompted you to begin the project?  What was the result?
  •  Have you ever recognized a recurring problem in a system (note:  system here does not necessarily mean IT, but rather a complex, interactive workflow) and identified a solution?  Describe the process and result.
  •  Tell us about a situation on you job when you were placed under a lot of pressure.  What happened?
  •  With what other departments do you frequently interface in your current job?  How often and under what conditions?
  •  Can you tell us about a time when you felt that a patron’s request was unreasonable?
  •  Have you done any public or group speaking?  (provide examples)
  •  What sort of writing do you do on the job?
  •  In your current job, how do you keep track of the various activities that you (and your staff, if applicable) are involved in?
  •  Describe a typical day.
  •  What are the most important changes going on in your organization
  •  What do you like best about your job?  What do you like least?

Common Interview Questions–How to Answer Them:

So how do you answer common interview questions, or any interview questions for that matter?  Just as in your resume and cover letter, interviewers are often looking for specifics. They are looking for data.  They are looking for numbers.  They are looking for specific examples of your experience.  They are looking for a full picture.  They are looking for how your experience translates to their organization.

Common Interview Questions–Help Me Build My List!

Have you identified a common interview question missing from the list?  Please share it with me!  Leave a comment on this post or use my contact form.

Continue to Part 6:  Assessment

This is the fifth in a six part series that provides useful tips for interviews. Although provided in the context of interviewing for professional library jobs, the information in this series has application for other industries as well.

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3 thoughts on “Common Interview Questions: Ace the (Library) Interview Part 5

  1. I was asked the following: What would you do to actively increase the library’s users? I’d only had a day to research and prepare but hadn’t given that a thought. I took it for granted that since it was a college library everyone wanted to use the lib. Turns out I was wrong & they were struggling to find users. Talk about thinking on your feet! :p

    • Thanks for your comment, which I like both because it gives a great question I hadn’t thought about and because it underscores the importance of being able to think on your feet. Of course it’s great to be prepared but also necessary to be able to be flexible with all kinds of questions.


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