Assessing Job Interviews: Ace the (Library) Interview, Part 6

The Importance of Assessing Job Interviews:

This month I have dedicated my posts to job interviewing.  Topics have included the importance of knowing the organization, evaluating “fit,” preparing for common questions and knowing which questions to ask.  With interviewing practice makes perfect.  Like many skills, interviewing is something that you get better at each time you do it.  This final installment of the “Ace the (Library) Interview” series is about evaluating the process.

Points for assessing interviews include fit,

How Assessing Job Interviews is Done:

The process of job interview assessment is quite simple.  After the interview, take a few minutes to objectively evaluate how it went.  Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What three things worked well?
  • What three things might be improved?
  • How well would fit in the organization?
  • Would you be happy in this job?  Why or why not?

The more you know about yourself in terms of how you interview and what type of organization you would like to work in the better your chances of landing your dream job.

The Result of Assessing Job Interviews:

By paying attention to the process you will see your interview skills improve.  Paying attention to the process ultimately means you will be better able to choose the right job for yourself.  So the next time you have a job interview do yourself a favor and take a few moments to objectively evaluate the interview process.  By thinking  about what you might do differently (and what you would do the same) next time.

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This is the final 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.

What to Ask at a Job Interview: Ace the (Library) Interview, Part 4

Don’t know what to ask at a job interview?  Chances are your potential employer is going to expect some intelligent questions.  Thanks to a smart colleague, I am fortunate to be in possession of a list of great interview questions asked by candidates at numerous library job interviews.  This individual collected the good questions that she heard at interviews–both as a candidate and interviewer–and shared them with me.  Over the past couple of decades I have added to the list.  Now here they are, shared publicly for the first time:
  • What one word describes the atmosphere here?
  • What is the most important or most pressing issue for you related to the library?
  •  What library resources do you personally use most?
  •  What qualities do you look for in library staff at any level?
  •  How do faculty use the library?
  •  Please describe the communication flow within the library, between departments (e.g. formal, informal, talk, meetings, etc.).  How does this translate to workflows?  How could this be improved?
  •  How do committees work within the library?
  •  Who is your ideal candidate for this position?
  •  What is a key quality for someone to succeed in this position?
  •  What is the most crucial skill/personality trait for someone to succeed at this position?
  •  How does the collection development process work?
  •  If someone has an idea, for instance about a possible process or procedure improvement, how is it usually introduced?
  •  Once a change is made how is it implemented with staff?
  •  Could you describe the interaction with various libraries at XXX?
  •  We have all worked at different libraries—what makes xxx different?
  •  What are some qualities of supervisors here or elsewhere with whom you have worked which you think are valuable?
  •  How often are intralibrary meetings held—for supervisors? for all staff? within departments?
  •  With small staff, limited resources, etc., what are some ways to keep everyone going when things are really busy?
  •  What is the support for professional activities and involvement?
  •  How would you describe [boss]’s management style?
  •  What responsibilities do you envision this position undertaking?
  •  What is important for new employees at xxx library to know?
  •  What are the most important skills to have here at xx library?
  •  What are the projects or goals for the upcoming year library wide?  What are they for [role you are applying for]?
  •  What are the top issues facing the library this year?
  •  What is your management style?
  •  How do you keep morale/motivation up?
  •  Where does the process go from here?
  •  What is the library’s five year plan?  What is [boss]’s five year plan for the department/division?
  •  What are the library/department’s top projects at the moment?
  •  Any other positions which were created and filled recently?
  •  Qualities or one significant quality of successful [position you are applying for] in the past here?
  •  What projects or roles would you like to see [position you are applying for] take on in the next year? beyond?

This list is by no means meant to be comprehensive, but rather should get candidates thinking about what to ask at a job interview.  Got any other great questions I have missed?  I would love to hear them.

 Continue to Part Five:  Common Interview Questions

This is the fourth 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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Organizational Fit: Ace the (Library) Interview, Part 3

What is Organizational Fit:

During an interview potential employers will be evaluating how well you fit with the mission, vision, values and style of the organization, and you as the candidate should be determining how well the organization fits with your personal and professional values and style.

How to Judge Organizational Fit:

One test for considering fit is commonly known as the “airport test.”  The person who is interviewing you may be thinking, “If I were on a business trip with this person and our flight were delayed, would I be comfortable spending a few hours in an airport with this person?”  And you should be thinking about this, too.
Inc.com recently published, “8 Questions Every Candidate Should Ask During Job Interviews,” which directly addresses fit and is worth a look.  Answers to questions like, “what would I be doing to make your job easier?” and “How does this library measure success?” can help you to assess if the job is right for you.  Fast Company has some great questions that really get at a company’s culture that can further assist you in determining how you’d fit in an organization.

Why Consider Organizational Fit?

Job interviews aren’t just about selling yourself; they are also about making a really important decision.  Asking the right questions can provide you with the appropriate data to do that.

Continue to Part 4:  What to Ask at An Interview.

 

To comment, click on the speech bubble to the right
 of the blog post title (or click “leave a reply” at the 
end of the post), then click on the tiny orange speech 
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This is the third 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.

Interview Research: Ace the (Library) Interview, Part 2

Interview Research:  Know the Brand

One of the most important notions to convey during an interview is that you have a solid understanding of the organisation where you are interviewing.  You must know who they are and what is important to them.  In a recent Huffington Post article, Ariel Foxman from inStyle provides some excellent tips for job interviews, among them:  know the brand.

Why Conduct Interview Research?:

Without this solid understanding it is impossible to talk about your knowledge, skills and abilities in the appropriate context.  Employers want to know that you care enough about getting the job that researched the organization. They want to know that you understand who they are and what they do.

How to Conduct Interview Research:

Luckily, researching organizations is pretty easy to do.  Check the library’s website.  Spend some time playing with their discovery tool.  Read the library’s mission statement.  If the library is part of a larger organization check out the strategy of that as well.

Continue to Part 3: Organizational Fit

This is the second 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.

To comment, click on the speech bubble to the right
 of the blog post title (or click “leave a reply” at the 
end of the post), then click on the tiny orange speech 
bubble to the left at the bottom of the post.  
Thanks, and I look forward to hearing what you have to say!

 

How to Ace a Library Job Interview: An Overview

New Series:  How to Ace a Library Job Interview

Happy New Year!  If, like many people, you have resolved to find a new job in 2015 you have come to the right place.  It is only natural that as a coach I would help a lot of clients who are on the job market–coaches help people in transition, and one of the biggest transitions is finding a new job.  I am happy to present this five part series on job searching (some virtual mentoring) to share with a broader audience the tips and advice that my clients have found useful.

  • Part one addresses some practical approaches to the application packet.
  • Part two describes the single most important thing to demonstrate in any library job interview:  that you understand the organization.
  • Part three discusses the importance of fit, and how you can determine if a job is right for you.
  • Part four lists some questions to ask at your next library job interview.
  • Part five provides some common questions to be prepared to answer.
  • Part six explains an important but often overlooked part of the interview:  the debrief.

Need More Information?

As you go through these posts I am happy to answer any questions you have on library job interviews through my comments form.  Stay tuned for part two, and learn how to present the best resume/CV and cover letter you can!

Go to Part 1:  Resumes and Cover Letters

This is the first in a five 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.