Interview Introspection

10 Aug

As many of you know, I just got a new job within my library as the, wait for it, library director!  This comes as no bigger shock to me as I have a number of years of library experience, but little to no supervisor experience, budgeting experience, etc.  I was quite sure I wasn’t going to get the job, but when the opportunity presented itself, I knew I had to at least try and go from there.

I’ve been a children’s librarian for eight years in my current library, starting work (luckily) right out of graduate school. Prior to that, I had been volunteering and working part-time in libraries since the age of 14.  So, at this point I’ve been working in libraries for over half my life… I’m only 31.  I basically live and breathe books.  And I think that is what got me my new job.  I am extremely passionate about libraries, specifically public libraries and what they can offer a community.  Do I know all the details of supervising staff, maintaining a budget and dealing with unhappy customers?  Maybe not, but I love to learn and am always looking for a new challenge – and this is definitely going to be challenging!

As I was updating my resume and preparing for my interview, I think a few of these tips and tricks really helped me out:

  • Volunteer your time for your state association, your local chapter, ALA, etc.  Being able to create connections and getting your name out there as someone whose willing to work hard and get things done is always a good thing.
  • Look for opportunities to increase your experience and your knowledge.  I may not have a ton of experience, but I have a second master’s degree in public administration, I’ve been involved in a number of leadership programs both locally and nationally and I’m constantly taking online courses and seminars to better my understanding.  This drive for learning can show respective employers that you value hard work and aren’t afraid to ask for help when needed.
  • Check online for “typical” interview questions and practice!  I did a lot of research as I was preparing for my interview, looking at typical interview questions and actually typing up answers so that I could refer to them as I was preparing.  This definitely helped as the interview process included a number of questions I already had answers to.
  • Don’t be afraid to show your passion.  My favorite story to tell is how I became a librarian which involved me begging and pleading my local librarians to start working at the library at the age of seven.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get to start volunteering until 14, but I think people really enjoy hearing your journey to becoming a librarian and from what I know about our profession – everyone’s journey is a little different.  But as cliche as it sounds, I say in my interviews that libraries are exactly where I’m supposed to be, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
  • Be prepared for this specific questions with an interesting and knowledgeable answer!  “What are you currently reading?” Does it have to be what you’re reading at that exact second, no.  But you do need to know the title, author and a synopsis that really grabs the attention of your interviewers.

Good luck on your next job interview and if you have any other tips and tricks that work for you, leave a comment to share!

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2 Responses to “Interview Introspection”

  1. Becky Ginther August 10, 2016 at 11:25 am #

    Thanks, I may need these tips! 😉

  2. Marcia Strykowski August 10, 2016 at 5:20 pm #

    Good for you, congratulations!

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