Thursday, 13 March 2014

Chapter Review: Interviews

Chapter Review
Book Title: What do Employers want? A guide for Library Science Students
Authors: Priscilla K. Shontz and Richard A. Murray

Publication Date: 2012

Chapter 10: Interviews

This chapter describes types of job interviews and advice on how to get through one successfully.

Take-away Points:
Interviews are inherently stressful, but applicants should take confidence in the fact that they beat out many other applicants to make it to this point. When a search committee sends you a list of potential interview times do you best to choose one, it would be easier to manipulate your schedule than to ask them to manipulate the schedules of four or five people. While it is smart to have some notes available during a phone interview, don’t write a script; it’s important that the conversation flows and does not feel forced. Even if the interviewer does not ask directly, have your “describe a time when…” questions prepared. Feel free to have questions prepared from your interpretation of the job description. It is okay to ask if you answered the question completely, or if they can repeat the question. It is a good idea to pause before answering a question in order to compose yourself; during a panel situation start off looking at the person who asked the question, after the first sentence look at the rest of the panel. Always remember that even during day long interviews, nothing is off the record. You should endeavor to be warm and personable yet professional and respectful. When interviewing at a place where you would be the only librarian, keep library jargon and acronyms to a minimum. There is no way that you can be successful without doing background research, it will help you ask better questions and be engaged in subsequent conversations; remember no questions translates to “not interested”. When all else fails, you can ask, “what do you like about working here?” Bring a portfolio with materials to take notes and mints (not gum) to keep you prepared and throughout the interview. Another thing to remember is that you can make up for not having the most experience by being enthusiastic, speaking cogently about topics, and knowing why the job is important.

This chapter mentions Skype as a form of telephone interviewing. Their advice about looking into the camera rather than at the screen would have been helpful when I Skype interviewed with the Houston Public Library. I read a few blogs about Skype interviewing and none mentioned that tip. I was surprised when I read that it is acceptable to send one thank you note to the group who interviewed you. In the past, I had been stressed about remembering everyone’s name, but this tip would take me off of the hook. Also, it is worth it to send a handwritten note, rather than an email. There were a lot of friendly reminders in this chapter about dressing appropriately and being pleasant during the interview. I think this is standard interview advice for any profession.

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