ALCTS New Members Interest Group

Chat: September Chat - Interviewing for a Professional Position

  • 1.  Chat: September Chat - Interviewing for a Professional Position

    Posted Sep 13, 2012 01:03 PM
    Sep 13 2012 12:50PM Elizabeth Siler: This chat is scheduled to start in 10 minutes.
    Sep 13 2012 1:00PM Deana Groves: Hi everyone thanks for joining us today for the ANMIG September chat! The topic today is tips for a successful job interview.
    Sep 13 2012 1:00PM Deana Groves: I am your host, Deana, and Liz is assisting with technical support. Hi Liz! I am your host, Deana, and Liz is assisting with technical support. Hi Liz!
    Sep 13 2012 1:00PM Elizabeth Siler: Hi Deana! I'm very excited for this chat session!
    Sep 13 2012 1:01PM Deana Groves: sorry about the double post...
    Sep 13 2012 1:01PM Deana Groves: There will be an archived link for this chat made available at a later date.
    Sep 13 2012 1:01PM Deana Groves: So you have the interview, now what?!? Let’s first talk about how to prepare.
    Sep 13 2012 1:02PM Deana Groves: One sure fire bet is you better Google them because they will Google you for sure!
    Sep 13 2012 1:03PM Elizabeth Siler: What kind of information should we be looking for once we Google?
    Sep 13 2012 1:03PM Deana Groves: It's always a good idea to take a good look at the website and make note of any newsworthy items, are they opening a new branch? Launching a new product?
    Sep 13 2012 1:03PM Elizabeth Siler: Okay great!
    Sep 13 2012 1:03PM Deana Groves: Come prepared and show you made the effort, but don’t overdo it and sound like you know everything about the place. A few points for conversation will be good.
    Sep 13 2012 1:04PM Deana Groves: I've seen candidates asked their opinion if the library is currently in a decision making stage – don’t get caught off guard!
    Sep 13 2012 1:05PM Deana Groves: Has anyone else been asked specific questions during an interview? How did you prepare?
    Sep 13 2012 1:06PM Elizabeth Siler: You are often asked to describe a problem you've had and how you resolved it. Be sure to have specific answers to questions ready.
    Sep 13 2012 1:06PM Anthony Ubelhor: Last week I was aked how I would go about designing a specific curriculum for nursing students. That caught me falt-footed.
    Sep 13 2012 1:07PM Deana Groves: Remember sometimes is't okay to say I'm not sure, or take a minute to think before you respond.
    Sep 13 2012 1:07PM Deana Groves: Usually they are looking for a true opinion and it's not a test to see if you can think quick on your feet!
    Sep 13 2012 1:08PM Rohana Chomick: That's good to know.
    Sep 13 2012 1:08PM Elizabeth Siler: Also if it is subject specific position be sure to research some resources related to that subject.
    Sep 13 2012 1:08PM Deana Groves: I once heard a candidate admit to not looking at the library website because he didn't want to come off knowing too much...
    Sep 13 2012 1:09PM Deana Groves: he ended up looking like he was not really interested in the job or working for our library.
    Sep 13 2012 1:10PM Deana Groves: Personnaly I feel a little creepy if someone comes in knowing all sorts of things about what I've done professionally, so a little can go a long way!
    Sep 13 2012 1:10PM Rose Asuquo: A friend of mine was told to create a story telling session including finger play for a childrens librarian position. She was so nervous that she could not pull it through
    Sep 13 2012 1:11PM Anthony Ubelhor: I think I made that mistake, Deana. I researched one interview committee so much that I think I came across as a bit sychophantic.
    Sep 13 2012 1:11PM Deana Groves: It is very common in academics to ask someone to teach a session, but usually the candidate is given this info before arriving so there is time to prepare.
    Sep 13 2012 1:11PM Deana Groves: Yep Anthony, it can be a fine line :-)
    Sep 13 2012 1:12PM Deana Groves: Rose, did your friend know ahead of time that was going to be expected?
    Sep 13 2012 1:12PM Elizabeth Siler: They will know that you are nervous but I've found the more prepared you are the better your presentation will be and the nerves won't be sobad.
    Sep 13 2012 1:13PM Rohana Chomick: Are these types of presentations often required for public library positions?
    Sep 13 2012 1:13PM Rose Asuquo: I don't think she did. In retrospect, I think that that she did not research the process for the interview with the Librarians that were already employed in that position
    Sep 13 2012 1:14PM Deana Groves: Rohana, I don't think so, anyone have experiences?
    Sep 13 2012 1:15PM Rose Asuquo: I remember that I was asked about the different processes for collections management and how to shelf read.
    Sep 13 2012 1:15PM Deana Groves: Here is a typical academic interview schedule:
    Sep 13 2012 1:15PM Erin Boyd: I think presentations are typically reserved for academic positions. Public libraries focus on meetings with the library director and/or a human resources rep.
    Sep 13 2012 1:16PM Rohana Chomick: Thanks, Erin.
    Sep 13 2012 1:16PM Deana Groves: Here is our typical interview schedule: Arrive night before, tour town, have dinner with faculty Day of: 8:30am tour library 9:00 meet VP of Academic Affairs 10:30 presentation to library and faculty staff Noon lunch with 2 search committee members 1:30 meet with full search committee 2:30 meet with department head 3:30 meet with library dean 4:30 to hotel 6pm dinner with 2 committee members Depart next morning You will be exhausted! Stay hydrated!
    Sep 13 2012 1:16PM Marta-Kate Jackson: I had to prepare a brief presentation for a public library youth librarian position on how I would implement/highlight early literarcy skills into programs and services, but I was told this would be expected when I was offered an interview.
    Sep 13 2012 1:16PM Elizabeth Siler: Yes and take breaks when they will be happy that you did.
    Sep 13 2012 1:17PM Rohana Chomick: Good to know, Mary-Kate.
    Sep 13 2012 1:17PM Rohana Chomick: Sorry. Marta-Kate.
    Sep 13 2012 1:17PM Deana Groves: I like to think it would be unusual to have to come up with presentation/program on the spot.
    Sep 13 2012 1:18PM Rose Asuquo: I hope so
    Sep 13 2012 1:18PM Deana Groves: What about how to present yourself at the interciew?
    Sep 13 2012 1:19PM Elizabeth Howard: I keep getting automatically kicked out of the acceptable candidates due to lack of experience. A university library in the area wants 3 years experience. I contacted the HR group to tell them what my experience entailed but they said that time was a hard line they were not willing to bend.
    Sep 13 2012 1:19PM Erin Boyd: Presentations depend on the type of position you are applying for, and the person that is scheduling the interview should let you know if they expect you to do any type of presentation so you can be prepared. It is a way for them to see if how you compose yourself speaking in front of a group of people.
    Sep 13 2012 1:19PM Rebecca Kelley: Is this type of schedule common for entry level positions?
    Sep 13 2012 1:20PM Crystal Applegarth: Elizabeth, lack of experience is a killer for me as well.
    Sep 13 2012 1:20PM Deana Groves: Elizabeth, it all depends on how the job add reads. We can not longer have "desired" qualifications, it has to be "required" so that is the hard line we are now dealing with.
    Sep 13 2012 1:20PM Crystal Applegarth: Deana, why is it "required" now and no longer "desired"?
    Sep 13 2012 1:21PM Deana Groves: The schedule I outlined is for an entry level in an academic library
    Sep 13 2012 1:21PM Anthony Ubelhor: Elizabeth--I've managed to get around the experience requirement by acknowledging in my cover letter that I don't have the experience, but then pointing out how other experience is easily transferable to specific goals they have.
    Sep 13 2012 1:21PM Deana Groves: Sad to say, but it came down to legal issues...
    Sep 13 2012 1:21PM Erin Boyd: For the position I am currently in, my interview spread over 2 days.
    Sep 13 2012 1:21PM Rohana Chomick: Good point, Anthony.
    Sep 13 2012 1:21PM Elizabeth Siler: My position is entry level it was a day long interview as well.
    Sep 13 2012 1:22PM Rebecca Kelley: Thanks! I'm preparing for my first post-graduate position. They are emailing me a schedule, but haven't received it yet.
    Sep 13 2012 1:22PM Deana Groves: It's important to remember to put your best foot forward with each person you talk to during your interview because they all get together afterwards to discuss.
    Sep 13 2012 1:23PM Deana Groves: Congrats Rebecca, good luck!
    Sep 13 2012 1:23PM Erin Boyd: And as Deana mentioned, stay hydrated because you will talk A LOT! Also, make sure to wear comfortable shoes because the tour across campus will seem extremely long with shoes that may look pretty but are killing your feet.
    Sep 13 2012 1:24PM Deana Groves: And remember to leave your personal style at home, a nice bold accent would be okay, but conservative is the name of the game.
    Sep 13 2012 1:25PM Anthony Ubelhor: I'm having trouble getting past the phone interview stage...Any tips there?
    Sep 13 2012 1:25PM Crystal Applegarth: Erin, you brought up shoes. I know in past decades it was rule never to wear open toed shoes. Is that still the "rule" today for interviews and even just everyday job attire?
    Sep 13 2012 1:25PM Elizabeth Siler: During in the phone interview I've found that is important to be as enthusiastic about the position as you can.
    Sep 13 2012 1:26PM Deana Groves: Be sure you are on task with all aspects outlined in the job ad - if you are missing the mark on just one thing, it can knock you out of the running.
    Sep 13 2012 1:26PM Elizabeth Siler: Libraries won't want to bring you in if you sound uninterested.
    Sep 13 2012 1:26PM Thomas Little: More specifically, for a man interviewing for an academic position at a small liberal arts college, what is the most typical or recommended outfit? A suit seems out of place.
    Sep 13 2012 1:26PM Africa Hands: Regarding style of dress...there was a survey recently conducted and the results posted on this blog: Interesting thoughts on what's appropriate.
    Sep 13 2012 1:26PM Deana Groves: Thomas, you can't go wrong with a suit!
    Sep 13 2012 1:27PM Erin Boyd: Crystal, f or an interview I would suggest a nice flat for ladies, and some type of loafer or lace up shoe for gentlemen.
    Sep 13 2012 1:28PM Deana Groves: Crystal, I don't think as much is put on which shoes you wear, comfort is essential!
    Sep 13 2012 1:28PM Erin Boyd: As for the workplace, I have worn open-toed shoes to work. Once you get a feel for your work environment, see what your coworkers are wearing or if there are any institution rules you'll know what's best.
    Sep 13 2012 1:28PM Deana Groves: True Erin, I wouldn't come in 3 in heels!
    Sep 13 2012 1:29PM Deana Groves: Be careul with smells too - Do not wear scented fragrances – some people are allergic and some just don’t appreciate!
    Sep 13 2012 1:29PM Crystal Applegarth: I wouldn't either. I would fall and break my neck wearing 3 in heels. 1 - 1 1/2 in heels is about max for me
    Sep 13 2012 1:30PM Erin Boyd: Africa, thanks for sharing that link!
    Sep 13 2012 1:30PM Crystal Applegarth: I understand the scents part. I had a professor once who had bad asthma and if someone came in with a strong scent it sent him off into an attack.
    Sep 13 2012 1:30PM Africa Hands: Very welcome.
    Sep 13 2012 1:30PM Rohana Chomick: Yes, Africa, thanks for the link.
    Sep 13 2012 1:31PM Deana Groves: Also, if you buy a new outfit, wear it at least once so you know that you will be comfortable and there are no wardrobe malfunction issues!
    Sep 13 2012 1:32PM Rohana Chomick: Good idea, Deana. I hadn't thought of that.
    Sep 13 2012 1:32PM Anthony Ubelhor: In one F2F interview, the dean came down on me because the color of my shirt was the same as their school's principle rival. I just looked at him like WTF? I knew I'd blown the job at that point.
    Sep 13 2012 1:32PM Africa Hands: If you have a chance, visit the school, library before your interview to get a feel for how others dress. Scope it out.
    Sep 13 2012 1:33PM Elizabeth Siler: If the library is in your town it is good to visit before hand so you aren't nervous about getting lost before hand and you have a feel for hte library.
    Sep 13 2012 1:33PM Deana Groves: Wow Anthony, maybe you didn't need to work there anyway! Remember it is a two way interview, you have the right to ask questions as well.
    Sep 13 2012 1:34PM Erin Boyd: I had a F2F interview where they asked me which instate rival football team I pulled for. I knew they were just trying to break the ice.
    Sep 13 2012 1:34PM Africa Hands: Yes, that's something to be aware of, especially in smaller towns where rivalries are fierce.
    Sep 13 2012 1:35PM Erin Boyd: They laughed when I answered with my alma mater (which was out of state).
    Sep 13 2012 1:35PM Elizabeth Siler: It is good to have some small talk topics to discuss because there will be a lot of down time during the interview
    Sep 13 2012 1:35PM Africa Hands: Erin: For some it's a make or break sort of question. I've heard stories...
    Sep 13 2012 1:36PM Deana Groves: True Liz, especailly walking from place to place.
    Sep 13 2012 1:36PM Deana Groves: You will probably be taken out to eat, don’t drink alcohol, save that for when you return to your hotel that night!
    Sep 13 2012 1:36PM Erin Boyd: That could be a good time to ask what the city is like, good places to eat/hang out or nice areas to live.
    Sep 13 2012 1:37PM Deana Groves: We try to give candidates a tour of our community and point out housing options
    Sep 13 2012 1:38PM Deana Groves: if you accept the job, that may be your only opportunity to see the place before you move there
    Sep 13 2012 1:40PM Deana Groves: So, what happens after the interview is over? Wait, wait, wait so don't be alarmed if you dont hear back within a week or two.
    Sep 13 2012 1:40PM Tiffany Niem: What sort of questions might be asked for an academic entry level position? How do we make "conversation" with the search committee members but also stay focused making a professional impression?
    Sep 13 2012 1:41PM Deana Groves: Tiffany, some specific to the job: how would you deal with an angry professor who wanted to check out a rare book.
    Sep 13 2012 1:41PM Elizabeth Siler: The questions will often be related to that specific position and how your experiences makes you a good candidate for the position.
    Sep 13 2012 1:42PM Deana Groves: and some general, tell us about your professional goals.
    Sep 13 2012 1:42PM Elizabeth Siler: Be sure to have specific examples of past experiences that relate to the position.
    Sep 13 2012 1:42PM Erin Boyd: Or where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years.
    Sep 13 2012 1:42PM Elizabeth Siler: And the ever popular what are your strengths and weaknesses.
    Sep 13 2012 1:44PM Thomas Little: So how does one deal with the Gordian Knot type interview question with no clear answer and a lot of competing problems?
    Sep 13 2012 1:44PM Deana Groves: one that we ask is what aspects of your professional competencies would you most like to improve... it's tough but tells a lot about a candidate.
    Sep 13 2012 1:45PM Deana Groves: Those are hard Thomas, I've found myself trying to hard to answer an open ended question that I actually forgot what the question was!
    Sep 13 2012 1:46PM Elizabeth Siler: You should just answer the best that you can. Keep in mind that the interviewers are not trying to trick you.
    Sep 13 2012 1:46PM Thomas Little: ...and by Gordian Knot interview question, I mean the, "What would you do in this unwinable situation?" question.
    Sep 13 2012 1:47PM Crystal Applegarth: As one interviewer told me: "There isn't a "right" answer, just what you think you would do in the situation"
    Sep 13 2012 1:47PM Deana Groves: I think it is important to give yourself a moment to think before you answer, that 30 seconds of silence will seem to last forever, but it is okay - better to have a good answer than just ramble around hoping to hit on an asnwer.
    Sep 13 2012 1:47PM Elizabeth Siler: That is a good point Crystal!
    Sep 13 2012 1:47PM Tiffany Niem: Thank you! As an aspiring academic librarian, I get the sense that we go with the flow and incorporate the experience we bring to the position they are hiring for. Thank you again for all your thoughts!
    Sep 13 2012 1:48PM Thomas Little: What are we actually supposed to say when asked about our biggest weakness?
    Sep 13 2012 1:48PM Deana Groves: be honest, maybe think about that question before your interviews so you have a good response if asked.
    Sep 13 2012 1:49PM Elizabeth Siler: Try to turn your weakness into a positive if you can.
    Sep 13 2012 1:49PM Deana Groves: and always follow up your weakness with how you would/or plan to improve.
    Sep 13 2012 1:49PM Deana Groves: Exactly Liz!
    Sep 13 2012 1:49PM Rohana Chomick: What do people want to hear when they ask you "where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years"? That question has always been a problem for me.
    Sep 13 2012 1:50PM Deana Groves: We always ask that too Rohanna!
    Sep 13 2012 1:50PM Thomas Little: I have a prepared answer, but it is really just a stealthy way to present a strength. It just seems like a dishonest and meaningless little exchange when it comes up.
    Sep 13 2012 1:51PM Deana Groves: We look for interest in getting involved in library associations, what type of research you might be interested in getting involve with
    Sep 13 2012 1:51PM Africa Hands: So true, Thomas.
    Sep 13 2012 1:51PM Elizabeth Siler: I agree Thomas. It isn't a great question because you rarely get an honest answer.
    Sep 13 2012 1:52PM Rohana Chomick: Thanks, Deana.
    Sep 13 2012 1:52PM Deana Groves: would you like to be a manager one day? Get more involved with the teaching side of librarianship.
    Sep 13 2012 1:52PM Rose Asuquo: T hanks for that point Deana
    Sep 13 2012 1:53PM Erin Boyd: I was asked that questions--if I saw myself moving up into a management position (dept. head, director, dean).
    Sep 13 2012 1:53PM Deana Groves: I don't think you have to have a specific answer or grand plans, this gives us a sense that you are willing to move ahead in your career.
    Sep 13 2012 1:54PM Rohana Chomick: OK.
    Sep 13 2012 1:55PM Deana Groves: I wanted to touch again on what happens after the interview, Sometimes it is okay for you to follow-up on the progress of the search – ask at the interview if you can contact them to inquire. Wait at least two weeks and send your inquiry via email, not a phone call.
    Sep 13 2012 1:56PM Rohana Chomick: Why not a phone call?
    Sep 13 2012 1:56PM Elizabeth Siler: Be sure to send a thank you note either via email or snail mail alos.
    Sep 13 2012 1:56PM Deana Groves: Rohanna, everyone is busy and it's much easier to read and respond thatn take a call sometimes. Plus, if it's not good news, it can be awkward.
    Sep 13 2012 1:57PM Rohana Chomick: Good point. Thanks.
    Sep 13 2012 1:57PM Deana Groves: Be aware there are lots of hoops to jump through in Academics so the process will seem to take forever.
    Sep 13 2012 1:57PM Deana Groves: And then sometimes offers are made and turned down, at that point the search committee will have to submit more paperwork to HR to request to offer to next candidate in line. All time consuming activities…
    Sep 13 2012 1:58PM Crystal Applegarth: In my experience so far, public libaries take a long time as well.
    Sep 13 2012 1:58PM Erin Boyd: and budgest.
    Sep 13 2012 1:58PM Erin Boyd: *budgets
    Sep 13 2012 1:58PM Deana Groves: I fear that many times if you are not offered the job, you may never hear back, period.In my opinion that is rude, but I know it happens.
    Sep 13 2012 1:58PM Rohana Chomick: Crystal, I had heard it was a fairly short time in public libraries.
    Sep 13 2012 1:59PM Deana Groves: A colleague recommends this site if you find you have other questions, and yes, she gets responses to her questions!
    Sep 13 2012 2:00PM Deana Groves: Looks like time is up, thanks everyone for joining us today and good luck on that next interview!
    Sep 13 2012 2:00PM Rebecca Kelley: Thanks for all your advice!
    Sep 13 2012 2:00PM Crystal Applegarth: I'm sure it is shorter than academic libraries. Maybe it partially depends on when library board meetings are for final approval.
    Sep 13 2012 2:00PM Rose Asuquo: Thanks Deana
    Sep 13 2012 2:00PM Thomas Little: I agree, Deana. I really appreciate hearing no, especially if I have interviewed.
    Sep 13 2012 2:00PM Rohana Chomick: Thank you!
    Sep 13 2012 2:00PM Crystal Applegarth: Yes, thanks for all the advice
    Sep 13 2012 2:00PM Marta-Kate Jackson: Thanks for the helpful info!
    Sep 13 2012 2:00PM Elizabeth Howard: Thank you for your time and advice
    Sep 13 2012 2:01PM Tiffany Niem: Thank you so much!
    Sep 13 2012 2:01PM Deana Groves: It's been fun! Feel free to contact me if you have other questions:
    Sep 13 2012 2:02PM Elizabeth Siler: Thank you everyone for joining us for this chat! Thank you Deana for hosting!
    Sep 13 2012 2:02PM Erin Boyd: Thanks and great job!
    Sep 13 2012 2:02PM Deana Groves: Thanks back to you Liz!
    Sep 13 2012 2:02PM Elizabeth Siler: Have a great rest of the week everyone!