The Interview: Getting Ready for the Show


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A workshop for ALA Midwinter 2014, from the authors of Career Q&A: A Librarian's Real Life, Practical Guide to Managing a Successful Career.

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  • What we plan on doing for this workshop (show brief outline)Chapter on interviewing… We understand that all interviews will be different, and interviews at different types of institutions will have their own flavor and may be radically different from one another, and we will address those as they come up, but we want to focus on more general (important) interview tips. Before we jump into interviews, we want to get you warmed up. So, congratulations! You have an interview. Fantastic! The first thing we want you to do is to take a few minutes and think about (and write down) your own personal elevator pitch, or 30-second commercial. In one or two sentences (three , if you have to) come up with your introduction. It should include your name, maybe your title (general or broad), what you do (or would like to do) and .. .?
  • Your elevator pitch can also double as your "Tell me a little about yourself" answer during a job interview. If you are looking for a job, repeating your elevator pitch to yourself at the start of every day can be a quick but encouraging reminder of why you are the best at what you do.Make sure to practice saying it out loud and to tweak it to sound like normal speech. In other words, Don’t speak the way you write. Take no longer than 5-10 minutes… at the end, we will stop everyone and ask them to go around the room and introduce themselves, using their pitches, to 2-3people they don’t know.HANDSHAKES!!!
  • Remote interviewsWhat they are and why they are importantPhone interviewing tipsSkype / video interviewing tipsCommonly asked questions (for both online and in-person – be ready!)
  • Have an exercise on interviewing a partner (back to back) – may have to do it up front with us and volunteers. Need handout to give them with commonly asked questions. 10 minutes.For handout, check this out to see if it’s what you're thinking:
  • The final round. Usually, places bring in anywhere between 2-5 candidates for in-person interviewsPreparing for the in-person interviewWhat to expect from the organization (what should they provide you before your interview)
  • Answering behavior-based questionsStar Model
  • Have an exercise (bring handout) where they fill out the STAR model with different scenarios. Have a slide with an example on it. (10 minutes)
  • And, throw in a question or two that is specific about their library or institution. This shows your interviewers that you have done your research on them. For example:I see that the library has a Facebook page. Do you find that it is a successful marketing tool?I noticed that you offer drop-in sessions for students. Who teaches these and which ones are the most popular?Your LibGuides are very informative and well-designed. If I was hired, would I be able to create and maintain guides?
  • Concluding the InterviewQuestions to ask themTimeframesThanks youFollow up
  • The Interview: Getting Ready for the Show

    2. 2. Library Career People and Career Q&A
    3. 3. Today’s Agenda  Your 30-second commercial (elevator pitch)  Interviewing Remote interviews (telephone, Skype, etc)  In person interviews What to expect and how to prepare Interview prep  The STAR model What to wear (and what NOT to wear) What to bring Wrapping up the interview and next steps Conclusion and questions       
    4. 4. Your 30-second commercial Make a brief list for each of the following:     Things you LOVE about work Things you do best The type of environment you work best in What you find most important about work Questions to think about:  What is your career goal?  What skill, strength, or experience do you have that would help you realize that goal?  What accomplishment proves you have that skill, strength, or experience?  What are you searching for in a job?
    5. 5. Remote Interviews  By phone:  Usually all candidates are asked the same questions  Study your resume: be able to respond confidently about how your skills and background apply to the vacancy  Find a quiet place where you will not be disturbed for 2060 minutes  Dress professionally even though they can’t see you  Breathe and smile and enjoy yourself - it will come through in your voice
    6. 6. Remote Interviews  By Videoconference (Skype or similar)  Dress as though you are going to an interview  Sit at a desk or table with your materials within reach  Practice: ask a friend to do a dry run with you  Have a neutral background and decent lighting  Check the direction your web camera is facing (i.e., not up your nose), and remember to look into the camera (and smile!)  Have your materials - resume, job listing, etc. - out of sight in front of you, avoid shuffling papers - keep your attention on your audience  Relax, keep your answers brief, and use normal body language
    7. 7. In-Person Interviews  Can last a few hours, or all day  Know what is expected  Ask for an agenda, find out who you will meet  Will you be asked to do a presentation  Expect to meet with different people  Decision-maker (director)  Supervisors (upper/mid management)  Potential future colleagues and collaborators  Could involve  Serial one-on-one meetings  Group meetings  Tours  Social gatherings  Or a combination
    8. 8. In-Person Interviews  Group Interviews  Meet with 2-8 people (or more) all at once  Usually last at least an hour  Field several questions from each person in the room  An opportunity to get a sense of the institutional culture
    9. 9. Behavioral Questions: The STAR Model Situation Task Action Result Action Result Experience 1 Experience 2 Situation Task Needed to create a Write a communications newsletter, start a plan blog and Twitter feed Tapped colleagues 50% increase in for web design visits to our help and content library’s main website, via all outlets Redesigned a study space Surveyed current library users for ideas Select furniture, etc. to encourage study Profiled in local newspaper
    10. 10. Know Before You Go Try to gain an understanding of the institution and people you will meet with before the interview.  Check their website. Is there a: Mission statement  Org chart: tells you who reports to whom, indicates major departments  History of the organization  Bios of leaders  Statistics - number of students, size of the city/service area, circulation statistics, market share, etc. 
    11. 11. What to wear
    12. 12. What NOT to wear
    13. 13. Game Day  Essentials to bring with you (p. 61)  Copy of the job announcement  Your resume and cover letter, printed on high-quality paper (100% cotton)  Directions, itinerary, tickets, contact information for your arrival, receipts (if you are getting reimbursed)  Portfolio of any extra materials (i.e., publications, samples of web designs, etc.)  Pen and notebook  Emergency kit (brush/comb, breath mints, safety pin, etc.)  Professional-looking bag or briefcase
    14. 14. Sample Questions to Ask Your Interviewers  What is a typical day like for a librarian in this role?  How do the librarians work together/collaborate?  How (by whom and how often) are the librarians     evaluated on their performance? Is professional development supported and/or encouraged? What are some new initiatives you are working on? What is the library’s reference/instruction/collection development philosophy? (tailor to fit the position) What do you (the interviewers) like about your job?
    15. 15. After the Interview  Email to say thank you  Follow up with written thank you notes  Wait at least 2 weeks before following up on the status of the search; some will take months  Keep applying to other jobs - even if your interview went well, don’t assume you will receive an offer.  Accept LinkedIn invites if they are offered; do not send them yourself.  Be gracious
    16. 16. Questions? Web Site: Email: Twitter: @LibCareerPeople