Last week, I went on my very first interview for a librarian position! It was very exciting and nerve-wracking, but I made it through alive.
The interview went so well that I was offered the job. I’ll be working on the reference desk for a Federal library and also doing work for their digital branch.
I’m really excited to move to a new job, especially since it’s actually in the library field. I’m nervous about working on a reference desk, but totally excited to explore the digital branch.
I thought it would be good to talk a little about somethings I did to prepare for my interview, just in case anyone can learn from my experience or something. Pretty sure everyone else in the world has talked about these things, but you know. I’d like to throw my voice into the void, as well.
1. Research the organization.
Okay, so this a duh kind of preparation. If you are going to land a job, you have to show the people hiring you that you not only posses the skills they are looking for, but that you are interested in what they’re doing and trying to achieve. It’s important to position yourself as a potential employee that will help them meet their organization’s mission and goals.
In my interview, I was able to talk about the organization’s website. This showed that I had looked into the environment I would be working in–and also showed that I understood how these kinds of websites are usually set up. I was also able to use this as a way to talk about my personal interests and show that my skills and opinions are definitely something that matches their organization.
2. Know what is expected of you (AKA KSAs)–and research that!
Unfortunately, the job announcement that I applied to had some misinformation. I ended up doing some research on a specialized topic to show that while I don’t have any formal training on it, I can learn and be useful regardless. I think that while it wasn’t required for the job I interviewed for, it showed that I’m willing to make it work–whatever it may be.
Additionally, when research on KSAs actually applies, it shows that you can learn new skills. Part of the description mentioned Dreamweaver, a tool I’ve never used before. I used this interview to learn about it and how to use it–so now, even if I don’t get to use it on the job, I at least know how to use Dreamweaver.
3. Know your “narrative” and share your passions.
This advice might seem weird–narrative? People are people, not stories! What I mean is to be familiar with your own personal brand. What is that you find yourself talking about? What do you think is important in an organization and in your work? Try to connect your answers to these themes so people will remember you–and try to connect these themes to the job at hand.
I’m personally interested in accessible and usable design. I talked about focusing on customers–because if you’re offering a service that doesn’t meet your customer’s needs, why are you offering a service? I also talked about Section 508 (probably too much, but whatever) and tried to make it clear that I work with accessibility issues, even in my personal life. Connecting experience to these themes and opinions helped me present a clear idea of who I am and the work I do.
There is a lot of other really great advice out there, and I want to hear it! My contract ends at the end of March and I will soon be back in the job market. What do you do to prepare for interviews?