Q: I applied for a temp librarian position at a university and got a phone call saying they want to schedule a phone interview with me. I assumed it was for a screening. When I called them back to make the appointment, I selected an appointment time and was told this is a committee interview and the committee will be on speakerphone. The interview will be approximately 30 minutes.
With that information, I now think it might not be a “screening” but the actual interview. I’ve had phone screenings before. I’ve had in-person interviews before. I’ve not been in this situation before. Is this the “official interview”? Can you clue me in?
A: I have been hearing about this type of interview more recently. I would treat it as an “official interview,” round one. Here are some tips to help you prepare.
I was asked a great question that I wanted to share.
Q: I have an interview for a position of Lead Library Assistant at a community college. When scheduling the interview, I was told that a 15 minute writing sample would be part of the process. Other than typing and data entry tests, I’m not familiar with this for a library position. Do you have any ideas on what I can expect or how I can best prepare?
A: I have not heard of this taking place as a common practice but in doing a bit of research it is more common in academic and law settings. Here are some overall general tips and guidelines to consider:
I received this question from a SLIS student.
I am interviewing next week for a part-time reference position in an academic library. I was hoping you could direct me to a site where I might get an idea of some questions they might ask, and how best to prepare. I have studied their website (and databases since it is a biosciences library), but was wondering how else to prepare. The position will be staffing a reference desk as well as preparing on-line instructional tutorials and course guides and circulation work.
Thank you for any advice!
Hello and thank you for your question.
First, it is great that you have been studying the company’s website. Use that information to your benefit to demonstrate that you took initiative to learn about the company and research the position thoroughly.
Here is a question I received from a student:
I am graduating this term and am applying for library jobs in all sorts of different libraries. I have noticed that most academic library jobs request a letter of interest not a cover letter. I have done some research and come across conflicting information about a letter of interest. Can you summarize what you think a letter of interest is and how it differs from a cover letter?
This is a great question. The term Letter of Interest is confusing for many students. In my opinion, it is much like a cover letter but it allows you to write in more detail. You want to express specifically WHY you are interested in this particular position and identify WHY you are the best candidate i.e.: how your skills and qualifications are a perfect match for the position.
Here is a web site I found that gives some basic tips about writing a Letter of Interest that you might find helpful: http://www.letterwritingguide.com/interest.htm
Here are some additional tips I pulled from another web site:
I received this interviewing question from a SLIS student and thought the question and answer was worth sharing with all of you.
Q: I recently had an interview for a job. During the interview the 3 people were frantically taking notes while I was talking. I would stop talking and they would still be writing and there would be a very awkward silence. I decided not to fill the silence so I didn’t ramble on. It was very strange. Any tips in this sort of situation?
A: What you experienced was completely common when you are in a panel interview. You were correct in not rambling on while they were writing. Often times, the interviewee gets nervous in this situation and is uncomfortable by the silence or lag time and they start to ramble which does not make for a good interview. Going forward, come to expect this type of behavior in a panel/group interview and keep your composure, answer the question, stop talking, and wait for the panelists to catch up to you.
What interviewing questions do you have? I’d like to hear from you.
I recently received the question below from a SLIS student and it was decided that the answer to this question may benefit other students as well. Here goes…
“I am signed up for the regular session in the fall and would like to know, if I am interested in getting the teacher’s credential, would I be able to teach multi-subject class grade K-8 or does this teacher’s credential apply only to the field of Librarianship?”
See the reply and comments below.
As the end of the semester approaches, I am receiving many requests for resume critiques. The one consistent theme that I find is the need for students to tailor the resume to demonstrate the skills, abilities, and qualifications needed to do the job listed in their objective statement. Even if you are not absolutely sure what your objective is at this point, list something to give you and your resume a focus. For example, Seeking a position in archives.
The art of tailoring your resume comes from carefully reviewing the job description of the position you are seeking. I recommend going through the job description with a highlighter pen and literally identifying the key words, industry verbiage, and specific requirements the employer is seeking. Use this as your guide to tailor the content of your resume to match the qualifications. The employer is telling you exactly what they are looking for in qualified candidates.
Welcome to the NEW SLIS Career Blog – A Career Resource for Q&A. This blog is a place where I will post different types of career-related information, tips, and trendy topics. I come across a lot of interesting information through regular research and reading that I do in the field, and now I have one central place to share it with you. Some of the information will be specific to the LIS field and some of it will be about the career process in general, so be sure to check this site often. I feel confident that you will each find some nugget of information that you will find useful.
This blog is also a place where you, the SLIS student, can ask me career-related questions and I can respond back in one central place. Chances are good that if one student is asking a question, dozens more are thinking of the same question. Some of you may even have additional information to share about a particular topic, and I welcome your comments.
Please post your questions and comments and I will get back to you. I look forward to hearing from you.