A Librarian's Guide to Interviewing

Ziggy interviewing cartoon

One of the remarkable things about being a librarian is that some people think we know everything.  It never ceases to amaze me how often people ask for my opinion or ask me a question about something in which I have no expertise.  For example, people walk up with all manner of cell phones and ask various questions about them.  I have a Windows phone, which definitely puts me in the minority, so when someone asks me how to do something on an iPhone or Android phone, I may be able to figure it out, but I have no first-hand experience.  The same is true for various laptops, tablets, etc.  

Since people ask for my opinion on various topics, I’ve decided to discuss a topic that I have experience with, but I’m in no way an expert.  I have interviewed and hired people to fill vacant positions, as needed, for many years.  I have also co-interviewed with others who were filling vacant positions.  I’m not a human resources professional, but based on my personal experience hiring people, I am going to give you, the reading public, some tips on interviewing.

Tip 1:  Read the job description.  If you are applying for a job that requires you to spend your shift shelving books, you do not have a desk job.

Tip 2:  Know something about the company you are applying with.  Question: How often do you use the library?  Answer: I haven't been in a library since high school.  Unless you just graduated, chances are that things have changed.

Tip 3:  Dress like you are going to a job interview.  Your outfit might look great at a nightclub, but since you aren't headed to one, you may want to change clothes.

Tip 4:  Arrive early for your interview or at the very least, be on time.  Keep in mind that the interviewer has scheduled it at a specific time for a reason.  Showing up late not only gives a bad impression, it throws the interviewer’s schedule into disarray.  Call if you're going to be late, don't wait to apologize once you get there.

Tip 5:  If you want the job, don’t make insulting comments about the interviewers, the questions they ask, or the company you are applying with.  I have been amazed over the years at some of the things applicants have said during the interview.  I’m thinking, “he or she didn’t just say that.”

Tip 6:  If you want an expert’s advice about interviewing, consult the resources we have at the library.



Anonymous said…
Great information! Especially useful when applying for a job AT the library.
G. Jones said…
Thank you for the comment. I'm glad you found the information helpful.