In the past, I’ve written about the do’s and don’t’s of interviewing and have described some of the bad experiences I’ve had in interviews. So I thought it would be good to mention the absolutely wonderful interview experience I had on Friday (I just got home yesterday). Like I’ve said before, the way you are treated at an interview is a pretty good indicator of how you will be treated once you have the job. If that’s the case, then I would be very happy at this library. Usually, no matter how nice the search committee is, I get pretty nervous in interviews. This time, I felt comfortable all day. A large part of this was related to how nice everyone was. No one was aloof or standofish. Everyone was warm and sociable and amazingly helpful. When I went out to lunch and dinner, I didn’t feel like I was grasping for things to talk about. The conversations just flowed easily. Another part of my comfort level was the fact that I know this is a job I can do and do well. This is probably the subject I am most passionate about in librarianship and I know that I would put 100% of myself into the job.
So here are some of the things they did right:
- They had the fastest turnaround time I’ve ever seen. I got an email confirmation of my application the day after I sent it. I got a call for an interview two days later. The day after the phone interview, I got called to fly in for an in-person interview. Well done!
- They made all of the travel arrangements for me and picked me up at the airport rather than leaving me to figure things out myself.
- They really made an effort to “sell” me on the area (not that it was necessary since it couldn’t be more ideal for me and my husband).
- They took me on a tour of the library and the campus.
- They took me on an extensive tour of the area, telling me about real estate values and the pros and cons of each town.
- At lunch, they didn’t talk about internal stuff that had nothing to do with me. We talked about all sorts of library and non-library-related things. They made me feel included.
- They had me give a talk on a subject of my choice, really allowing me to highlight my skills.
- They’d seen my blog, wiki, and screencasts, so they knew something about me before the interview.
- They didn’t pack my day so full of things so that there wasn’t time for bathroom breaks and extra questions I had.
- They took me through the interface they use so I’d know what I would be working with.
- They realized that my blog and wiki are good illustrations of the fact that I am interested in keeping up with developments in the profession and that I take the initiative in trying new technologies and furthering the profession. Often, people outside of the blog world don’t see their value in contributing to and keeping up with the profession.
- Whether they were tech-savvy or not, the entire staff seemed interested in learning about new technologies and were open to change.
On the whole, I think I did well in the interview and I’m really optimistic about my chances of getting the job. Most importantly, I felt like I belonged there. I know they’re a good fit for me and I am sure I’d do a good job for them. I really want this one!
Good luck Meredith! And thanks for sharing your trials and tribulations, and your joys in the world of the job search. I’m putting it off as long as I can, but will have to face it someday. 🙂 Looking forward to meeting you at the OCLC soiree.
Thanks! Looking forward to meeting you too!
I hope it works out! Sending good vibrations your way….
Oh, good luck!
My superstitious self says that your liking for the job is pretty good evidence you’re fit for it — and pretty good evidence they think so too. So I’m hopeful about this one for you!
Meredith, I have loved reading about your escapades in the hunt for a job. Keep up the good work. Your point in number three is definitely one to be considered by both interviewers and interviewees. I can remember one interview that I had where I was constantly told, “There is a lot of opportunity here,” or “the city is a great place to live.” However, no one that I talked to throughout the day said, “This is a great place to work.” After asking around some, I found out that in fact, it was not a great place to work. Interviewees should be careful about what folks are telling them or selling them, while at the same time asking a lot of questions. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about touchy topics, such as about the work environment, culture, or workplace problems. It is up to the interviewers to give you truthful answers while trying to sell you on the job. If you are ever in the position of interviewer, remember your experiences you had when looking for a job, because they can help you sell your job to a potential colleague.
Just say hi! to tell you have a reader from china, and i am a librarian too.Good luck!!!
Best of luck. It sounds like a very positive experience.
Thanks Shi! I’m still shocked that I have readers in the United States, much less in China! Wow! Thanks for reading and for your good wishes!
And Chad, I once interviewed for a job where I heard a lot of rhetoric about being open to change and technology, yadda yadda. But it took talking to a friend who worked in the institution to find out that what they were telling me couldn’t be further from the truth. It can be difficult to know if what you’re being told is true. In this case, though, I think I really got to see what the library was like by virtue of the fact that it was so small. The head of the search committee gave me a realistic list of the pros and cons of the job, so I feel like I have a good idea of what it would be like to work there. When I am interviewing people, I definitely will not forget the good and bad experiences I’ve had as a job seeker, and will treat people with respect and consideration.
Hope you get it!