IT S NOT YOU, IT S HOW YOU INTERVIEW. Navigating the Public Library Interview

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1 IT S NOT YOU, IT S HOW YOU INTERVIEW Navigating the Public Library Interview

2 ABOUT US Tracy Kallassy, Branch Manager, Arlington Public Library Jessica Coffin, Library Assistant Administrator, Prince William Public Library Opened a new branch Over 30 interview panels in two years Hired for positions in adult and youth services, circulation, and administration

3 PUBLIC LIBRARY HIRING MANAGER SURVEY 9 Questions 65 Respondents Over 400 years of combined hiring experience








11 DO THIS, NOT THAT common mistakes and what to do instead

12 PREPARING FOR THE INTERVIEW Research the job, the library, and the community, and use what you ve learned in your answers. Visit the location as a secret shopper. Think all library jobs are the same. We re looking for what you ll bring to THIS job, not ANY job. Visit the location and ask for a preinterview with the manager. Google the manager and ask for an interview through their personal social media.

13 ARRIVAL TIME Arrive early and look around the library! Have an interaction with staff members. Arrive 30 minutes early and check in. Arrive late. Check in five to ten minutes early. Have a plan if the interview is before the library is open.

14 ANSWERING QUESTIONS Listen to the question and answer it fully. Ask the interviewer to repeat the question or for clarification if you need more time or don t understand. If you haven t had the experience they ask about, find a way to relate something you have done. Give vague answers when asked for specific examples. Say you ve never had a conflict or disagreed with a policy if you re asked to describe one of those instances. Say you want a library job solely because you love reading. Talk about why the job is a good fit for you instead of the other way around.


16 Reminders Talk about your strengths and accomplishments. Take credit for your work. Undersell yourself. Talk about what you re bad at when asked what you re good at. Say we when you mean I.

17 DO YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS FOR US? Ask questions that start a conversation. Listen to the answer and ask follow up questions. Ask questions that genuinely interest you. Get your interviewers to talk about themselves. Only ask questions about scheduling or start date. Ask one simple question just because you know you re supposed to. Bring up salary or talk about upcoming vacation plans.


19 REFERENCES Ask your references before listing them to make sure they re willing to give you a good reference. Verify that your reference s contact information is correct/up to date. List professional references. Assume references won t be called. Burn bridges. Make the interviewer hunt down your reference. List someone who won t 100% give you a good reference. List friends or family.

20 REMINDERS FOR INTERNAL CANDIDATES Don t assume your interviewer knows about your accomplishments! Every day on the job is an interview. If you re not selected, ask for feedback. Working for the same organization does not guarantee a job.


22 IF YOU RE NOT SELECTED... Ask for feedback. Don t take it personally or be too discouraged. Remember that every applicant interviewed is qualified. We re looking for the best fit for this particular position. You may be wonderful but just not the right fit for the position/organization. You ll never know how often you re number two. Keep trying!


24 TRACY S APPLICATION PET PEEVES Not answering questions. If we asked it, we want the answer. Over-explaining reason for leaving. Walls of text. Checking no for contacting previous employers. Vague objective. Listing irrelevant experience from 10 or 20 years ago. Typos, misspellings, carelessness, etc.


26 TOP TAKEAWAYS Relax. Be yourself and let your personality show. Ask open ended questions and turn it into a conversation. Research the job and the organization, and use what you ve learned in your answers.