interviewing 101

A few things about interviewing I've learned from being on the hiring end of things.

  1. Really prepare for an interview by reading over sample interview questions (Google). If you're really an overachiever, have your friends drill you so that you can work on your responses. If you have a phone interview have notes that you can refer to, the interviewer can't see those, so really go to town!
  2. Come prepared. Look at the company's website, read newspaper articles about that organization. Find a way to show that you know what that company represents and how they've made an impact in their profession and in the community!
  3. Bring samples of your work with you, or offer to send along a Powerpoint or other notes, anything that came up during the interview which seemed to peak their interests. Shoot your interviewer these things as soon as possible after the interview. DO NOT BLOW UP THEIR INBOX! I interviewed one woman who sent 3 emails after the interview with about 14 attachments. That is OVERKILL!
  4. Be really specific about why you want this job. I had someone tell me, "I was interested in this job because it's an entry level position." Hmmm, I felt like saying, "Entry level...Taco Bell has some entry level positions if you're interested!" It's okay to say, "With my level of experience, I thought this job would be a great way to not only learn more about _______, but also draw upon my strengths in _______." This not only reinforces that you understand the expectations of the job, but highlights some of what you're great at!
  5. There are certain things that you should know about when applying for certain jobs. If you're applying to be on the council that votes on next year's Oscars, you would be sure you knew some of the recent years' winners, right?! If you're applying to be a Children's Librarian (and you already are one!!) you should know at least the current year's Caldecott and Newbery winners; you should be familiar with popular trends.
  6. If you're applying for a career and not a job you should be doing your homework. Talk about the professional journals, websites, and blogs you follow, or love, or can't live without. People want to hire someone that is passionate about their profession!
  7. "Borrow" ideas from others in your field--why reinvent the wheel?! Another business doing something that's caught your eye and you think would enhance the company your applying at, tell them! This shows possible employers that A. you are willing to try new things B. you think outside the box and C. you're thinking of how to make Company Z a better place!
  8. It's ok if you apply for a job that you're not sure you're 100% qualified for--if you've gotten an interview someone sees potential in you! Sell your strengths; show how your experiences leading up to this point could be transferable to the job you're applying for! Most of my experience in "management" type situations came while working in the mental health field, not libraries, but I "translated," that experience during my interview into how it would work in the library.
  9. Ask questions of your interviewer that are pertinent to not only the position you are applying for, but also the whole company. 
  10. Always thank someone for their time at the end of the interview, but also at the very least send an email reiterating your interest in the position and the company, and thanking everyone (if you can't remember all the names of the people who interviewed you, address it to the main contact). Emails are ok, but getting a hand written thank you is stellar!
Now enough seriousness! HAPPY FRIDAY!! 


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