Interview Questions

I had about half a dozen interviews over the past few months.  I got very good at answering questions but also asking questions.  There are a wealth of good resources that give you lists of interview questions.  But there is also something that is just as important as answering questions well: asking the interviewers good questions.  Questions for your interviewers show that you are interested and not a dullard.  They also give you an opportunity to find out more about the job, the city, the environment or anything else you want to know.  I have composed a list from my notes at various interviews.

  • Why is this position open?
  • What do you like best about working here?
  • If you could change one thing about the library or institution X, what would it be (They like this one)?
  • How hard is it to try out new ideas?
  • How do you support your employees in their professional development?
  • Describe the atmosphere of the library?  (i.e. relationships between librarians, faculty, staff, students)
  • What are some of the main challenges facing the library or institution X?
  • What are the patrons like (try to meet some)?
  • What is the faculty’s view of the library?
  • What are your goals for this position?
  • How much instruction do you do?
  • What do you do for fun in this area?
  • What is the campus atmosphere like (events, recreation, interactions)?
  • What status do librarians have (faculty, staff, etc.) and what does that entail?

These are just a few examples and a lot of them have to do with public service, academic libraries.  Many are pretty general though and are ones that kept popping up in my head as good things to know.  They can be applied to a number of other positions as well.  In addition to these, remember to ask questions specific to the position and things that you simply want to know about.

You are going to be asked if you have any questions for them multiple times.  Don’t sit there with a blank look on your face and say, “Umm, I can’t think of any.”  Be prepared.

Andy Burkhardt

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