Posted by: katherinejackman | April 26, 2011

How To Get By In Librarianism

Been a while, eh? My sincere apologies to all, I imagine you’ve been agonising over the cause of my absence (ahaha, sarcasm). The fact is, I’ve been consumed with both work and essays for the last few weeks.

As you may or may now know, when I go back to Yorkshire during the holidays and the like I spend whatever time I can working as a librarian. It’s a great job, and considering it’s my first ‘legitimate’ job (one that isn’t based around babysitting or voluntary work), I think I got pretty lucky. However, I’ll be regretably leaving in a few months in order to pursue work here in the North East, which got me thinkning about the only successful interview I’ve ever had. That was over a year ago now, unbelievably, so as you can imagine I’m out of practice.

I was lucky enough to have a fairly informal interview, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t make an effort. After all, I didn’t go into the thing knowing it would be informal. I mean, this is a council job we’re talking about here. Pretty serious stuff. I made my application in the summer of 2009 and was called for an interview in October. That’s a long wait by any standards, and to be honest I thought they’d just rejected my outright and thrown my application in the bin. As it turns out, the council only carries out interviews and opens up jobs at the end of the financial year, so bear that in mind if you ever head down that route.

So I went for the interview, nervous as all hell. The only job interviews I’d had before this was for a saturday job at my local Sunwin House (back when that existed), and Thorntons respectively (that’s no longer around either…spooky), and wasn’t successful in either. My hopes weren’t exactly high.

I arrived at Bradford Library kitted out in my smartest gear with my hair tied back. Seeing as my hair is a bit of a nightmare this was the best thing I could do. I didn’t want it hanging in my face. When I was called through by my future employer, a very genial man named Brian, I was astonished and horrified to see that I was to be interviewed by not one, but three people. This had never happened to me before and I wasn’t expecting it at all, but I smiled and shook hands with them, doing my best to speak slowly and calmly. I’ve been told that I talk too fast at times, and this is something I was highly aware of as I introduced myself.

Then came the dreaded questions. However, I was pleasantly surprised. The first question was to tell my interviewers about a book or film I’d recently read/seen. Awesome for me. It wasn’t to last though, but it certainly helped me relax and open up a bit.

 I had to tackle questions about appropriate behaviour with children, my opinions of equal rights and opportunities, how I would handle specific situations, as well as express my knowledge of the council’s work. As questions go, they were fairly intense, but luckily for me I had enough relevant experience to field them with some degree of competency. My advice to anyone about to go into an interview is fairly simple:

1. Take your time – You’re not on the clock, and prospective employers appreciate you taking the time to really consider your answer. It just shows that you’re thinking, not floundering.

2. Speak slowly- If you’re like me and your mouth tends to run away with you if you’re nervous or excited, then do what I do. Take a deep breath, and try to consider every word you’re saying. You end up speaking slower and more clear, and you’ll come across all the better for it.

3. Do your research – You should always know the company you’re trying to get a job with. In my case, the council is very pro-equal opportunities so I made sure that I had enough knowledge to give intelligent and well thought answers.

4. Take along your CV – My interviewers didn’t ask me to take my CV along but I did anyway. It’d been months since my application and I had a few new things for them to see. They were pretty pleased to see I’d taken the initiative.

5. Do yourself justice – If you’ve got the skills, big them up. It doesn’t come across as arrogant, but competent, and more often than not it wil overshadow the things you’re less good at.

Hope those tips help. After all, they managed to get me a job. Something that I was starting to think would never happen.

Until next time… 🙂

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