Thursday, March 19, 2015

And now, more interview tips!

This seems to be a popular topic, so here are some more tips that I recently shared with a loyal reader via our new email address:

When I interview people for my library, I like to ask a mix of your "standard" HR questions (i.e. what are your goals for the next 5 years, do you work better alone or in a group, what are your strengths and weaknesses, etc.) and situational questions about things you will encounter in a prison library. The answers I am looking for are not necessarily right or wrong but will give me an idea about your ability to creatively problem solve and your trainability.

Some of my favorite situational questions are:
"A patron comes up to you and tells you he/she was just diagnosed with herpes and they want to learn more about their diagnosis. What do you do?"

"You see two patrons sitting very close and holding hands. Your library has a strict no-touching policy. How do you handle this?"

"A patron comes up to you and starts telling you about their kids. Then, they ask you about your kids. How do you respond?"

"A staff member comes into the library with a severely damaged book and demands to know who has it checked out so they can write the offender up. Your library has a patron privacy policy. What do you do?"

Generally, you will never go wrong with situational questions if you cite policy, or if you say something along the lines of you will follow whatever policy is in place.

I also really like it when candidates have questions for me at the end of the interview. If it's not covered in the intro, it would be good to ask about what kind of training you can expect. Also ask about their collection development policy and what the library looks like.  (If you can take a tour even better.) Ask them what personality type will succeed in this position because you are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you.  Make sure you take plenty of copies of your resume and get the card of the supervisor so you can send a thank you after the interview.

Good luck with all your interviews, dear readers, and please feel free to ask if you have further questions.

Until next time!

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