How can I stand out from the crowd when I apply for my next job and if I am not successful how can my next application be better? These are two questions I wanted students and new graduates to get answers for after attending our KSC workshop. Long story short. I got my answers, and so much more.
Following on from our Key Selection Criteria Seminar in June, the Victorian ALIA SNGG team hosted its second tool building seminar for the year in August: the topic this time was Interview Skills.
Understanding this daunting part of the job hunting process, our panel of industry experts gave their best tips and advice for succeeding in a job interview. The diverse group included:
- Anna Findlay, Senior Advisor, Library Liaison and Engagement, La Trobe University Library
- Karyn Siegmann, Manager Library Services, Bayside City Council
- Carolyn Macvean, Manager, Parliamentary Library and Information Service Victoria
Covering a number of different library sectors, the presenters gave advice based on their own experience both as a candidate and as a recruiter. Some of their their best tips and advice were:
Before the interview:
- If given a choice for your interview time choose the first or last of the day. That way you will have more chance of being memorable.
- Study the key selection criteria and come up with examples from your personal experience. The questions asked will usually be drawn from the KSC.
- Many places use behavioural questions, so have a look at some examples of these so you can be prepared.
- Keep up with current trends in the library sector and show that you’re interested and engaged in the industry. Attend networking and PD events, and conferences. Showing a recruiter that you are passionate about the industry is much more attractive than telling them. (Coming to ALIA events is a great start!)
- Make notes to take with you. If you don’t want to forget that awesome example you had for that behavioural question, write it down. It’s okay to refer to notes during an interview, and shows recruiters how well prepared you are.
- Do your research!
- Make sure you have researched the organisation you are interviewing for. Look at their website and read through their strategic and annual plans, then consider how you and your skills can contribute to these plans.
- Make an effort to understand the community your are applying to work with. How well do you know the types of clients the organisation services?
- Have you thought about the future of public libraries when applying for a job in one? Do your research and you’ll be able to ace this question!
During the interview:
- Dress neat, smart and comfortable. This doesn’t mean you have to mask your personality in corporate attire. You can and should be authentic in your appearance.
- Pause… Breathe… You’re allowed to ask a recruiter to repeat a question, ask for a moment to gather your thoughts, or to refer to your notes.
- Big NOs in an interview: Don’t be a smartarse, don’t be dishonest, don’t forget to iron your shirt!
Bonus pro tip:
- Keep an aspirations job folder with position descriptions of your dream jobs to help you think about the skills you want to develop.
If you missed the event or have forgotten something you can watch the live video from the night on Facebook.
You can find other great tips by checking out the tweets from the night.
For even more help SNGGing that dream job, check out the National Resume Review Service offered by ALIA SNGG. This service allows you to send your resume to an industry professional who will provide you feedback and tips for improvement. This service is available to all ALIA members, including student members!
ALIA SNGG also have more job SNGGing information on our Job Site. Check it out!
Our next event is a more casual social event: Join us for our Spring Social event on Thursday 21 September. Hope to see you there!
Last Saturday morning, a group of well-dressed and interview-ready students and new graduates gathered together to listen to some advice on how to nail that pesky job interview.
Our panelists for the morning included managers of different backgrounds:
- Lisa Treston – HR Generalist and Consultant
- Rebecca Ruff – QUT
- Gary Johnston – QUT
- Sam Searle – Griffith
And included Joseph Doyle who is recently employed at the Brisbane Islamic College for our student/new grad experience.
If you want to see what it was like you can watch the Facebook Live Recording of the panel via the ALIA Students and New Graduates page.
However, if you want a quick wrap-up of the event with a few top tips then read on! We asked our panelists a bunch of questions which were posted on our anonymous Padlet page. Broadly, we picked out the most touched-on tips below:
- Preparation is KEY and helps to stop nervousness, if you are prepared everything falls into place.
- What to wear? Opinions differ but dress slightly above what your position dictates. But most importantly, wear what you feel most comfortable in – it will affect your interview if you’re not comfortable!
- The interview process can differ in large institutions and small institutions, so do your research and know what to expect when you go in to the interview.
- Be mindful of your eye contact and body language. Remember, confidence and clarity are important. Don’t be afraid to take your time.
The second half of the morning focused on the practice aspects of preparing for a job interview. Participants worked on a sample job description to map their responses and experiences according to the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) template. A key part of this session was to begin thinking about what types of interview questions could be gleaned from the sample job description and selection criteria. Our above panel members, joined by Amy Walduck (ALIA QLD State Manager) and Joanna Fear (Federal Court Library), worked with participants to tease out these questions in preparation for the final part of the day – the mock interview! Each participant answered three interview questions in a one-on-one session with one of the mentors. Written and verbal feedback was provided for everyone to review in their own time.
The three top themes from feedback from each of the mentors include:
- Remember your transferrable skills! Sometimes you might not have a library-specific example, but you probably have something transferrable up your sleeve. If you didn’t get a chance to see Librarians and Dragons live at NLS8 earlier this year, take a look at the resources providedto see if they can help!
- Sometimes the process or task is only half the answer to a question. Keep an eye out for opportunities to sell your “soft skills” like teamwork, communication, or time management.
- Try not to rush your answers, take some deep breaths and slow down!
If you have any suggestions for professional development events in the future please let us know! Send us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Tweet: @ALIAnewgrads
Also, don’t forget to read about Amy Walduck’s (ALIA Queensland State Manager) experience at the event.
Annette & Maddy.
ALIA SNGG QLD Regional Co-ordinators.
Jade, Cindy and I knew that the New Librarians Symposium was going to be amazing, that before it started we decided to organise a wrap up event. We also knew that not everyone would be able to get to NLS8, but hearing about it from those who did would be the next best thing.
On our panel we had Chery Gladman, who volunteered at the conference and was given the opportunity to attend part of the conference as an thank you for her help. We also had David Faraker and Charissa O’Sullivan from the Australian Parliamentary Library who attended as well as ALIA’s ACT State Manager, Jade Koekoe who ran her own DIY Marketing for Libraries workshop at NLS8.
As the moderator, I had the privilege of asking our panel a variety of questions surrounding NLS8. Our panel responded by providing an overview of NLS8 as well as an insight into their thoughts of the 3 day conference. We touched on librarian health and well being, DIY research, being your genuine self and the available resources of prison libraries. We also asked our panel to highlight some potential workshops and lectures that they might like to see at the next New Librarian Symposium in 2019.
Overall, the event was a huge success due in part to Cindy’s cheese and dip platter and my artistic videography through Facebook Live. If you are interested you can watch the whole panel on ALIA SNGG’s Facebook Page.
Again, thank you to all our panel members for participating and to all of our attendees.
We look forward to seeing you all at our Key Selection Criteria workshop on the 5th September 5:30pm at the NLA.