Not at ALA, it’s time for some reflection

I was lucky enough to go to ALA Annual the past two years (New Orleans and D.C.), but I didn’t make it this year. It’s actually pretty ironic, since I just got my MLS this past December and now have a librarian job, but it just didn’t work out. A lot of people on my work team are going, which means a few of us are needed to cover the reference desk, and there was also confusion over what I could get funded (since I have a strange temporary/permanent/special assignment status).

The good news is I plan to go to Midwinter, which I haven’t done before, and not going to Anaheim right now makes that more realistic.

So what am I doing this weekend? Preparing a 40 minute presentation for an interview I have in a couple of weeks – for a permanent position. And reflecting a little bit on the past 6 months since I graduated.

I don’t usually like to talk about the job search on this blog since it’s so public and you have to be careful, but I will say that this will be the third librarian position I am interviewing for this year. The second presentation. I was actually offered one of the two earlier positions but unfortunately had to turn it down.

For those that may not realize this, the interviews for academic librarian positions are a full day. They usually follow a phone interview, which is the first round, and then less than a handful of candidates are invited for round two. In my first one of these, there was an informal dinner the night before, then a full day 8am-4pm. In the second, there was also dinner the night before, followed by breakfast first thing the next morning and a full day until 5pm. The one in a couple weeks starts at 8pm all day and ends with dinner. Exhausting!

Although reflecting on my experiences I think they are a good thing, and in those jam-packed 8-12 hours you really get a feel for whether or not the position is right for you, and the librarians on the other side of the table get a chance to do the same. As another librarian once told me, you are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you. Another once told me that once you’re past the phone interview phase they know you’re qualified for the position & would do well at the job; the question is whether or not you fit in the organization. It’s true, and it’s good advice. It’s best not to think of it as the “scary interview” where you try to answer their questions the way you think you’re supposed to, as I always perceived it before. Approaching it in this other way eases the pressure – at least a little bit – and makes the interview process more of a learning experience, and a decision for both parties involved.

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