It’s that time of year again……interview season. After all of the retirees have given their notice, and some of the internal shuffling has slowed, school districts look at external applicants. This year I am staying put in my current position, and have been invited to be on the other side of the interview desk. I am helping look for the newest members of our library team. I am so excited (there is no sarcasm intended) because I like to think that I can spot a gem. Here are some words of advice from me to you, the potential new hire.
You obviously know how to draft a resume or you wouldn’t have made it through the initial screening. Your letters of recommendation are attached (glowing, of course). I have read all of these, and I have already cyber-snooped to find out about your online presence. I have a small impression of you. Now we are meeting face to face (or Skype account to Skype account). The interview team already knows the basics about you, so now is your time to show us your personality.
- Be friendly. Everyone likes a friendly co-worker. Look us in the eyes, shake our hands, smile. First impressions do matter. I care less about what you’re wearing than I care about your personality. I hope you like people……because your students are people, and they deserve a friendly teacher-librarian.
- Be honest. If you really prefer working with a certain level (i.e. middle school) it’s OK to say that. If you’re still working on your licensure, that’s not necessarily a deal breaker, just talk it through with us. Prefer to work at a certain school site or area of town? Let us know that (and why).
- Ask good questions that show that you have looked at information about our district. We feel a little bit flattered that you have taken the time to read about us or check out our web resources. That’s good preparation, and every teacher-librarian know how important good preparation is!
- Talk about (or show) samples of work that you have done with students. It doesn’t have to be high-tech, just creative & interesting. Think outside the box bit. We like fresh, new ideas; it keeps us motivated to learn more about you and how you can help us keep growing and learning as professionals.
- Show enthusiasm for something! Let us know about something (a hobby, one part of your job, a sport) that gets you pumped up. Positive energy makes us see your potential.
- Follow up with an e-mail or note that says something like, “It was so nice to meet you. I would love to work for your district because I am excited about……(refer to points 1 & 5 if needed). I think that I could help you by…….” Sell yourself, baby! This may be your last chance to tell us something about you that you forgot to say in the interview and will convince us to seal the deal.
Good luck with the interview process. I hope that our paths cross at some point and that you can wow me with your fabulousness! A district can never have too many fabulous teacher-librarians.