Tuesday, April 22, 2008

An adjective is...?

Name three adjectives that describe you.

Truthful, diligent, punctual. No: I was lying. Calm, kind and friendly. [Mops brow]. I'd like: Fun, friendly and firm for five hundred, Alex. No, firm sounds like I moonlight as a dominatrix...not that I work as a dominatrix...not that there is anything wrong with domination...Can we start over?

Why do people make this question so hard? You should pick three qualities that are reflective of the work you have done in the past and what the position asks you to do. You should give a brief example of each attribute and how you have demonstrated it, preferably while indicating those points on your resume. For example:

I am detail-oriented, as you can see from my previous work on the series fiction cataloguing project. I am collaborative because I like to work with others and have worked on several successful partnership projects. I am creative and look for opportunities, like my capping project on using handhelds in the school library, where I can do something innovative.

You have even snuck in some extra adjectives--successful and innovative--but still answered the question briefly.

Sometimes people shoot themselves in the foot by getting their adjective-gun stuck in their holster. Don't be a maverick or a loner if you are working with a team. Don't possess lovely, sounds so good to be you qualities; use actual attributes that you have demonstrated in the past. Why? Because the next question will probably be: how would your colleagues/supervisor describe you? If that answer sounds very different from your adjectives, this means that you just gave them a BS answer or you are not self-aware. Both are not the impression you would like to make.

There is also one last little persnickety point you should keep in mind: answer with adjectives not nouns. Many librarians are writers and editors and not knowing the correct part of speech could get you a lower mark.

The questions this week came from Interview like a Top MBA by Dr. Shel Leanne. Passages from the book are available from Google Books if you are interested.

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