Thursday, April 24, 2008

Fun and games

What is your favourite extracurricular activity?

At the public library where I had my student job, my boss always moaned about the fact she never asked at an interview if someone sewed or fixed cars as a hobby. It was her first draft pick: someone with a hobby that would unwrap the mysteries of those sections to patrons who needed more help than a vague Dewey Decimal Number and bon voyage wave to the stacks.

When I served on a panel about interviewing, I mentioned this story to the attendees and the head of the local public library sitting next to me shook her head with an emphatic no. She cared nothing for the hobbies of the people who worked for her and was convinced that extracurriculars brought nothing to the reference desk. (Which explains why no one can give me a better book about fuel injection than Cars for Idiots or the Chilton's).

Anyway, if an interviewer asks this question, I don't think it's a probe for how much internet porn you surf, nor even an examination of your libertarian political affiliation. I think they are honestly trying to find out more about the whole person who may be an expert in a subject that their clients want more information about: buying stocks online, teaching seniors how to Facebook, or Korean blockbusters.

Think about the extracurricular activities you have that can inform your patrons. Yes, beyond I read a lot. Competitive swimming, Pilates, knitting, World of Warcraft, converting cars to biodiesel: what's your poison? If you are into them, so are our clients.

And by favourite, they mean, mostest, so stick to just one.

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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