Friday, February 15, 2008

Librarian: Best Career

Librarian made one of 31 Best Careers from US News and World Report Magazine. The criteria for selection was interesting: not physically demanding, professional, couldn't be off-shored and technological skills are valuable. I did like how librarian was identified as a "career for a changing landscape" though the blurb on librarians is more of a summary with an emphasis on our ability to shout "happify" in a room with a straight face.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

My feedback is "you suck!"

Tell me about a time when you worked with a colleague who usually gave negative feedback or no feedback for your performance.

Additionally, the interviewer may ask about an overly critical supervisor, or a person who usually corrected you in public. The interviewer wants to know how you deal, not only with stressful co-workers, but also with clients or students who don't have time to fill out evaluation forms or who may tell you flat-out that they hate the job you do and don't want to spend their tax dollars on you doing it (ask a person who's had a book challenge and get back to me, if you don't think people are that rude).

Your answer should show your resiliency by rebounding from negative feedback, how you deal with complaints--diplomatically--and that you can keep a battery-pack full of good comments to get you through the lean times. This is also a BDI question, so you need to come up with an example from the first two--negative feedback or complaint from a customer--to answer the question properly.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Looking for workers Web 3.0 style

WSJ Careers released an article on recruiting Web 3.0 style. Libraries may be using these methods to recruit librarians--though we seem to be happy with the e-mailed resume, how 2001 of us!--and some of these tools, like the video interview are just an updated version of the telephone interview, a staple in libraries since the eighties. At least, for me, 1/2 of my interviews included a telephone screening interview.

The article did make me think of something (which sprang from my love/hate relationship with my own web camera): but can a technological interview gone right give you a "tech halo"? You might have heard of the halo effect. Halo effect in action: you look like the person who was in the position, who was stellar, and because you evoke fond, apple-pie-in-the-oven feelings, the interviewer just decides to hire you, regardless of how well you shake your schtick. Conversely, you can also have a "horns effect", where the interviewer prefers meringue to your apple. But what happens if you have mighty tech mojo but the next candidate has felt the evil eye of Logitech? The person suffering under the evil eye may be a better candidate than you but because the their camera wobbles and fades, you get the job and they get "better luck next time".

Could the quality of transmission be unfairly influencing our interviews?

Thanks for all the fish

At the end of your final term, you not only have to fly away and leave the nest of library school, you're also probably pushed right out of the tree by the nice avians that taught you how to fly: the library that gave you your library student job. Now that you're no longer a student...well, you're fired. Thanks for all the fish.

You know that this is going to happen and there are three things you should do:
  1. Ask for a formal, final evaluation. This evaluation talks about your growth as a professional, the tasks you completed and any additional projects that you accepted. It can also talk about valued personality traits--kindness, listening ability or work ethic--that your new employer might like to know that you have.

    You're leaving when you have lots to do--finishing projects, finding another job--and your employer is probably getting reading for a summer season which involves new students. It is easy to miss this last step, but you should ask for a formal evaluation and try to get it done now, before you get too busy. You can use this evaluation in interviews and it might work in a pinch if your references are away.
  2. Ask for references, verbal and written. Unless they're totally out to lunch, they know you need a new job, but you have to tell them that you're looking and to be prepared for phone calls. You should also ask for a written letter in case they take holidays when you're interviewing or to put into your portfolio. Though it's pretty rare, you should also be prepared for them to refuse to give you a reference.
  3. Thank them for having you. No one makes an employer hire a student (well, you're cheaper than a full-fledged professional, great incentive) but you're also a big hassle, though you're tidy enough. Say thank you.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Only smart people in library land

Thank god we only work with smart people in library land: other library people and the people who love libraries, or this could happen to us.


I was sick yesterday, so no posting for me. I thought I would take this opportunity to talk a bit about scheduling posts: I'm going to try to put up a post every week day, unless I'm sick or on conference. I'm going to take a posting break on weekends so I can write posts that aren't time sensitive so I'll look brilliant and consistent during the week. Scheduled posting means I don't wear this expression, my /Alfred, fetch me an Advil face:

Since this is also an I'm not a mind reader face, it would also be really helpful if people could suggest some topics for me, or if they could tell me something they're interested in and just write about it: advice, rant, strategy, whatever. You can email it to me and I will post it to the blog with your name, or handle if you prefer, attached to the post. I know that many of you have experience looking for work--have done it before, will do it again--so you can be a page sage for the blog.