When I was initially looking for my first library job, my best friend helped me prep for interviews. She was the Interviewer and I was the Victim, sometimes Idiot with flashes of Savant. We worked our way through 101 Great Answers to the Toughest Interview Questions, and I would answer and she would tell me I was wrong.
Anyway, after about 20 minutes of this--possibly less, since she thinks I have the attention span of a gnat--I would get BORED. As in, I would take the questions in a new direction that she didn't expect. Like I would answer questions about supervisory skills by describing my God complex, or whine in response to questions about professional development with, oh, do I have to?? or how I thought the best customer service was delivered with a fire hose--and yakked appreciatively about fire men and calendars. You know, stuff like that.
Not the right answer, obviously, but I just couldn't take the ridiculous, fatuousness of the whole interview procedure anymore. Especially because it felt like I was failing.
I do not suggest that you talk about fire men or hoses in any sort of appreciative or deprecating tone during your interview. Especially if this is for a public library job. They might be in your union or your library late fees bought their fire truck. But the joke interview worked, because I was no longer tempted to say the outrageous. (Remember attention span mentioned above?) After we stopped laughing and got down to business, I started to pay more attention to the questions since my brain had had a break.
So, if you are in the endless round of interviews and need a break, please expand on the following in your own style:
- What method do you use to set and attain your goals? I have one? Like a goal, I mean? Hire me. Goal realized.
- As a librarian, do you think of yourself as more geek less nerd, or vice versa? And because this is actually a "fit" question, everybody on the panel will think that they are your vice versa, unless the boss tells them differently.
- Our opinion on challenged books is turf 'em, who needs the hassle? Tell us how we could still post the Library Bill of Rights with a straight face. Talk about a problem solving question. Think they asked something similar at the ENRON interview?
- Tell us the name of the last book you read. And this time, tell the truth. It wasn't Thousand Splendid Suns, or anything with a reader's guide. It was Incubus Dreams or some book with a butt cover, and you read for fluids.
- Librarian: neither liberal nor rare. Discuss.