Thursday, May 18, 2006

The dreaded phone interview

I graduated just about 2 weeks ago with a Master of Library and Information Science degree. Now it's time to find a full time library position. Last Friday I sent out my cover letter and resume to a private college in my area that was looking for a full time reference librarian. Tuesday I heard back from them wanting to schedule a phone interview. Today I had that interview.

First of all I thought I was calling to schedule one, but instead was actually interviewed. Luckily I was prepared.

I spent a great deal of time yesterday perusing their website learning about the college and the library there so when I was asked "What do you know about X college and why do you want to work here?" I had something figured out. At the same though I had nothing concrete written down. I was did not want to sound rehearsed or like I was reading a script.

My fellow recent graduates had been lobbing questions at me for the past two days when I was least expecting them to give me an idea of what I might get asked. Thank goodness they did because some of those questions were remarkably similar to the ones I was asked on the phone.

Like "What type of office environment and colleagues do you work best with?"; "What would you like to accomplish in this position?"; and "Why are you the best candidate?" were not far off from the sample questions my colleagues had given me to help me prepare.

The one great disadvantage with phone interviews is the lack of non-verbal cues. You have no way of knowing what reaction your response is generating in the interviewer(s). It seems like there is the yawning void you are talking into. Luckily my interview was friendly and she gave me feedback before, after and during my answers so I really felt like I was conversing with someone rather than having my words lost in that black hole of the telephone receiver.

I won't know for another week if they'll want to interview me in round 2, but I am so happy to finally have this experience over with. I know what to expect next time and best of all I know that my cover letter and resume can generate results. If this particular college doesn't want me I know it's just a matter of time before I am off the "part-time Librarian" status.

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