Wednesday, August 15, 2012

So You Think You Can Interview (or Scoring a Children's/YA Librarian Job)

Tip of the Day: WriteOnCon goes through the end of the day today! Check out this amazing and super well-attended FREE online kidlit conference.

At my library, the Children's Services Manager is hiring a new part-time Children's Librarian. The head Reference Librarian and I are on the interviewing committee. We sifted through over 30 applications to find six candidates to interview, and on paper, they look great!

Next comes the interviews. Dun dun DUN....

Based on conducting interviews for such positions in the past, I have some advice.

Now I'd hate to spout wrong information regarding interviews for other non-librarian jobs in the kidlit world (as a Children's/YA bookseller, agent, editor, teacher, etc. for example), but if you are being interviewed for one of these positions, it cannot hurt to consider the following.

1. Know the most recent Caldecott/Newbery/Printz/Morris Award winners. Please. FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT'S HOLY, no matter how much you may have disliked the titles, know who won and possibly a runner-up or two. Nothing says, "I don't keep my eye on the industry at ALL" like having no clue about any of these titles.

2. Be able to name at least five of your favorite RECENT (within the past year or so) picture books, MG novels, and YA novels. This is where knowing the runner's up from the awards in (1) above can also come in handy (let your research do double duty).

3. Exude a huge interest in kids/teens/kidlit. Don't tell me you always wanted to be a librarian; say you always wanted to be a CHILDREN'S librarian. I don't want to think you just want ANY job (even if you do); make me think you are DYING for THIS job and you will just be CRUSHED AND BAWLING if you cannot officially call yourself a Children's Librarian (or whatever is relevant).

4. Be able to book talk some of your favorite titles without rambling/taking up half the interview. PRACTICE this out loud to yourself ahead of time if you are not comfortable doing book talks -- CONCISE book talks. We all know that person who tells you every detail of a movie/book they just watched/read so you don't even need to watch/read it yourself; DO NOT BE THAT PERSON.

Keep in mind, you don't need to memorize any of this info. You can come into the interview with a notebook with notes on it. You will look PREPARED! You will look INTERESTED! And you will NOT look EMBARASSED when you don't know the info above. Note: this can be super awkward for the interviewers too.

What questions do you have about the above? Any? Need any advice on interviewing for a librarian job? The door is now open!

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing


amuse me said...

This is great advice for anyone going into an interview -- do research ahead of time of the job you are looking at. Great article, Emily.

Emily Marshall said...

I can't take credit for the article. But I agree it is great deena! They are interviewing for a teen librarian right here now, so I hope the interviewees were prepared!! And I always take a portfolio because I find everything much easier to show as I'm talking. Plus it's easier to remember to say stuff. But then again design/pr stuff is much easier to show in a portfolio. I still think it applies though for everyone!

DeenaML said...

Em, yes I LOVE it when the interviewees come in with pics of some projects they have done, or lists of their favorite books! Good luck hiring a new YA Librarian!

Melinda said...

Fascinating. A little research goes a long way!