interviews-suckCommonly Asked Library Interview Questions

  • Tell us about your work experience in libraries.
  • What made you decide to become a librarian?
  • Why are you interested in leaving your current position?
  • What is it about our position that interests you the most?
  • Why do you want to work here?
  • Are there things about your current job you find difficult or frustrating to do?
  • From your other fields of work, what do feel is most applicable to being a librarian?
  • Tell us about what you feel are your biggest strengths and your biggest weaknesses.
  • What are some of your proudest accomplishments as a librarian?
  • What do you think are the most relevant of your experiences and talents, given our stated needs for the position?
  • Based on the job description, which of the duties do you feel most comfortable with, and which do you feel may take some time to learn?
  • In the past, you have been heavily focused in [reference and instruction, or whatever…]. How do you feel about making the transition to [technical services, or whatever…].
  • Earlier today, you had a short tour of the library. Did anything surprise you? Is there anything you would change?
  • What do you perceive as the biggest challenges in this position? What are the biggest benefits?
  • Tell us more about your coursework in….
  • What’s the most important thing you learned in library school?
  • Would there be any situation where you would refuse to answer a patron’s question or request?
  • In your opinion, how has the role of the [academic, public, school, etc..] library changed?
  • How do you think the library ties into the [university’s, school’s, community’s, etc…] goals, mission, vision…?
  • What frustrates you the most as a librarian? And how do you go about fixing it/solving it?
  • Can you describe how you schedule your time on particularly hectic day? Can you give a specific example?
  • Can you give me an example of how you have worked with a group outside of the library? (e.g., student organization, local businesses, etc…)
  • Who are some of your favorite authors?  Favorite books?
  • What are some of the books you’ve read in the past few months?
  • What is the library’s role in educating its [students, community, etc…]?
  • How do you stay current with trends and developments in the profession?
  • What management style do you prefer working with?
  • What is your philosophy to librarianship?
  • Tell us about something innovate you’ve done in your current job (or coursework, etc.).
  • Explain your approach to customer service in [an academic, public, school, etc…] library.
  • How do you deal with the whole ownership vs. access in regards to print and electronic sources?
  • What is your opinion about free online sources such as Wikipedia and Google Scholar?
  • Tell us about your experiences or opinions with e-readers (Kindle, Nook, etc…).
  • Tell us about your experiences using library databases? (Either helping patrons with, or your own experiences.)
  • Tell us about your experiences supervising or training staff (or students, etc..).
  • What is your favorite library database/online resource?
  • You are given $5000 (or whatever amount) to spend on [insert the subject area]. How would you go about spending it? How do you decide what to order?
  • Do you have any experience with student learning tools such as Turnitin, NoodleTools, EasyBib, RefWorks, Zotero…?
  • If you were stranded on a deserted island and you could only take 5 reference books, what would it be?
  • How much help should you give a person at the reference desk?
  • How do you respond when someone says, “But we’ve always done it this way.”?
  • What do you think your references would say are your best skills?
  • What do you think your references might says are some “areas for improvement” for yourself?
  • What non-library organizations or businesses inspire you the most?
  • Name five adjectives that describe yourself.
  • Name a couple of books you’ve read recently (fiction or non-fiction) and describe them to us as if you were recommending them to a patron.
  • Describe your philosophy of librarianship.
  • Describe a situation where you had to meet a very tight deadline. What other things were you juggling? Did you meet the deadline?
  • Describe how you have planned and implemented a project.
  • Describe an experience you have had working on a team.
  • Describe a failure you have experienced. What did you learn from it?
  • Describe a time when you did everything correctly and still did not succeed.
  • Describe a time when a reference transaction did not go so well. Thinking back, how would you have rectified the situation.
  • Describe an experience dealing with a difficult patron and how did you go about resolving it?
  • Describe your technology experience (computers, web design, e-resources, web 2.0)?
  • Or more specifically: How does the library incorporate social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter into its services?
  • Describe your experiences with faculty (or community, etc…) collaboration.
  • Describe a workplace conflict you encountered and how did you go about resolving it.
  • Describe a situation where you demonstrated particularly good resourcefulness or flexibility.
  • Describe a situation where you initiated change. What was it and what steps did you take?
  • Scenario: A patron complains that another person in the library “smells.” What do you do?
  • Scenario: You’re working at a busy reference desk. You have one person standing in front of you needing help researching water pollution in local rivers, you have an instant message chat question, the telephone is ringing, and the printer is jammed. What do you do?
  • Scenario: A local citizen is objecting to a book in the library’s collection, what would you do?
  • Scenario: A patron complains because there are no free computers available. You notice that some kids are on Facebook, while others are typing papers and doing research. What do you do?
  • Anything else you think we need to know that we did not ask you?

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