Thursday, October 20, 2005

Interview tips for law librarians

1) Be yourself -- a job interview is like speed dating in that you are trying to find long-term compatibility in a short visit (and no smooching unless this interview has gone disastrously wrong!).

2) Aim high -- I mean this several ways.
* Don't be afraid to interview for jobs at the limit of your ambitions. If you don't stretch for it, you'll never extend your reach! Maybe other interviewers would feel differently, like you wasted their time, but it seems to me like I would much rather meet an ambitious young librarian with a bit of chutzpah and know there are some comers than not have enough applicants for the job!

* Don't be afraid to go for the job that makes you run fast instead of settling for a job that lets you take it easy. You'll grow professionally and I think you'll also have more fun. Better to wear out than rust out.

* Don't be afraid to ask for as high a salary as you think you are worth. This is a tough one for women and maybe for all of us. Just remember that all your income at this job forever after is going to amount to little percentages added onto that original amount! Do be careful not to raise pay too early in the interview and don't be rude about it, but be assertive. Do your homework. Use the AALL salary survey and keep in mind that it's at least two years out of date. Also use those salary converters on the web to see what the pay will buy in the city or region you are moving to. It might be worth more or less than you think!

3) Don't be afraid of disasters in the interview. Of course, you don't want to spill soup on the director or partner if you can help it! But don't worry too much! My experience is that the most disastrous interviews tend to be the ones where they offer you the job. I don't know why. Maybe that's the part where I find the compatible group! Smile. The job market is on your side!

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