14 Dec 2016

New Professionals Day Ireland 2016: The First Rung on the Ladder - Part 2

Guest post by Siobhan McGuinness. Siobhan has presented at library conferences such as ASL and CDG. In addition, she enjoys writing blog posts for library organisations.

Part one of Siobhan's report can be read here

“The First Rung on the Ladder: Applications, interviews and first experiences as a New Professional” #npdi16.

Presentations and panel discussion with experienced librarians from a variety of fields.

In writing pat two I want to take this opportunity to thank the NPDI Team and expert panel for giving students and new library and info pro’s the chance to gain insight into how our library leaders handle the complex nature that is recruitment.
Having the opportunity to reach out and be given the space to verify what you are doing, and be reassured you are doing it correctly is a great boost when job hunting.
The enthusiasm and support shown to the audience that day was second to none, job hunting can be a lonely place at times and it is good to know people are looking out for you.
In order of appearance the following advice was presented:

Lorna Dodd, Maynooth University.
In all interview situations, people being interviewed forget that the interviewees are human. We show very little of ourselves other than what we have been asked and how each experience relates to our C.V. and the job description. In some cases, the interviewees want to see a potential colleague, someone they can imagine having a cup of tea with in the canteen. In doing this you need to show your best self, you can shine in 30 minutes.  One helpful tip, remember your social media accounts, don’t go posting any information about an interview before or after.
Shelia Kelly, Dublin City Library & Archive.
One of the many important messages I took away from npdi16 was the importance of practising your interview, talking out your experiences. This creates your story, and how this story matches the job description and the person the panel require. Having to talk out your examples, the positive and negative to others lets you see the gaps in your story, the pieces that don’t add up. It also gives you a confidence when telling your story to the panel, as the saying goes, practice makes perfect (until nerves kick in).

Marie O’Neill, Dublin Business School.
To students currently doing their capstone or thesis, have an aim in mind to get it published, this will help you stand out. If you find that there are gaps between jobs, always upskill, always be learning and adding to your CPD. At interview stage show the panel you have bought into the organisations ethos and culture, make them understand how you value and appreciate this element. Marie believes that there should be a formal mentoring network set up, where librarians can register to mentor graduates/early career librarians as required. Marie has the most amazing ideas and I do hope they become a reality, the one I think we really need is a dedicated jobs fair for LIS professionals, because there are many companies and organisations out there, including recruitment companies that disregard our skills because they only see “the librarian in the library”.

Catriona Sharkey, Ernest and Young.
Know the opportunity the job will give you, and give it your all. Do your homework, know the organisation, the ethos of the library, their strategic plan the annual report. You name it, know it as Catriona states this is “Forensic research”. Study the job description this is generally going to be the questions you are going to be asked, test yourself to prepare yourself.
The discussion was mainly aimed at two areas, social media and the final question you are asked in an interview “Do you have any questions”?
Social media is always a mine field, just be careful and always think that potential employers are viewing it to see your interests and hobbies. A lot of librarians use “opinions are my own” in their bio, which can be useful.

Do you have any questions? The advice given is to be aware of the context, if you’re not sure about asking it, don’t ask it. One of the panel suggested, any queries you have email the point of contact you have from HR. Marie also pointed out to use this time at the end as an opportunity to thank the panel for their time and the opportunity to be interviewed, which I think is a fabulous way to end any interview.


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