Interviewing Tools

ELD members identified the qualities of an effective engineering librarian. These interview questions can target the specific qualities you require. Remember, the interviewer(s) generally speaks too much –80% of the interview should be the candidate speaking and the interviewer(s) listening.

Desired Traits (in order of importance)

Interview Questions

Strong customer service focus

  • What does customer service mean to you?
  • What do you find the most enjoyable public service? What do you find the most challenging about public service?
  • What are some ways that you may try to promote library services and resources to faculty?
  • What is your vision of outreach?
  • How are teaching, instruction and consultation related to outreach?
  • The person in this position needs to be innovative and proactive. Can you describe some things you have done that demonstrate these qualities?
  • Describe a situation that displays superior customer service.
  • Tell me about the steps you take in handling an irate patron.

Excellent communication skills

  • How do you say “no” to a patron?
  • Describe a situation when you experienced ineffective communication. What would you do differently in the above situation?
  • How would you rate your communication skills? What have you done to improve them?
  • What would you do if you heard a colleague provide a patron with the incorrect information?
  • What does the term “two way communication” mean to you? Describe a situation in which you successfully practiced two way communication.

An open mind, flexibility, creativity, energy

  • How do you keep fresh on the job?
  • Comment on a time when you got behind in your work. How did you handle this situation?
  • What two or three accomplishments have given you the most satisfaction?
  • What things frustrate you the most? How do you cope with them?
  • Can you think of a problem, when the old solutions didn’t work and describe how you solved it?
  • What has been the most difficult decision you have had to make?
  • What have you read lately? What are you reading now?
  • Do you prefer a job in which you have well defined tasks and responsibilities, or one in which your work changes on a frequent basis?
  • Are you a person who likes to try new things or more comfortable with regular routines? Give an example.
  • How do you handle stress?

Enthusiasm for science/engineering

  • If you were an engineer, what type of engineer would you be?
  • What do you most enjoy about working with engineering students and faculty?

A team player

  • Do you prefer to work alone or in group?
  • Tell us about a team or group project you have worked on and how you contributed to the team.
  • What role is most comfortable for you on team projects?

Basic knowledge of resources/tools in their discipline

  • Which engineering resources would you bring to a desert island?
  • Can you describe a reference exchange where you were quite creative in finding what was needed?

Good technical skills

  • How would you rank your technical skills on a scale of 1-10, 1=being needs some work, 10 =excellent?
  • What type of technical support would you expect from your systems support team?
  • What is the most frustrating about your current position vis a vis your system support team?

Good sense of humor

  • Humor can take many forms. Is the candidate being sarcastic, subtle, genuine, insincere?
  • If someone follows up a critical remark with “just kidding”, he/she isn’t kidding at all, but trying to disguise the message.
  • You could ask about a person’s hobbies, what tv shows they watch?

Willingness and an ability to learn quickly

  • Describe a situation where you had to learn something quickly.
  • How would you go about getting up to speed in this position?

Good work ethic, focused

  • How would you describe your work style?
  • What do you think are the most important characteristics/abilities of a successful engineering librarian?
  • Give an example of a project you initiated.
  • What are some of the aspects of your current position that you enjoy?
  • What are some of the aspects of your current position that you do not enjoy?
  • What does success mean to you? How do you judge it?
  • In what ways do you make a contribution to your department?
  • How do you routinely organize you work in your current position? What happens to your plans when emergencies develop?
  • Describe how you schedule your time on a hectic day. Give an example.
  • What motivates you?
  • Describe your ideal job?
  • Why did you choose librarianship as a career?
  • How does this position fit into your career path?
  • What is most important to you in a job?
  • How did your most recent supervisor evaluate your job performance? What were your best points and your areas for improvement?
  • Can you give an example of your ability to manage or supervise others?
  • How do you feel about the way you are currently supervised? What is your preferred style of being supervised?

Back to Mentoring Committee Homepage