05/02/2014 § 10 Comments
I recently began the process of applying for jobs. When I found out I was invited for my first phone interview, I was given a lot of fantastic Facebook-solicited advice: shut your (distracting) pet out of the room, ask “Did that answer your question?” after answering a question, dress like you’re going to an actual interview so you’re in the right mindset. I practiced a mock interview beforehand. I felt reasonably well-prepared. I had eager cheerleaders telling me I could do it.
But after my first interview concluded, I felt ashamed. Like a failure. I recognized that I had had good answers to relevant questions about the specifics of what the job entailed, but I had rambled an incoherent mess of words in response to a simple question about a problem within a team and how I dealt with it. Oh, how I replayed those words over and over in my head after the brief interview had concluded. Someone I respected was on the search committee, a fact which further embarrassed me. It was a few weeks of near-constant cringing as I recovered.
Since that first phone interview, I have had additional phone interviews. I’ve learned something new from each one. Be reassured that it does get easier! Here are some of my tips for doing well in a phone interview.
Prepare. No, really prepare.
Before my first phone interview, I scheduled a mock phone interview with my career services office, which is staffed by students. When I got there, the person working (who I already knew) asked if we could just do a face-to-face interview because of the complicated logistics of setting up a mock phone interview. I said sure, thinking it was no big deal. We did the interview and it was fine. It wasn’t particularly nervewracking.
In retrospect, I should have had a mock phone interview that was a) With someone I didn’t know already – definitely not a fellow student, and b) It should absolutely have been over the phone. When I had my actual phone interview, I was way more nervous than I anticipated and felt totally unprepared. If doing a mock interview isn’t possible, you can at least check out the Hiring Librarians interview questions repository – don’t forget to sort by phone interview questions!
Anticipate and accept the awkwardness.
Phone interviews are notoriously awkward for all involved. You can’t read the search committee members’ body language, so you and someone from the search committee will likely interrupt each other. It’s okay. One thing that has been conveyed to me over and over again is that the search committee wants you to do well; they’re rooting for you. The best thing you can do when awkward things happen is just to have a positive attitude.
Have stories ready.
I don’t consider myself a very good storyteller. Speaking off the cuff is not my strong suit; I prefer time to think and analyze. But with interviews, reflection is key. You need to have stories focusing on a few predictable themes ready to go: a time when you dealt with a conflict, a time when you worked with a team, a time when you faced a conflict in a team setting. And of course, you have to be ready to answer questions about how your knowledge/experiences tie in with the job responsibilities.
Phone interviews made me recognize that I have been really busy over the past few years working in libraries, but I haven’t necessarily taken the time to reflect upon my experiences. It’s worth taking the time to really think about these broad themes and write them down. You won’t necessarily remember your stories off the cuff if you’re super nervous.
Try not to speculate too much about the interview.
As a job hunter, there’s a lot you may not know: who you’re up against, the salary, and often, when the institution expects the successful candidate to start the position. I’ve felt a level of vulnerability I didn’t expect when faced with all these unknowns. Adding a phone interview into the mix can be just another confusing aspect of the process, leading to all sorts of fixation and speculation about what it will lead to, if anything.
As much as you may want the position, don’t over-congratulate yourself or berate yourself about the phone interview after it’s over. Try to be objective: what did you do well, and what could you improve upon? The intelligent questions I couldn’t answer in phone interviews gave me clues as to what I need to learn to be competitive. Now that I’m past the embarrassment of not having a good answer, I can recognize how to be better next time.
Know you’ll get better with experience.
Once you know how phone interviews go, it will get easier. You’ll be less nervous. And in-person interviews are even better than phone interviews because you can make a real connection with the search committee.
Be nice to yourself.
Everything about applying for jobs is a humbling experience. If you’re on the job hunt, your emotions are probably all over the place: nervous, excited, depressed. You’re probably a bit crazy, right? It’s easy to feel that familiar sinking gut feeling: I will never learn everything I possibly need to know to be successful. How will I ever get a job? Be nice to yourself. Forgive yourself for making whatever mistake is hanging over your head convincing you that you’re 12 years old and nowhere near a hirable professional! (Hopefully I’m not the only one out there who feels like this from time to time.)
What have your phone interview experiences been like? What did you learn from them?
24/01/2014 § Leave a comment
By Brianna Marshall and Anna-Sophia Zingarelli-Sweet
HASTAC, or the Humanities, Arts, Sciences, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory, was founded in 2002 to serve as a community of “humanists, artists, social scientists, scientists and technologists working together to transform the future of learning for the 21st century.” It’s an incredible online portal that manages to encompass all the odds and ends related to digital scholarship and alt-ac careers. As two current HLS writers who have been involved with HASTAC, today we wanted to share our experiences with the community and tips for getting involved!
I was lucky enough to be selected as a HASTAC Scholar during the 2012-2013 school year. The HASTAC Scholars program focuses on bringing together undergraduate and graduate students working with digital scholarship projects across all disciplines. Scholars must be sponsored by their home institution, which will provide a small honorarium to the Scholar.
I first heard about the program through my boss, who had received an email through a digital humanities group on campus. He forwarded it to me and I applied to a group on campus who sponsored Scholars. Soon I found I wasn’t accepted, but the professor who had agreed to recommend me offered to see if my LIS program would sponsor me. They agreed, and in this roundabout way I became a Scholar.
As a Scholar you are encouraged to be active on the HASTAC website: to contribute content and give feedback to others. I found that I didn’t do this as much as I could have, though there is a lot to benefit from on the site:
Job postings, calls for papers, and other opportunities
LIS-specific groups, like “Authority Control: Information and Library Science”
Blogs! So many posts from smart, interesting people
The main way I ended up participating as a Scholar was through the 2013 conference held in Toronto, Ontario. When the conference was initially advertised, I decided to brainstorm possible proposals. I ended up submitting a panel proposal with two other LIS types as well as a panel focusing on digital publishing with a group of non-LIS Scholars.
As it turned out, both proposals were accepted and I went on to present at HASTAC 2013. You can read a bit more about my experience here. It was unlike any conference I’ve been to before, bringing together people of all disciplines, interests, and levels of experience. This conference more than any other helped me recognize how important it is to break free from the library silo to find innovative ideas and perspectives. The 2014 conference is in Peru, with the 2015 conference slated to return to the US (to my knowledge).
I hope you’ll consider exploring HASTAC. I came to library school preparing to be a librarian and aiming to work in an academic library, but over half the jobs I have applied for don’t have librarian in the title; instead it’s coordinator or curator or specialist, with a lot of the requirements being skills I would never would have even heard mentioned in a classroom. HASTAC is valuable because of the multitude of perspectives it draws together and for the welcoming, open arms toward all of us who aren’t quite sure where we fit. Library students can use it to grow a much-needed non-traditional skill set befitting the needs of modern librarianship – and any of the other alt ac careers we may find ourselves in.
To save the humanities, we need to get out and bust some moves pal.
— Save the Humanities (@SaveHumanities) December 10, 2013
Like many other parody Twitter accounts and bots, the Save the Humanities bot occasionally drops some serious truth bombs.
As our social horizons expand and our economic horizons contract, reinvigorating the academy, traditional scholarly disciplines — and indeed the library and information professions — is going to require busting a big move. Plenty of ink has already been spilled arguing that we (insert academics/ librarians/ humanists/ alt-acs here) are important for society. What we need now are strong, persuasive examples of exactly how we are deploying digital tools to change scholarship, and the world around us, for the better.
Luckily, there are communities of support for incubating and showcasing this kind of work — and HASTAC is a premier example. Like Brianna, I’ve found that the blogs and communities are an extremely important aspect of HASTAC for me, and these are things you can benefit from even if you aren’t a Scholar! The HASTAC website functions almost as a “world-brain”, with the collective knowledge of scores of bright people who are thinking and working around the scholarly use of digital tools. While the site is not easily searchable and the floods of content can be overwhelming, I subscribe to several groups and receive blog posts and comments in digest form. This helps me keep my finger on the pulse of emerging trends, vocabulary, and projects without feeling the need to constantly comb through the whole site. I probably miss a lot of great stuff that way, but this approach keeps it manageable. I haven’t been a very active commenter, but I am writing a book review for the Digital History group and have been interacting with fellow HASTAC scholars quite a bit on Twitter (follow the current HASTAC Scholar Twitter list here!)
One important aspect of the HASTAC community that’s a special perk of being a Scholar is the formation of interdisciplinary Working Groups, or “research nodes”. For example, I am a member of the Archives and Art History working groups; other working groups run the gamut from Critical Code Studies to Post-Colonialism to 19th-c English Literature. Each working group completes a collaborative digital project, which can include an online exhibition, a digital edition, an app, a robot, or anything else the group members can devise! The 2013-2014 Working Groups are just getting started, so I don’t have much to report yet, but I am really looking forward to this opportunity to work with other scholars across the country and develop a different type of project than I might otherwise create for an LIS course or internship.
In his introduction to the outstanding collection Switching Codes: Thinking Through Digital Technology in the Humanities and the Arts (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011), Thomas Bartscherer writes that “[t]o understand how digital technology is transforming thought and practice in the humanities and the arts, it is necessary to cultivate cross-cultural communication, to establish points of reference, and to develop a shared vocabulary. Given the globalized and decentralized nature of digital culture, this cannot be mandated from the top down, as it were, but must be cobbled together from the bottom up and on the fly.” At HASTAC, this kind of cross-communication is the name of the game. Sooner or later, what we now call “Digital Scholarship” will simply be the way we do scholarship, and the conversations that will get us there are happening right now among academics, programmers, poets, and students — with or without us. I firmly believe that library and archives professionals have an important role in shaping this critically engaged future, and I would love to see more LISers get involved. If you want to bust a move and save the humanities, pal, consider joining HASTAC, start participating in the site now, and apply to be a Scholar around August-September of 2014!
Are you involved with HASTAC or another DH-related group? What has your experience been?
15/01/2014 § 1 Comment
We’re excited to share that next week Hack Library School will feature an entire week of digital humanities-related content – we’re dubbing it “DH week.”
Here’s what you have to look forward to:
1/20 – An introduction to DH for library-dwellers, Ashley Maynor
1/21 – From an undergrad digital humanist, Grace Thomas
1/22 – DIY DH+LIS, Dana Bublitz
1/23 – DH and open access, Courtney Baron
1/24 – What you should know about HASTAC, Brianna Marshall and Anna-Sophia Zingarelli-Sweet
Don’t see a topic you’re curious about? Feel like you have something to add? We know we’ve only scratched the surface of possible DH-related content so we’d love to feature your ideas. Contact us at hacklibschool [at] gmail [dot] com to propose a guest post.
22/11/2013 § 1 Comment
Readers, we have exciting news! Hack Library School will be featuring a digital humanities-themed week of posts in early January 2014.
We are soliciting content from readers who have ideas they’d like to share. We’re looking for posts on the following themes:
- A basic introduction to DH
- Alt-ac careers for librarians
- Round up of the best DH resources (tools, conferences, etc.)
- Tips for gaining DH skills as a library student
As you can tell, these are pretty basic. While we are trying to pull together content that will be broadly applicable to LIS students, if you have ideas for posts that don’t fit within these descriptions, please share those too!
Contact us with a brief description of your proposed blog post at hacklibschool [at] gmail [dot] com by Friday, December 6 – but the sooner the better, because we’ll be hoping to have a final draft completed by late December. Guest writers should be current students or recent graduates of an LIS program.
18/10/2013 § 30 Comments
We would like to invite all library students to participate in round two of Library Student Day in the Life from October 28 – November 1. Our first round in March 2013 was a smashing success with seventy students participating!
We hope this project, which will revolve around a community of students sharing each day’s experiences for a week, will help prospective students learn what library school is actually like and connect current LIS/IT students with those in other programs. This is a great way to discuss what you’re learning, where you’re working, and all the details that make up your unique library school experience.
Want to participate?
- You must be currently enrolled in an LIS program.
- You must be willing to document your day or week through a blog, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube Channel, or other web-based means.
- You must sign up on our wiki so we can follow your week, too.
- That’s it! More than anything, we want this to be FUN.
We hope you’ll consider participating! Head to the wiki now to sign up. Send any questions or feedback to email@example.com.