Burst the Interview Anxiety Bubble

Do you get nervous talking in public with strangers? Do you get excited while talking and sometimes lose your train of thought? Are you selectively sociable or considered shy by others? Well if you answered yes to at least one of these questions, then we both have something in common.

The last six months of my life have been filled with job search activities such as searching online job boards, completing job applications, and interviewing for entry-level library positions. From my experience with reviewing online content about preparing for interviews, I found limited resources about preparing for in-person interviews. The following is my personal advice for preparing for interviews.

5 Tips for In-Person Interview Preparation

1.   Research the company

BEFORE you apply for a position, research the company. Try finding someone who works at the institution to ask about the organization climate. If this is not possible, try using public company profile tools such as Hoovers – Review the website. What is the organizations’ mission statement and how does it relate to your personal values? Talk about how your values will help the organization meet their mission statement

2.   Remedies for Nervousness

REACH OUT to fellow friends or mentors to help you prepare for your interview by role playing a Q&A session. Often times hiring committees like to see how you handle stress so prepare yourself  by reviewing interview question books as guides for preparing answers. Avoid too much caffeine and arrive at the interview site 15 minutes early. Take a copy of your application, resume/CV, and reference list.

3. FOCUS on Your Value

Your value as a professional is evident by the fact that you are one step closer to getting the job. You have secured an interview. Talk about your value as a professional and give specific details about situations where you have had to demonstrate [technical, interpersonal, supervisory] skills. Talk about volunteer positions or previous jobs where your job responsibilities relate to the position you are applying for.

4.  AVOID Negative comments about former manager

As tempting as it may be to make comments about dealing with difficult managers- NEVER do it. By providing inappropriate comments or stories- this shows that you lack professional courtesy and are not capable of working in a team environment. My golden nugget for having a successful working relationship with management is having open communication.

5.  ASK questions

NEVER leave the interview without knowing the next steps in the interview process. Ask what the timeline is for the process. AVOID asking about the benefits. This shows that you are more concerned with the benefits rather than doing the job. I often ask about the history of the job, what is the goal for the person in the position, opportunities for additional job responsibilities. I always like asking the hiring committee why they like their jobs.

Additional Resources

Beshara, T. (2008). Acing the Interview: How to Ask and Answer the Questions That Will Get You the Job. New York: AMACOM

Cambridge, S. (2010, Oct 28), Fifteen Ways to Knock Yourself Out of the Job Search Race, Retrieved from http://www.employmentdigest.net/2010/10/fifteen-ways-to-knock-yourself-out-of-the-job-search-race/ (2010, Nov 1) Employment Digest Net Blog.

Deards, K. (2010, Sept 14), Breaking into Academia: Acing the In Person Interview, Retrieved from http://libraryadventures.com/2010/09/21/ipinterview/ (2010, Nov 1) Library Adventures of Kiyomi

Fry, R. (2009). 101 Great Answers to the Toughest Interview Questions. Boston: Cengage Learning.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mary
    Jan 15, 2012 @ 12:15:43

    Excellent, succinct & insightful advice. You’ve done an invaluable service to the hiring committees as well as to job seekers. There are lots of books on this topic, but you’ve managed to pare it to the essentials and present it an easily absorbable format.

    This one deserves to be recycled, reused, re-posted in as many places as possible.


  2. Variegated Stacks
    Jan 21, 2012 @ 00:01:42

    Hi Mary…I totally forgot about this post. This is very helpful for me to look back at. Thanks so much for keeping in touch with me. I should do a part two version of this one, but from a telephone perspective.


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