Last Saturday morning, a group of well-dressed and interview-ready students and new graduates gathered together to listen to some advice on how to nail that pesky job interview. 

Our panelists for the morning included managers of different backgrounds:

  • Lisa Treston – HR Generalist and Consultant
  • Rebecca Ruff – QUT
  • Gary Johnston – QUT
  • Sam Searle – Griffith University

And included Joseph Doyle who is recently employed at the Brisbane Islamic College for our student/new grad experience.

If you want to see what it was like you can watch the Facebook Live Recording of the panel via the ALIA Students and New Graduates page.

However, if you want a quick wrap-up of the event with a few top tips then read on! We asked our panelists a bunch of questions which were posted on our anonymous Padlet (no longer on Padlet in 2023) page. Broadly, we picked out the most touched-on tips below:

Interview Skills for Students & Graduates

  • Preparation is KEY and helps to stop nervousness, if you are prepared everything falls into place.
  • What to wear? Opinions differ but dress slightly above what your position dictates. But most importantly, wear what you feel most comfortable in – it will affect your interview if you’re not comfortable!
  • The interview process can differ in large institutions and small institutions, so do your research and know what to expect when you go in to the interview.
  • Be mindful of your eye contact and body language. Remember, confidence and clarity are important. Don’t be afraid to take your time.

The second half of the morning focused on the practice aspects of preparing for a job interview. Participants worked on a sample job description to map their responses and experiences according to the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) template. A key part of this session was to begin thinking about what types of interview questions could be gleaned from the sample job description and selection criteria. Our above panel members, joined by Amy Walduck (ALIA QLD State Manager) and Joanna Fear (Federal Court Library), worked with participants to tease out these questions in preparation for the final part of the day – the mock interview! Each participant answered three interview questions in a one-on-one session with one of the mentors. Written and verbal feedback was provided for everyone to review in their own time.

The three top themes from feedback from each of the mentors include:

  1. Remember your transferrable skills! Sometimes you might not have a library-specific example, but you probably have something transferrable up your sleeve. If you didn’t get a chance to see Librarians and Dragons live at NLS8 earlier this year, take a look at the resources provided to see if they can help!
  2. Sometimes the process or task is only half the answer to a question. Keep an eye out for opportunities to sell your “soft skills” like teamwork, communication, or time management.
  3. Try not to rush your answers, take some deep breaths and slow down!

If you have any suggestions for professional development events in the future please let us know! Send us a Tweet: @ALIAnewgrads

Annette & Maddy.

ALIA SNGG QLD Regional Co-ordinators.


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