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There are standard teaching interview questions and then there are the ones that are specific to our breed of teacher. Please pipe up with your input and help a sister out! Here are some things I'm thinking might be included:
How do you promote collaboration?
What is a challenge you have faced working in the library?
Describe a project you have collaborated on. How would you change it in the future?
What are your strengths/ weaknesses as a teacher?
Which of the three Information Power roles do you feel is the most important/ your strength/ etc.?
Describe an inservice you have planned for your teachers.
Three books you've read recently that you would share with students.
A teacher asked you for help finding a read-aloud, what would you recommend?
A student who hates reading is ushered in by a teacher who asks you to help him/her find a book. How do you help? (I actually have more trouble with the opposite... the ones who say they have read everything I suggest!)

Also, what am I going to ask them? I have a million questions, some of which I can answer by just doing some research, but I know I have to narrow it down. My ideas are... (please give feedback on these if you have any thoughts!)
What kind of schedule does the library use? Would I be in one building?
What kind of collaborative work is already happening?
Is there the library associate full or part time?

Also, I'd like to take my laptop to share things from my website which really shows all the things I'm doing. Is that acceptable?

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In an interview I would not ask questions unless they were general. Asking about the schedule will imply you won't consider what they currently use. I would ask instead what the school does to ensure the LMS is able to collaborate with all teachers during the school day (putting the onus on them that collaboration can't happen if there is a fixed schedule.) I would ask about the age of the current collection , and the budget, perhaps bringing up library standards as far as age, number of volumes, and quality of th4 collection verses numbers. I would ask about funding, which would allow you to bring up the average cost of current books. Far too many administrators really don't know how old a collection is, or how much money it might take to get a collection weeded and up to date with newer books. Any questions you have should not sound like you are ruling them out, or they very well may rule you out. Instead use your questions to educate the interivewer about current best practices and what a model media program could look like. I wouldn't even discuss money or contract days UNTIL an offer was on the table. Just my thoughts. Others?
I kind of feel like those questions about the collection sound a little critical and might put an administrator on the defensive if they didn't know the answers. I'll get a feel for that once I'm in the door and can take the time to educate the administrators then if necessary. But things like the schedule and how collaboration is happening are very important to me. I'm happy in my current position, so I don't want to leave unless I know what I'm getting into. If I can't figure that out from their websites, I'm going to ask it. And I definitely want to know about the library associate being full time or part time. Interview teams I've been on worried about candidates who didn't ask any questions. But I agree that the questions shouldn't sound judgmental.
I compiled a huge list of potential interview questions. I tried to answer all of them to myself at some point just to hear what I had to say -- in case I really had to say it.
Arlen, I am reading through your list and saw one that I left off of my list. It was just asked of me at the last interview I had. They wanted to know how involved I was in my state professional organization. I thought that was a good one. Plus, I don't know how I could have forgotten to include the "how do you stay current" kind of question. Duh. I was a little confused by this question on your list, "Why do you want to leave teaching?" That is an extremely comprehensive list of questions and things to consider. Thanks for sharing that!
Ten Questions to Ask Every New Employee
By Peter Bromberg
originally posted at Library Garden Wednesday, January 16, 2008;
submitted to TeacherLibrarianNetwork by Arlen Kimmelman

Kate Sheehan had a wonderful post a week or so ago, Customer Service Mind, Beginner Mind, in which she writes about the value of looking at things with a fresh eye. It reminded me that every time I ever started a new job, I was hyper-aware of all the wacky things about my new organization; the signs that had been taped to the door since 1973: the restrictive (or just plain arbitrary and weird) policies that seemed to have no rhyme nor reason; the lack of basic equipment available for staff (no sliderules or abaci, but close.)

These awarenesses weren't always negative. Sometimes I was aware of the amazing benefit package that everyone else seemed to take for granted (or even grumble about) ; or an incredibly efficient work flow or communication mechanism -- like a wall in the staff room with everyone's picture (Facebook 1.0), or a Director that was actually available to speak with employees.

But no matter how strong or strange these awarenesses were, they always faded away within the first few weeks on the job. It didn't take long before my new environment would simply register as "normal." Seriously, there could have been a chimpanzee in a tuxedo singing the star-spangled banner in the lobby; but if he was there on day 1 and day 2, by day 3, I'd be nodding and saying, "morning George, you sound good today. Nice job on the bowtie..." In other words, I can't underestimate the power of our brains to adapt and reset the benchmark for normal experience.

I always thought that those first few weeks as a new employee, when everyone told me everything and more, but no one asked me for MY thoughts or impressions, were a wasted opportunity. So when I became a department manager I made it part of the orientation process to squeeze these observations out of all new employees. I would literally take new employees to lunch and tell them that for the next few weeks, their perceptions were extremely valuable and encourage them to share with me if there was ANYTHING that we did that seemed odd, inefficient, wasteful, or stupid. Or amazing, creative, and blazingly brilliant.

If you can manage to get this data -- heck, even once tiny piece of datum -- from your new employees (give them a break now and then from reading the 250 page employee manual), you'll have gotten some very useful information.

So. Submitted for your approval, here are my Top Ten Questions To Ask Every New Employee. [drumroll please...]

What was your first impression when you walked into the library?
What are your impressions of the aesthetic environment inside the building? What could we do to improve it?
What are your impressions of the aesthetic environment outside the building? What could we do to improve it?
What are we doing that strikes you as wasteful -- of time or money?
What services are you surprised to learn that we are offering, for better or worse?
What services are you surprised to learn that we are NOT offering, for better or worse?

Are there any policies that you don't understand the rationale for? Are there any policies that strike you as just plain nuts?
What are your impressions of our website?
What was your experience like when you called the library? What are your impressions of our phone system?
What are your impressions of our customer service orientation? Are we customer-focused? What could we do to be more so?

BONUS QUESTIONS (for the brave ones out there)

How friendly (or unfriendly) did the staff seem when you first walked in the door?
What are we doing that strikes you as straight-up bat sh*t crazy?
If you consistently ask these questions of your new employees, you'll have a wonderful opportunity to recapture the newness of seeing, if only briefly, through borrowed, "beginner mind" eyes.
Also from Library Garden originally posted by Tyler Rousseau on Fri., Dec. 7, 2007.
Submitted to TeacherLibrarianNetwork by Arlen Kimmelman

Do we encourage our employees to leave?

If someone leaves your system for the same job in another (i.e. lateral move), that should get you thinking.

If the average new-employee retention is less two years before they move on to another position, you definitely want to take notice.

If your system sees people leave and then watches them flourish in another position, you shouldn't brag that "they started off in this system." It should raise questions as to why your system couldn't seem to hold on to him/her.

Employee retention has always been difficult in our profession but, sometimes, we unknownngly encourage people to leave.

The list below is a compilation of reasons I've heard Librarians give for leaving their positions. If any of these sounds like a familiar complaint of former employees, you may want to consider it, especially from the employee's perspective.

Pay- Bosses, Directors and Board Members tend to roll their eyes when this issue is brought up. However, this is going to be a key factor for applicants. If two positions are posted and one offers more money than the other it is no surprise which will get more applications. Furthermore, I know several people over the last two years who have earned up to ten thousand dollars a year difference in pay simply by moving, laterally, into another system. How much of a difference can that be? How about the difference of affording your own rent or having to live with someone else.

Vacation and/or Holidays- Some New Jersey Library systems offer 10 days of vacation a year while others offer 24+ days. This does not include federal, personal, floating holidays or sick time. If everything else is equal (pay, benefits, etc.) which system would you rather work for?

Hours and/or Nights- How many nights a week do you require your librarians to work? How many Saturdays and/or Sundays a month?
Yes, we are in public services but we are also highly educated professionals with families, friends and social needs. On the nights that I work I don't get to see my children or wife. One night is tough enough but two nights a week would be nearly impossible and a bigger strain on my family as it means my wife would have to feed, bathe and put both kids to bed by herself. The effects of working multiple nights are further reaching than just the employee's schedule.

Professional Investment- Some systems have a budget for training and others do not. Some systems encourage employees to pursue professional interests and others look for a homogeneous staff. Employees who feel invested tend to support their systems and be happier as they know they may not get the same treatment elsewhere. This can also be a big draw for new employees as it shows the system's interest in professional development. And consider this; the more an employee can pursue their interest, the more they are noticed in the professional realm as an expert in that subject which, in turn, is good for the system's noticability.

Advancement- A professor once told me that Librarians tend to have to promote themselves and that means they leave the system they are working in. Obviously, we cannot promote everyone as there are fewer positions the higher up we go. But, other than steady employment, what are we doing to encourage these people to stay?

If employees leave because of these reasons it doesn't necessarily mean that they are in a bad system but it should rasie a warning flag. As systems, we are in competition with each other to employ the best possible professionals. Although we may hire that professional, what are we doing to keep him/her?


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