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April 7, 2014 / Christian M.

My Advice on Interview Prep

As I mentioned in my previous post, NLM is currently interviewing candidates for the next cohort of Associate Fellows. Several of the interviewees have reached out to ask for interview prep advice, so I thought I would write a post about it. I know it’s a little late since interviews have already started. Don’t worry, I did respond to them individually, so they know everything that I’m about to say. This is a mix of things related to the fellowship as well as my current job hunt.

Know the organization

Take time to put those librarian research skills to work, and look up information about the organization you are applying too. This info can include:

  • Mission, vision, and goals statements
  • The strategic/long range plan
  • Newsletters or news items on the website
  • Background info on your interviewers
  • (or in the case of the National Library of Medicine — fact sheets)

Know yourself

I think self-awareness is very important. Take some time for reflection and be able to explain:

  • Why you want this job (besides just “I need the money”)
  • How your skills line up with the job description
  • Your strengths and weaknesses
  • What previous supervisors and co-workers think of you
  • Your professional goals
  • Your motivating factors and workplace values (you may not receive questions about this, but it should help form the basis for some of the questions you ask the interviewers to determine if the job is a good fit for you).

Practice, Practice, Practice!

Interviews take practice (or so I’ve been told). This is probably my weak point at the moment. I haven’t been reviewing my responses in advance as thoroughly as I should. There is no way to anticipate every single question the interviewer(s) may ask. However, there are some common questions that almost everyone uses in addition to those specific to the job. Thinking ahead will help your thoughts to be more coherent and your communication more polished.

Ask Questions

This is specifically for those applying to the Associate Fellowship program. Don’t hesitate to reach out to current and alumni Associates at any stage of the application and interview process if you have questions about the fellowship or interview preparation. We are expected to be ambassadors for the program and recruit others, so we don’t mind sharing our experiences and answering your questions. 🙂


Did I miss anything? What are you suggestions for interview success?



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