Earlier this year I put in an application for Assistant Librarian with my local Council, I thought this is a great opportunity to start gaining hands on experience in a library environment and although I haven’t completed my studies I met the other criteria for the role. I didn’t hear back for a few months and had thought I had missed out all together, then out of the blue I received an email stating that I’d been short listed for the first round of checks. The following week I received an email invitation to attend a workshop with other candidates in order to observe us and narrow down the field for interviews. Two workshops were organised as there were over 1035 people applied for the roles and approximately 160 people were invited to workshops and split into two groups. I had no idea what the workshop would involve however I thought it a great learning experience and took it on as a fun activity. I arrived at the library early and checked out the other candidates as we all nervously waited for the workshop to begin. None of us knew what to expect but the eager and hopeful faces and nervous chatter revealed everyone was as keen as I was to be successful. Some of the candidates seemed to already know each other and others like me stood alone and quietly observed, all too soon a large group of library staff turned up to open the conference room and we all surged in. There were lots of large tables set up with 7 chairs to a table. One staff member sat at the end of each table and candidates were asked to sit at any table and this would be where we would complete our group workshop tasks.
We each introduced ourselves and then there was a brief talk on what to expect and how the workshop would be run. We also had an introduction to the local libraries and how they interacted with one another and each of the staff introduced themselves, they were from many different roles within Council and from various branch libraries. We were given three group tasks to complete, two of which involved a scenario where we found ourselves alone in the library and how we would handle multiple requests/tasks. We were also asked to discuss how we might handle the situation of needing to prepare for story time which would start in the next 10 minutes at the same time needing to attend to customers at the front desk and noticing the books on the shelves needed tidying. For the first two tasks our group had lots of great ideas on how to deal with each situation and drew on our own personal experiences. We also had to create a poster for our branch library advertising what services the library offers to the community before completing a final individual task on our hopes for the role and our preferences for working in the industry. Whilst we completed our tasks the staff member on our table observed our interactions and made notes and there were also staff wandering around the room taking notes. I was nervous about what to expect and I had a wonderfully fun afternoon, regardless of whether I was lucky enough to get an interview I was grateful for the learning experience and the opportunity to meet other people entering the industry who I may indeed end up working with later on.
A few days after the workshop I was invited to attend an interview with a panel of 3 people, I was so excited to be asked. I was quite nervous attending the interview as it was my first for a role with Council and my first for a role in the industry I wish to make my career in. I have to admit my nerves got the better of me and I waffled off topic a few times. I knew in my heart I had dropped the ball when it came to the interview and kicked myself for not answering the questions better. A couple of days later I received a call from the Human Resources representative who was also in attendance at the interview and he was really positive about what I had to offer them in regard to my previous experience and knowledge. As I was only able to apply for the permanent full-time role I had on this occasion missed out, they would have considered me for the permanent part-time role however my current circumstances mean I need full-time hours. Though disappointed I had missed out I gave myself a pat on the back as I had been picked to attend an interview out of the 1035 people who applied and that is a great achievement.
I’m more confident now in my ability to apply for these types of roles and I’m keeping a keen eye out for full-time opportunities. This week in our professional development unit we were asked to think of and suggests quotes to inspire each other to achieve success in our careers and I thought of this one by the Mythbusters, “Failure is always an option”. It’s true, we learn from our experiences and success is earned by learning from our mistakes.