Questions for You to Ask

 

Questions for You to Ask

When a potential employer asks if YOU have any questions, this is another chance to shine in the interview. Be inquisitive! Be interested! But be tactful as well. Some of these are from my own experiences, and some have been asked of search committees I’ve been on.

Disclaimer: Some of these questions are more appropriate for phone interviews, some for on-site interviews. Or some may not be appropriate for the position you’re interviewing for. You be the judge!

  • Why is this position open?
  • Is this a new position? / How often has this position been filled in the past 5-10 years?
  • Is this a budgeted position?
  • How secure is the funding for this position?
  • Can you talk a little bit about the library’s (and possibly parent institution’s) financial situation?
  • What are some of the first tasks or projects that you would like to see the person in this job complete?
  • Describe some of the long-term objectives with this position?
  • Are there specific goals you have set for the person in this position?
  • How is one evaluated on the job?
  • Do you offer funding for professional development and conference travel? How is funding determined?
  • Are any re-location/moving expenses paid?
  • How supportive is the library for continuing education?
  • What do you see as the library’s overall biggest challenge?
  • What do you expect the biggest challenge will be for me in this position?
  • During my first year on the job, what do you think I will spend my most time working on?
  • Does the library have a lot of employee turnover, or do people tend to stick around?
  • Would you describe the library as more team-driven or individual-driven?
  • How would you characterize the library’s “culture”? – Was it always like this? Or how have you shaped it?
  • To your potential supervisor: Could you describe your management and communication style?
  • How closely do the various library departments work together.
  • Are there regular library meetings?
  • What types of committees (both internal and external) might I be expected to serve on, or work with?
  • Are there opportunities for advancement at the library?
  • Is there an established mentorship program for new librarians?
  • Can you talk about living in [this city, town, etc…]? Housing? Attractions? etc…
  • Can you describe a typical day’s work?
  • What is the work schedule like? 8-5, flexible, night/weekend shifts?
  • How would you describe the library’s relationship with….[the main branch, the branch libraries, the community, the school district, the university, the company…]? Are there areas that could use improvement or emphasis?
  • How is the library perceived among its constituents?
  • Are librarians invited to participate in faculty meetings, dept. meetings, campus/school decision-making?  [academic, school libraries]
  • Describe how the library reaches out to virtual users.
  • What do you like about working here?
  • What do you like most about your job?
  • What do you like least about your job?
  • What about the library surprised you when you started working here?
  • What benefits are provided (medical, dental, insurance, vacation…)?
  • What is the payroll frequency?
  • Are the jobs (or certain jobs) unionized/non-unionized?
  • What kinds of outreach efforts does the library do to its [community, schools, students…]?
  • How does the library assess and evaluate the services it provides?
  • Could you show me/tell me about my work space?
  • Describe the technology available to me (wireless, desktop/laptop, PC, Mac)?
  • What is the replacement cycle for employee computers/laptops?
  • What non-library organizations and businesses inspire you the most?
  • What are some of the library’s overall long-terms goals and/or projects?
  • How are the librarians classified (professional staff, hourly, faculty, etc…)?
  • Is this a faculty position (tenure-track, non tenure-track)? Professional staff position? [academic]
  • Describe the promotion and/or tenure/continuing appointment process. Do you have a document listing guidelines and performance indicators? [academic]
  • Do you offer tuition waivers for employees and dependents? [academic]
  • Describe the students, faculty and staff of the university. What are the university’s popular majors, strong programs, etc…? [academic]
  • Do you pay/partially pay/reimburse candidates for costs associated with in-person interviews? (hotel, airfare, mileage, etc…)
  • What is your time line for the search process and possible start date?
  • What is the salary range, or starting salary? [if not listed in the job announcement] – Note: Proceed with caution. In some cases, this is best asked at the final stage.