Q: Here’s my situation: I have been a reference librarian at a medium-sized, thriving public library since 2006. In 2008, I interviewed for, but did not receive, a promotion to department head of reference. A colleague was promoted instead. Now, that colleague has gotten another job, and the position is open again. I really enjoy working for this library and strongly feel I can do an excellent job in this position. What is the best way to convey this to the director, especially in light of the fact that I was turned down for the position once before? I’ve already written a great cover letter and resume, so interview tips would be much appreciated.
TA: Don’t dwell on the past. Don’t focus on not getting the job two years ago. Instead, focus on your experience and the skill set you’ve developed over your career and be prepared to describe those during your interview. It can be hard to interview as an internal candidate, so you need to be prepared to talk about yourself as a candidate, not as someone everyone knows. Take the opportunity to talk about not only your responsibilities, but your successes as they relate to the job. Look through your interview schedule and be prepared to ask questions of everyone you meet with; questions about the job, their expectations, and the qualifications they desire most of the successful candidate. Focus on this job, your qualifications, and the reasons you would be the best qualified applicant for the position.