New Professionals and Hiring Committees

HiringWhen I started my first job after grad school I was in a position that including hiring as one of its many tasks.  Prior to this point I had only sat on the opposite side of the hiring table and I remember feeling a bit overwhelming at being responsible for deciding who received a job.  In this particular case I was working with small libraries and heritage organizations to hire individuals to undertake digitization on a contract basis.  We did the hiring using committee that included representatives from the various institutions.  This was great in terms of making me feel like I wasn’t solely responsible for the decisions and that there some more experienced voices in the room.  However I was responsible for creating the interview questions, making a short list of candidates, and was considered the ‘subject expert’ on the committee.  Initially it seemed like a monumental leap for someone who had limited professional experience interviewing as a candidate and who had never served as an interviewer before.

That was seven years ago.  Since that point I’ve been involved in the hiring of around twenty positions.  These positions have often been contract, first time in the field, or student oriented positions.  Acting as an interviewer has become a lot less scary in the intervening years and I’ve learned a lot around asking good questions, checking references, and trusting my gut.  This experience has also made me think about the importance of including interns and young professionals on hiring committees.  There’s a good chance that one day these new professionals are going to be responsible for hiring and having insight into the selection process can be a huge help.  Even if they aren’t ever responsible for hiring seeing how the interview process works can be a huge help when interviewing for future jobs.

What was your first experience acting as interviewer like?  How did you prepare for that first interview where you were the one asking the questions?