job talks/presentations for job interviews

For all you academic librarians out there, how did your presentation/job talk go? Did you have a prepared speech, a power point, handouts?

I had all those things. But the two candidates we're interviewing here for a librarian position did not. It's kind of strange. I just always assumed that for your job interview presentation you'd do something formal and polished, like you were presenting at a conference or teaching a class. These two candidates used the presentation to give us a personal bio, show some of the projects they've been working on, and take questions. They were very informal and not at all organized. One guy went waaaaay over the time limit too.

Maybe it's my public speaking background but this seemed very odd to me. What are other librarians' experiences with the job talk/presentation? Am I just a fuddy-duddy? Is this the new big thing? Or did these guys miss the concept?


I wonder if both of them didn't have a presentation, did the search committee communicate its expectations to them clearly?

I've always had a prepared presentation whenever I've interviewed at an academic library, but in every case, the search committee told me to prepare a sample instructional session or prepare a presentation on current technology trends in libraries, etc.

Seems like they should've put some effort in, assuming they were told they'd be doing it.

I'm guessing their instructions for the interview were similar to mine, since I just interviewed back in July. My instructions were, "Put together a 20-30 minute presentation on distance education library services, or another library-oriented topic of your choice." This was for a digital projects position, and there is just *so much* they could have talked about and really demonstrated their knowledge of the field, but instead they just talked about themselves. One guy had a power point that he started up but then said he was going to change his presentation and went on to totally wing it. It just seemed very odd to me. I was disappointed because as a technonerd I really wanted to hear a prepared presentation on some meaty issues, rather than see sample websites. Meh.

Ok, with instructions like that I'd expect a polished & prepared presentation. It depends on the presenter's style though. I've grown to despise powerpoint myself so I tend to stay clear of it whenever possible. I did use powerpoint when I was fresh out of library school.

I think that part of the point of having candidates do presentations is making sure they can communicate with others well and get a better sense of their skills and personality. If they manage to bring that across while winging it, that's fine. I'm not sure if I'd really expect a candidate's presentation to be very meaty, I don't think you can do much in a half hour.

Anyone know when presentations at interviews started? The last time I interviewed was 1986, and it only required interminable meetings with various committees and long lunches. Only when there was a major department head or assistant director type position did the candidates give a presentation. Then I noticed in the mid to late 90s all the candidates were giving presentations. Seems like overkill for Slavic cataloger or interlibrary loan. Since public speaking is usually rated the #1 fear of most people (certainly mine), I would think you could miss out on a good solid employee who was not a good speaker. Although one did become President of the United States.

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