Homo semper aliud, fortuna aliud cogitat

When I resigned from my previous job I said to myself: “It’s fine, now take it easy, take your time to find a new job, spend time with friends, study, relax and bla bla”. Let’s say that I gave to myself a month to find a new job and take time to settle in the new city I moved in just a couple of days ago.

Instead by the end of this month I am starting a new temporary job as Assistant Librarian in a brand new sector for me: health care libraries. How exciting! I went for my interview literally yesterday. It was absolutely fine: nice questions and a test in which I had to perform a medical literature search using ProQuest. My background is primarly about Humanities and Arts and it’s going to be interesting the fact that I have to master specific knowledge in order to support healthcare professionals. Let’s face a new learning curve.

“Homo semper aliud, fortuna aliud cogitat” (Publilius Syrus) means “A man always plans one thing, and Fortune plans something else”…so true.16549085713_f4653e6596_z


It’s not you, it’s me

Now that I am “temporaly” unemployed I am thinking about writing about my experience as job seeker in the library/heritage/information sector.

Despite the outcome of a job interview, requesting feedback is the key thing. I normally request it and it’s  so interesting, in the post-match analysis, to realise what the panel was really looking for (unfortunaly too late). At the end it’s a learning process.

Feedback could be sent via email or phone call. This is my personal experience:

  • Feedback via phone.

GREAT! I love hearing directly from a panel member the reasons why I was not selected. This happened to me last month and I rated the call five stars. After the usually sugar-coated intro, like “you were a strong candidate but on this occasion, you have not been successful” comes the interesting part. Initially it’s hard to accept real-time constructive feedback, for example “you did not show enough experience in handling academics’ requests” or “you need more experience in managing a team”, but in a couple of hours I realised that she was absolutely right. This is were the magic happen: I discovered that, as she highlighted, in my previous jobs I did not cultivate enough relationships with academics or supervise experience and they are now key things I have to work on as part of my CPD.

  • Feedback via email.

I am not generally satisfied because feedback sent via email is usually written in a polite but general tone that do not investigate in depth the actual answers I gave and the reasons behind a decision. The title of this post is connected with one of my latest feedback I received. Please read that with me…

An excellent job application covering all essential and desirable criteria. You gave a fabulous interview and were very engaging. It was very clear that you had researched the post and the University beforehand. You supported most of your answers with examples and overall it was a very difficult decision. We would like to wish you all the best for the future.

It’s sounds like it’s not you, it’s me. Wait a second…are you breaking up with me?

My job hunting goes on…jobhunting

The unpredictable nature of job interviews


During the last months I have been invited to three job interviews up North (the fourth is coming soon) and “after careful consideration they regret to inform me that on these occasions they have decided not to progress my application any further”.

Oh well…it’s life!

I have to admit that I have enjoyed taking part to those recrutment processes mainly for two reasons. First I had the opportunity to visit universities, explore libraries and meet professional people. The other one is that I am now “familiar” with the process and the kind of questions asked.

So, why am I still looking for a job If I feel confident of my ability and skills? Well, simply because I have under control only the 40% of the job interview selection. Let me explain my theory:

I have under control just my personal job interview performance, that I evaluated around the 40%. I can be brilliant, have a connection with the panel, be relaxed and enthusiastic however it’s not enough.

On the other hand there’s another 40% derived from the “others’ performances”. I don’t know who I am going to be compared to, maybe there’s someone with a lot of experience, maybe internal, maybe with great answers. Who knows?

Up to this point the situation is quite balanced: 40% VS 40%, and here it comes the mysterious and unpredictable 20% that determines the final score. I call it luck, vibes, sync. It is obviously true that, as any other candidates, I am marked agains neutral criteria however if two candidates are closed with their marks the final result is determined by “others factors”. Maybe the manager is looking for someone quite and that fits into a particular team. In this section I would include also scenarios when shortlisted candidates drop the offer down or they do not come to the interview.

All of this just to say that I am optimistic and on zen. Wish me luck for the next interview. May the 20% be with me!