Librarians provide expansive services to meet their college and departmental colleagues at their point of need. These collaborations support the mission of the colleges and give librarians a deeper insight into student, faculty and staff information needs and behaviors that informs approaches to everything from collections to crafting innovative services.
For André Nault, Head of the Veterinary Medical Library of the University of Minnesota Libraries, that includes interviewing prospective students as part of the College of Veterinary Medicine’s rigorous admissions process.
‘Focus on the competencies required for success in the profession’
Each year the college invites hundreds of prospective students to an hour-long behavioral interview as a critical part of the admissions evaluation process. Most of the interviews occur on campus, but some occur online. Each interview includes a mix of two interviewers drawn from faculty, staff, and practicing veterinarians. Nault, with his unique appointment as both subject librarian for Veterinary Medicine and adjunct professor, acts as an interviewer on numerous admissions panels every year. He’s been acting in this role for seven years.
The College of Veterinary Medicine admissions website explains that the interviewers employ “a series of questions that focus on the competencies required for success in the profession.” The competencies evaluated were determined from original research conducted by the University of Minnesota and partner institutions in “response to changes in the veterinary profession, where success depends on the ability to handle more than just animal issues,” such as communication skills, leadership, self-awareness, and ability to handle stress.
Drawing on strengths and experience
Nault draws on a variety of strengths and experiences to provide expert input to the College of Veterinary Medicine admissions team.
“Having spent a lot of time learning about personality indexes such as Myers-Briggs and Enneagrams,” Nault recounts, “as well as having worked in a veterinary practice in the past, I’ve learned to score traits quickly and accurately.”
Violeta Bonneville, Admissions/Scholarship Coordinator for the College of Veterinary Medicine, described the expectations the college has for interviewers: “The interviewers’ role is to not only actively listen and evaluate the skills and competencies that qualify candidates for our program in a non-biased way, but also to highlight the strengths of our College tailored to the candidates’ interests.”
It is a role that Nault thrives in.
Bonneville speaks highly of Nault’s contribution, “His outgoing nature, engaging personality, and sense of humor play a key role in helping nervous candidates become comfortable during the interview.”
‘Reframe how they see librarians’
Serving on interview teams also benefits Nault, “It’s rewarding to me to help select students who will be a good fit for the profession and the school.” He also appreciates the opportunity to “build closer relationships with some faculty whom I don’t usually interact with through other work I do.”
Participating in the behavioral interview provides insight into the way students and his colleagues think. Nault also believes that connecting with prospective students in this role changes the way they perceive librarians. “I’ve also helped to reframe how they see librarians, and that many of the challenging stereotypes for our profession do not apply to me.”