Interview Questions: Discovery
In 2018, shortly after taking a new library management position, I led most of my direct and indirect reports through an appreciative inquiry exercise. The exercise was intended to establish a culture of openness--one in which creativity and excellence could emerge organically from employees who were free to create the shape of the library's future success. Participants were asked to pair up with a co-worker and have one person interview the other, asking three questions. Interviewers were then asked to share with the whole group what they had learned from each response. As a follow-up to this exercise, participants were given the opportunity to submit an anonymous suggestion that, if enacted, would enable the library organization to achieve its highest potential.
- Looking back on your work experience in this organization (or elsewhere), remember a time when you felt most alive, fulfilled, or excited about your work. What made it engaging? How did you feel? Were others involved in the situation?
- Without being modest, what do you value most about yourself as a person and as a member of this organization? What are your strengths? Similarly, what do you appreciate most about this organization? In what ways does it excel?
- How would you like to see the organization’s health and vitality enhanced? What are your aspirations for its future?
Questions were re-used or adapted from the following sources:
Doyle, B. (2013, January 31). Appreciative inquiry: Identifying your library’s existing strengths [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://publiclibrariesonline.org/2013/01/appreciative-inquiry-identifying-your-librarys-existing-strengths/
Kelly, T. (2010). A positive approach to change: The role of appreciative inquiry in library and information organisations. Australian Academic and Research Libraries, 41(3), 163–177. doi:10.1080/00048623.2010.10721461
Sullivan, M. (2004). The promise of appreciative inquiry in library organizations. Library Trends, 53(1), 218–229. https://www.ideals.illinois.edu/handle/2142/1728
Sullivan, M., & Spencer, G. (2008, June 30). And now for the good news: Appreciative inquiry. Workshop presented at the American Library Association annual conference, Anaheim, CA. Retrieved from https://www.slideshare.net/LLAMA_ALA/and-now-for-the-good-news-appreciative-inquiry