If You Can’t Follow Our Very Simple Directions Now, We Wonder if You’ll Follow Them Later

Ellen M Coe

This anonymous interview is with a librarian who hires interns and part time professional positions for a group with 0-10 staff members that does LIS education activities. S/He has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring committee.

What are the top three things you look for in a candidate?

That they meet the requirements stated in the job ad
Ability to communicate clearly
Genuine interest and enthusiasm for the work and our organization

Do you have any instant dealbreakers, either in the application packet or the interview process?

Not following the directions stated in the ad. If we say submit a cover letter, submit a cover letter. If we tell you to submit in a certain format, submit in that format, etc. If you can’t follow our very simple directions now, we wonder if you’ll follow them later.

What are you tired of seeing on resumes/in cover letters?

Lack of personalization. Tailor your cover letter AND your resume to the job. Show me specifically what jobs or activities relate to the job we’re advertising. It’s really obvious when a resume or especially a cover letter are very generic and something you pass out to everyone.

Is there anything that people don’t put on their resumes that you wish they did?

Some people just list jobs with no information about what they did or why it’s relevant. Show me how those jobs or activities connect with what I need you to do in this new job.

How many pages should a cover letter be?

√ Only one!

How many pages should a resume/CV be?

√ Other: For newer grads two should be max, for more experienced people longer is ok as long as its relevant

Do you have a preferred format for application documents?

√ No preference, as long as I can open it

Should a resume/CV have an Objective statement?

√ No

If applications are emailed, how should the cover letter be submitted?

√ As an attachment only

What’s the best way to win you over in an interview?

Ask good questions about the job or our organization. Show enthusiasm and interest in what we tell you. Have specific examples of work you’ve done or even ideas you have that you can talk about.

What are some of the most common mistakes people make in an interview?

Not offering examples. Not actually answering the question we asked and instead taking the conversation someplace unrelated.

How has hiring changed at your organization since you’ve been in on the process?

It hasn’t changed much.

Anything else you’d like to let job-seekers know?

I know sometimes you’re just plain desperate for a job, and that’s totally understandable. But you’re not going to get far if you don’t at least try to want the specific job you’re applying for. Convince the people hiring that you want THAT job and would be a great fit!

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Filed under 0-10 staff members, Original Survey, Other Organization or Library Type

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