This anonymous interview is with an Academic Librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring committee at a library with 0-10 staff members.
What are the top three things you look for in a candidate?
Holds an ALA accredited MLS if the position says you must have the degree right now; someone who pays attention to detail; someone who takes initiative.
Do you have any instant dealbreakers, either in the application packet or the interview process?
Spelling or grammatical errors. Errors indicating the application packet was used to apply for a different position (forgetting to update the name of the library, position title, etc.). Not meeting the minimum requirements for a position – please don’t waste HR/search committee’s time applying for a job requiring supervisory experience when you have none. Harassing (sending multiple emails, calling, dropping in) the HR contact/search committee chair about where you are in the hiring process and when the decision will be made.
What are you tired of seeing on resumes/in cover letters?
Assumptions of my marital status – you don’t know if I’m Mrs. X, and you don’t know if X is my maiden name and I’m really Mrs. Y.
Too much duplication in the cover letter of what is in your resume.
How many pages should a cover letter be?
√ Two is ok, but no more
How many pages should a resume/CV be?
√ Other: The CV should document all relevant work experience, education, and professional service. There is no set page limit to accomplish this.
Do you have a preferred format for application documents?
√ Other: If you’re relying on a particular layout/format for your documents, go with a .pdf.
Should a resume/CV have an Objective statement?
√ Other: It can. but I tend to ignore them since they often don’t speak to what I’m looking for based on my position description.
If applications are emailed, how should the cover letter be submitted?
√ Both as an attachment and in the body of the email
What’s the best way to win you over in an interview?
Good eye contact. Not interrupting people. Having questions prepared to ask the staff/board/administration. Asking me what I do in my work. Having a plan B in case the technology fails for your presentation. Taking notes.
What are some of the most common mistakes people make in an interview?
Not investigating the library/organization/institution before the interview.
Anything else you’d like to let job-seekers know?
Stay positive and let your cover letter and resume/CV work for you.