Quirky Interesting Things Done Outside the Profession

Helen Marie Gunz

This anonymous interview is with an Academic Librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring committee.  This librarian works at a library with 0-10 staff members.

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

How tightly their skills match the needs of the position.
How well they will integrate with the currently team, and how they may broaden and expand the insights and assumptions of the current team.
Does their professional vision align with the institutional mission and vision?

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

If we ask a vision / brainstorming question, and they run out of ideas in 30 seconds (or some other timespan much shorter than we’ve allotted for the question).
Openly expressed ethical snafus or challenges that indicate a misalignment with the institutional values where we are.

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

“You should hire me because I know people you know”

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

They often leave out the quirky interesting things they’ve done outside the profession, which will often end up being the very things I look for to indicate a well-rounded person.

How many pages should a cover letter be?

√ Only one!

How many pages should a resume/CV be?

√ As many as it takes, but keep it short and sweet

Do you have a preferred format for application documents?

√ online

Should a resume/CV have an Objective statement?

√ I don’t care

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?

1. Demonstrate that you cared enough about the process to learn something about us.
2. Don’t be afraid of us, but do be respectful of us *and* yourself.
3. Be willing to take a stance and disagree, as long as you have good evidence to back up your stance.
4. Be willing to admit you are wrong, or have something about which you’d like to (or need to) learn more.

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

Talk too little or too much. Forget to ask us questions. Ask minor questions about locale and then not ask substantive questions about issues that are important to you. Panic.

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

Someone I hired once shared a tip for how to dress for an interview. Come early and scope out the place ahead of time, if possible. Choose attire that is slightly nicer than what is worn there on an everyday basis. If you dress too nice, people think you won’t fit in. If you dress too casual, they think you aren’t taking this seriously. Slightly better than normal says, “Deep down I’m really like you, but I respect you and want you to respect me.”

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Filed under 0-10 staff members, Academic, Original Survey

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