This anonymous interview is with an Academic librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of hiring committees at a library with 0-10 staff members.
What are the top three things you look for in a candidate?
Good interpersonal and communication skills.
Knowledge if the position is heavy on technical skills.
Do you have any instant dealbreakers, either in the application packet or the interview process?
Doesn’t meet the requirements of the position.
Degree is not ALA accredited.
A lot of typos in the application.
What are you tired of seeing on resumes/in cover letters?
Cover letter seems generic–not tailored to the position.
Cover letter unprofessional such as mistakes in grammar, spelling, format.
Resumes basically the same thing. Not tailored to the position.
Can’t figure it out. For example, instead of listing dates and place of employment, have a summary of skills at the top of the resume.
List lame things like hobbies and interests.
Unprofessional format. Unorganized.
Is there anything that people don’t put on their resumes that you wish they did?
If there is some big gap in employment, it should be explained briefly in the cover letter. [Not on the resume though].
Some don’t have exact dates and place of employment. I want to get a quick overview of their experience and education.
Don’t make it so short that you don’t know what their committee work, honors, publications are. I’m in an academic library so I consider them vitae same as faculty.
How many pages should a cover letter be?
√ Two is ok, but no more
How many pages should a resume/CV be?
√ As many as it takes, I want to look at every accomplishment
Do you have a preferred format for application documents?
Should a resume/CV have an Objective statement?
√ I don’t care
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?
Don’t ramble on too much or get off-topic.
Don’t lie when you don’t know something. I will see right through that. Just say you don’t know but you would love to learn it.
Don’t bring up personal things like your kids, your pets, your plants during the interview. It’s OK to relax [a little!] and mention those at dinner if appropriate.
Ask me to repeat something if you don’t understand the question.
Show your interest–you’ve looked at the website, have questions about the library, students, community.
Don’t criticize something about the library. Rather talk about what you can bring to the position and the library.
What are some of the most common mistakes people make in an interview?
Ramble on too much–especially when they are covering up lack of knowledge.
Inappropriate or too much use of humor. I want to know they are taking the interview seriously.
Show me a lot of samples of their emails, writings, publications, brochures, when I didn’t ask for them.
Relax too much at dinner and give too much personal information.
How has hiring changed at your organization since you’ve been in on the process?
Submission of application materials are all online.
Interviewers trained better on the questions they can’t ask, for example, age, race, country of origin, etc.