This anonymous interview is with an archivist who works at an archives with 0-10 staff members, who has been a hiring manager. This person commented, in response to the choices for the question “Are you a librarian?” (yes/no/it’s complicated):
I have an MLS, but my job title is archivist. It’s really not complicated.
What are the top three things you look for in a candidate?
It depends which position I’m hiring for, but here are 3 essentials:
1. An engaging personality
2. At least some experience working in an archives (i.e. no recent graduates who haven’t even interned or volunteered)
3. Demonstrated knowledge of the basics of archival theory, either through coursework or experience
Do you have any instant dealbreakers, either in the application packet or the interview process?
In the application packet: bad grammar, typos, misspellings
In the interview process: talking down to members of the hiring committee
What are you tired of seeing on resumes/in cover letters?
I’m tired of badly organized resumes and I despise objective statements.
How many pages should a cover letter be?
√ Only one!
How many pages should a resume/CV be?
√ Two is ok, but no more
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?
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?
Please show me that you have some social skills.
What are some of the most common mistakes people make in an interview?
Not being upfront and honest about everything. I don’t want to find out after I’ve hired you for a September start date that you can’t start until October, for example. If you aren’t sharing things for fear that you won’t be hired, please reconsider this tactic. In general, managers here are pretty accepting if they know things ahead of time.
Has hiring changed at your organization since you’ve been in on the process?
Unfortunately, no. It remains a very bureaucratic, lengthy process (much to my chagrin).
Anything else you’d like to let job-seekers know?
Please don’t lowball yourselves on salary requirements. Ask for what you’re worth! As long as we continue to ask for less, it will keep the salaries of the profession as a whole much lower than what we deserve.
Thanks to our veterans for their service, and I hope that you are never called again.
Today is not just Veterans Day, it’s Armistice Day, the day the GreatWar ended. I hope that the rest of them will be over soon.