This anonymous interview is with an academic librarian. This person has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring committee, and works at a library with 50-100 staff members.
What are the top three things you look for in a candidate?
a good liberal arts education
ability to work with others
Do you have any instant dealbreakers, either in the application packet or the interview process?
Inability to think of any mistakes the applicant has made (this means, among other things, that everyone else has made the mistakes)
Grudges towards a former employer (the person needs to work through them and gain perspective before being hireable)
Demeaning attitude towards others
Constant complaining in the interview
Indications that the applicant has not even bothered to look at our organization’s website
Applications on colored paper with dolphins or some other non-abstract design
What are you tired of seeing on resumes/in cover letters?
Typographical and grammatical errors
Applications from individuals who have not read the job description closely
I don’t care about people’s extracurricular activities; the applicant is entitled to privacy.
Is there anything that people don’t put on their resumes that you wish they did?
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?
√ 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?
Show an awareness of the current broad issues in the field
Ask questions about the job and the location
Moderate but not excessive self-confidence
What are some of the most common mistakes people make in an interview?
Lack of curiosity, not asking questions about the job or location
Reading the PowerPoint slides (lethal)
Running out of time when giving the presentation
How has hiring changed at your organization since you’ve been in on the process?
The process is more electronic for the candidate and search the committee. More presentations are made using PowerPoint.
We have more and better training of committees so that fewer mistakes are made.
HR is even more bureaucratic.
Anything else you’d like to let job-seekers know?
Never order salad or noodles at a meal. You either don’t eat the salad or, worse, don’t talk. Noodles come with sauce which is asking for spillage.
Bring an extra shirt or blouse in case of accidents.