This post continues the feature Hired Librarians, wherein we hear from both a successful candidate and the librarian that hired her. This post features Catisha Benjamin, the new Digital Acquisitions/Collections Development Librarian at Jones eGlobal Library, and Scott Wiebensohn, Manager of Library Services, the hiring librarian.
Jones eGlobal Library is a special library, located in Centennial, Colorado but with clients all over the world. It has 13 staff members, and it’s growing.
The Successful Candidate: Catisha Benjamin
Where are you in your career? When did you graduate, and how many years of experience do you have?
I graduated from the University of Denver August of 2006 with over 5 years of experience I am currently a Digital Acquisitions/Collections Development Librarian, working to create and enhance K-12 digital libraries. For the past three years I have been employed in the elementary and secondary field, which prepared me for my positions I currently hold. I have also been employed as a university librarian; my first job as a librarian out of library school.
Why did this job pique your interest?
I have built libraries since I started my profession and felt it would be a challenge to assist in building K-12 libraries in a digital format. Something new and different, but exciting!
How many pages was your resume? Cover letter?
My resume including my cover letter is now 5 pages.
What research did you do before submitting your application?
I researched the background of Jones eGlobal and the library. I was already a contract librarian for Jones as well (Education Doctoral Librarian for Jones International University) and asked my former supervisor about the position. Always make sure you network!
What did you wear?
I wore black slacks, a red blouse, a black jacket, and black boots.
Can you describe your process in preparing for the interview?
I researched Jones eGlobal Library and researched library interviewee questions.
What questions did you ask?
What are you looking for in a candidate?
What are the challenges in the position?
Why do you think you were hired? What set you apart from other candidates?
My K-12 background assisted in my hiring process and my library of science degree. I was exactly what they were looking for.
Is there anything else you want to tell my readers about why you were chosen? Or any general job hunting advice you want to dispense?
Make sure to let everyone in your circle know you are looking for a job. They may have a lead for a job. Also make sure you do your homework and research the company before you go to your interview. Interviewers love to see when applicants want to find out more about their company or point out facts about the company.
The Hiring Librarian: Scott Wiebensohn
We were looking for a unique individual with a blended background. This position functions as the primary resource for K-12 collection development and digital content curation. Her cover letter demonstrated that she had the ability to choose from an array of e-books, periodicals, and online resources that would strengthen our library and better our users’ experience. Who doesn’t want a “…technically savvy and customer-focused librarian!”
Did she meet all of the required qualifications listed in the job ad? How many of the desired qualifications did she meet?
Interesting question as I don’t know if a candidate ever truly meets all of the qualifications for a specific job posting. What a hiring team must determine is if the candidate does not meet all of the qualifications can he/she learn the basic and more complex tasks expected. Catisha met a high majority of the qualifications otherwise we would not have interviewed her for our opening. There is only so much someone can write down on paper, thus the traditional need to interview face to face.
In comparison to the rest of the pool, did the applicant have more, less, or about the same years of experience? What about for the other people you interviewed?
I can honestly answer that this candidate had more experience than the majority of the candidate pool. In comparison to the others we interviewed it was plus or minus a year or two.
What was the interview process like?
It was a two round process. The first was an interview with the HR representative who prescreened candidates to determine if they truly met the basic qualifications and if there were any immediate red flags. Then the candidate interviewed in person with the librarian team for about 45 minutes. Following this interview was a conversation with the research and development team and the company President. A discussion followed and a candidate was chosen.
What stood out in this applicant’s interview?
Not only did she have the desired skill set and applicable work experience. she was hungry for the job and had three years of work experience with one of our sister institutions. She also had a contagious smile and a warm personality.
Were there any flags or questions you had about this person’s abilities, and how did they resolve them?
We are not a typical library in that we have library users circulating throughout our building. Everything is based on a digital platform within a corporate business setting. Conveying this work environment to each of the candidates was a must and Catisha fully understood because of her prior work with our sister company. So the question was in a straightforward manner and answered clearly and concisely.
Is there anything else you want to tell my readers about why this candidate was chosen? Or any general job hunting advice you want to dispense?
The entire eGlobal Library team is truly delighted to have added Catisha to our library. Even in the short two weeks that she has been with us, she has expressed an eagerness to tackle a variety of level of projects. My best advice is that you have to put yourself in a situation to be mobile. It is also quite helpful to think outside of the box, be strategic, and apply for jobs that are at a level to push you to succeed!
If you’re part of a recent hiree/hiring manager pair who’d be willing to be interviewed for this feature, please contact me. Or please pass along this request!
Thanks so much to Elisabeth Doucett for suggesting this series. Check out her blog, The Irreverent Librarian