This is the first of our reader requests! This interview is with Susan Dobbs, the Human Resources Director of Anythink Libraries. Anythink is a public library system with 100-200 staff members. It serves the residents of Adams County, Colorado, but has operated independently from the county since 2004. Their website highlights a vibrant, community-driven organization that embraces innovation. If this sounds interesting to you, they provide a place for library enthusiasts to share their own revolutionary ideas at the Anythink Tank. I contacted Ms.Dobbs at the request of a reader who is interested in their Adult Guide position. Ms. Dobbs is not a librarian. She has participated in hiring processes as a hiring manager, a member of a hiring committee, and of course as part of human resources. She can be contacted for questions at sdobbsATanythinklibraries.org
What are the top three things you look for in a candidate?
Competencies, Skills and Fun.
1) Anythink has 13 core competencies such as adaptability, problem solving and innovation. We hire people that align with our competencies.
2) We will look to the Adult Guide to bring skills and experience in programming, customer service, reference and leadership.
3) Fun. Bring it.
Do you have any instant dealbreakers, either in the application packet or the interview process?
Do we have any deal breakers….Hmm. Axe murder-is a definite no go. But seriously there are no real deal breakers, just better matches. Our interview process is to do our very best to describe our district and give the candidate a chance to talk about their experience, skills, hopes and dreams and see if there is a fit. This is a little like speed dating hoping you find a spark with each other in an hour or so time frame.
What are you tired of seeing on resumes/in cover letters?
A cover letter should have a little of someone’s personality in it. A cover letter out of the sample cover letter book doesn’t help us understand who you are. People are interesting… Show us what your passion and interests are and how they connect to Anythink.
Is there anything that people don’t put on their resumes that you wish they did?
Show us your versatility. Describe your value add. What things are you into that could translate to Anythink.
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?
Should a resume/CV have an Objective statement?
√ I don’t care
If applications are emailed, how should the cover letter be submitted?
√ I don’t care
What’s the best way to win you over in an interview?
Be yourself, show your personality in the interview. Be proud of your accomplishments and let us know about them in the interview. Be confident but humble.
What are some of the most common mistakes people make in an interview?
The big mistake is a candidate coming in and not researching who we are before they interview with us. Know enough to be dangerous on the type of organization we are, what is important to us, and what we have done.
How has hiring changed at your organization since you’ve been in on the process?
We have built a strong competency based interview process. Skills are important but how you do things are more important to us.
Anything else you’d like to let job-seekers know?
Spelling and Grammar count.
Explain any gaps in your employment history on your application.