An Eagerness to Learn is Important on the Job

Marleah AugustineThis interview is with Marleah Augustine, the Adult Department Librarian at Hays Public Library in Hays, Kansas, an institution with 10-50 employees. You can take a look at what Hays Librarians are reading and watching here. Ms. Augustine has been a hiring manager. If you have questions, you can post them (anonymously even) in the comments and she will check back periodically to answer.

What are the top three things you look for in a candidate?

Customer service experience,
library experience,
can answer questions calmly and logically during interview

Do you have any instant dealbreakers, either in the application packet or the interview process?

Incomplete applications, where not all fields are filled out

What are you tired of seeing on resumes/in cover letters?

“I love to read” – most of us do, but it’s not very helpful when determining who to hire. 🙂

Is there anything that people don’t put on their resumes that you wish they did?

Customer service experience. Many think that working in a library just entails putting books away and that kind of thing, not so much face-to-face interaction.

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?

√ .pdf

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?

Appear relaxed rather than nervous and relate my “on the job” questions to real experience — when I ask why confidentiality is important when working in a library, relate it to something concrete rather than just giving me abstract answers.

What are some of the most common mistakes people make in an interview?

Just talking abstractly about library concepts (confidentiality, privacy, checking out to people under 18) — instead, give me some actual experiences you’ve had or even make up a situation that shows your knowledge of it, rather than just repeating back a concept or definition.

How has hiring changed at your organization since you’ve been in on the process?

I started hiring staff about 18 months ago and use virtually the same interview questions that my predecessor used. We do have somewhat different positions, so I hire for two separate part-time positions (level I and level II) rather than just one.

Anything else you’d like to let job-seekers know?

Be confident but be ok with admitting that you don’t know something! An eagerness to learn is important on the job.


1 Comment

Filed under 10-50 staff members, Original Survey, Public

One response to “An Eagerness to Learn is Important on the Job

  1. Thanks for featuring my interview! I hope the information is helpful to those out there doing hiring (and with the end of the semester coming, I’m going to have to do more hiring myself … ).


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