I Wish They Would Say Things in Their Own Words

South African Public Library, n.d. This anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of hiring committees at a library with 100-200 staff members.



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

Belief in collaboration
Ability to make a decision
they have researched my library prior to the interview
…I know this is 4 things but any candidate I hire has to have a sense of humor

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

Lack of knowledge about my library
Lack of a cover letter that actually says something
Bad mouths current employer

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

That they are the answer to my prayers
An objective statement that essentially they want my job and they have just graduated with an MLS.  Not impressive.

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

I wish they would say things in their own words and stop using what they think are the current buzz words in the library field.
I would also like to know why/how they think the project they are so proud of is actually successful.

How many pages should a cover letter be?

√ Only one!

How many pages should a resume/CV be?

√ As many as it takes, but keep it short and sweet

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?

√ I don’t care

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 sense of humor about realities of working in a library without making jokes.
Find the balance between being proud of an accomplishment without appearing to brag.
Give me at least one thing/idea you would like to try
Show enthusiasm for the job without using buzz words.
Able to show at least some understanding of the major issues facing libraries today.

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

Not dressing in a business-like manner
Having a very limp handshake
No questions about the library or staff or community
Frequent use of library buzz words

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

Include a variety of staff in the interview process depending on the level of the position
Requiring a background check
More awareness of the legal requirements in interviewing

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

Don’t exaggerate claims on your resume to get an interview.
Be honest.

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Filed under 100-200 staff members, Original Survey, Public

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