This anonymous interview is with an Academic Librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring committee at a library with 0-10 staff members.
What are the top three things you look for in a candidate?
Hiring for a academic library at a technical college, what I need is someone who has at least exposure to all aspects of a library. I need someone who can cover when needed and not have the attitude of “I only do this.”
Also, I look for people who address the main requirements of the position we’re hiring for. I don’t want to see a generic resume/cover letter because it seems like you are not very interested in the position.
Also, I want someone who demonstrates an interest in professional development.
Do you have any instant dealbreakers, either in the application packet or the interview process?
For me, not putting the correct college on the application is a dealbreaker. I also generally don’t consider resumes/applications that do not attempt to address the skills needed in a position. Its one thing to have minimal experience, but its another to completely ignore the requirement. Sometimes, an applicant leaves out skills that they don’t mention until an interview. If we hadn’t asked them to interview, we’d have never known.
What are you tired of seeing on resumes/in cover letters?
Some things, I think, you should not need to mention in a resume. If you’re a librarian and you put your only technology skills as being basic computer skills then I’m not really interested in you. You don’t have to know how to program, but I’d at least like to know that you have taken steps to further your professional development technology-wise.
Is there anything that people don’t put on their resumes that you wish they did?
I just wish people would target their resume to the position. I know its extra work, but it really makes you shine.
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?
If applications are emailed, how should the cover letter be submitted?
√ Other: Ours go through an online system
What’s the best way to win you over in an interview?
The best way to win me over is something that you cannot control: sometimes everyone is equally qualified in different ways but it comes down to who we think could fit best into the organization.
What are some of the most common mistakes people make in an interview?
Being too nervous that you don’t show how your skills really match the job OR talking way too much.
How has hiring changed at your organization since you’ve been in on the process?
With the last Director, librarians were not on the committee, but that was more of a HR admin issue rather than a decision of the Library Director. Now, the committee is all librarians with a few outside people who would work in a less direct way with the candidate chosen.
Anything else you’d like to let job-seekers know?
Don’t give up because you weren’t chosen. You have no idea the politics that go on behind closed doors. Sometimes the committee picks one person, but the VP ultimately chooses someone else. Don’t get too discouraged by rejection, but do at least take it as a learning experience.
One response to “Don’t Give up Because You Weren’t Chosen. You Have No Idea the Politics That Go on behind Closed Doors.”
The comment about politics having a factor in the decision making is so true. Applicants have no idea all the things that go into hiring decisions, some objective and some subjective.