You Never Know Exactly What the Hirer is Looking for in a Person

John StacheczThis interview is with John Stachacz, Dean of Library Services at Wilkes University. He has been a a hiring manager and a member of hiring committees. The Eugene S. Farley Library has 10-50 staff members.  It supports scholarship, of course, but it also provides a collection of classic films on DVD that helps students balance the stress of academic life. Mr. Stachacz provides a friendly video welcome here. Since filming, the library has added a learning commons, which provides access to technology and space to collaborate.

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

1. appropriate education background

2. interest in position and additional duties

3. some experience

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


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

inappropriate, non-library related items

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

Whether or not they have a sense of humor

How many pages should a cover letter be?

√ Other: depends on the job for which they are applying and their background

How many pages should a resume/CV be?

√ Other: see above

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?

√ No

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?

Be interested; don’t have all the answers on how to make us better; know something about the place to which you are applying.

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

They aren’t themselves.  They try to be the person they think the institution wants.  Just be yourself and everyone involved will be better off in long run.

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

More probing, more reference checking, longer interviews to get better feel for candidates. Very open about workplace culture expectations needed in a person filling the position.

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

Don’t agonize about not getting a particular job.  You never know exactly what the hirer is looking for in a person.  You may have all the right credentials and interview well, but you might not fit the culture.  Better not to get those jobs than be miserable later when you discover that you don’t fit the culture.

You can read a more formal account of Mr. Stachecz’ recruitment strategies, including the advantages of mentoring, here:

Fennewald, J. & Stachacz, J. (2005). Recruiting students to careers in academic libraries: One chapter’s approach. College & Research Library News, 66 (2), 120-122.

If you were not lucky enough to have a mentoring program at your library school, the ALA New Members Round Table does offer mentoring for new librarians and first time conference attendees:

And The Society for American Archivists also has a mentoring program:



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

4 responses to “You Never Know Exactly What the Hirer is Looking for in a Person

  1. melld

    confused: he’s tired of seeing “non-library related items” but wants to see “Whether or not they have a sense of humor”? Maybe I should include the one about when the librarian, the archivist and the curator walk into a bar…


  2. I thought the sense of humor comment was a wry comment. Made me laugh, anyways, when I started imagining how one might show one’s sense of humor while still maintaining professional conventions. Hope the hiring committee enjoys puns and ironic phrasings…


  3. I was wondering the same thing as to how I show a sense of humor in my resume. Include a picture of me wearing a Groucho Marx mustache?


    • I look at that question as an “If anything was possible” question. So I don’t always take the response literally as something to add to my resume, I just look at it as “the respondent wishes it were easier to tell if the candidate had _____ quality.” I think there are often frustrations and ambiguities on both sides of the process.
      It is too bad really, because as you can see I already *have* a picture of myself in Groucho glasses.


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