We are Generally Looking for People Who Will Be Able to Grow and Change with the Library We Now Work In

Wren Library, Trinity College, Cambridge, ca. 1865-1885Here is another anonymous interview with a non-librarian! This person has worked in human resources and has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring committee at an Academic Library with more than 200 staff members.
What are the top three things you look for in a candidate?

ability to work with others OR managerial and supervisory skills/experience
knowledge of and ease with technology

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

If it seems like someone is dishonest on their resume or in answering questions, or inflating their experience, it can really turn everyone off.

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

People who say they love to read, love books, have always wanted to be a librarian. We are generally looking for people who will be able to grow and change with the library we now work in. People who have a broad range of skills, are adaptable, and (often, depending on the job) with other work experience outside libraries will get more attention.

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

Numbers! How many people did you supervise? How many records do you catalog each month? What size budget were you responsible for? etc.

How many pages should a cover letter be?

√ Only one!

How many pages should a resume/CV be?

√ Other: depends on age, experience, position type

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?

√ I don’t care

What’s the best way to win you over in an interview?

Be prepared. Show you did some research on our organization. Listen and ask good questions. Be honest about what you know and don’t know. Sense of humor!

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

Not preparing. Think about your past work experience and specific examples of projects you’ve worked on, problems you’ve solved, what you like and don’t like. You don’t know exactly which questions you will get, but if you prepare in this way, you can use different examples where you need them.
Presentations that go over the time allotted. Better to pick one area you know well, refine it, and be ready for questions. You can always say what else you could do with more time.

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

I have been here in HR about 6 years. We receive more applications in the past few years, especially for entry level jobs. More and more aspects now go through electronic communication, including rejections (instead of doing them by phone).

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

Don’t take it personally when you don’t hear back after applying. You have no way of knowing who you are up against. Take time to write a cover letter and tailor your resume specifically and you will see more results that throwing in lots of applications all over. We want to know why you are interested and the right fit for that specific job. Also, networking is still a good way to get an in, so someone at least looks more carefully at your application.

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Filed under 200+ staff members, Academic, Original Survey

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