This anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring committee at a library with 50-100 staff members.
What are the top three things you look for in a candidate?
Do you have any instant dealbreakers, either in the application packet or the interview process?
Application Packet – Poorly formatted resume or typos; someone that does not follow the instruction for completing the application process; unexplained gaps in unemployment history; unreadable handwriting.
Interview process – unprofessional dress; open-toed shoes for an interview; no socks and/or bare legs; cleavage; too short of answers; rambling answers; interviewee that won’t meet interviewers eyes; no hand-shake both before and after; tardiness; bragging; cell phone that is not turned off; male interviewees that only talk to the male committee member and not the whole team.
What are you tired of seeing on resumes/in cover letters?
“I want to work in a library cause I LOVE to read” and “librarians are the luckiest people because they get to read all the time” statements; TYPOS; lack of decent grammar.
How many pages should a cover letter be?
√ Only one!
How many pages should a resume/CV be?
√ Other: Depends on the position – entry level ONE; management – two/three; director – as many as it takes but still short and to the point
Do you have a preferred format for application documents?
Should a resume/CV have an Objective statement?
If applications are emailed, how should the cover letter be submitted?
√ Both as an attachment and in the body of the email
What’s the best way to win you over in an interview?
Have a personality and enthusiasm. Come across like this is the place you would love to be employed. Ask questions about the organization and please please please do some research on the organization before hand.
What are some of the most common mistakes people make in an interview?
Talking too little; not enough detail on their accomplishments and skills.
Talking too much – rambles on and do not realize they are just talking to hear themselves talk because they are nervous.
Not having down any homework to familiarize themselves with the library – at least read its webpage. It is ok to let there be a brief pause while you think of a response to questions.
How has hiring changed at your organization since you’ve been in on the process?
I try and bring in a variety of staff to serve on committees – not just managers.
Anything else you’d like to let job-seekers know?
Be yourself; be confident; and don’t be discouraged. Not every job is right for each person. Also be flexible – look to different areas in a library – for example, you might wish to work the reference desk but if you have cataloging skills, take that opportunity and then prove yourself to the organization. Don’t pigeon-hole yourself!! Let your personality shine through. Bring examples of your work if you have any and any letters of recommendation – but be sure they are from people in the library world. Double check with your references before listing them on a resume so if they receive a phone call from an employer they aren’t caught off guard.
*Are you wondering where your beloved Stats and Graphs post is? I’ve put it on hiatus for a little while, until I have had a significant increase in interviewees or a significant inspiration in graphing and statisticating.