The Job We Hire for May Not Exist or May Be Radically Changed in Ten Years

Beloiannisz_libraryThis anonymous interview is with an Academic 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?

Evidence of competence
Dedication to doing a good job no matter what the task
Problem-solving skills
…I have a saying that we toss around a lot: “Hire brains and personality first, and let exact skills develop.” It only works up to a point (can’t hire a developer without skills) but after that, that’s my guideline.

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

Can’t follow the directions in the application! If we asked for specific evidence, make sure it’s there.
Job hopping. If you have had a different job every two years or so over a long period of time, make sure you indicate some sort of reason (just out of school, grant-funded contracts that expired, moving for family reasons, etc.) If you don’t, the implication is that you are either perpetually dissatisfied or you get fired quite a bit.
Generic cover letters, or cover letters that were clearly written for another job.
In the interview: lack of professional demeanor.

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

Technological expertise expressed by your ability to participate in social media.

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

Anything that directly relates to the skills and experiences asked for in either the job description and/or job ad. I’m surprised at how often candidates have very applicable experience and it didn’t end up in their resume.

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?

√ .pdf

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?

Display a low-key sense of humor; show enthusiasm for and knowledge about this particular library or institution.

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

Make sure you are dressed professionally for the kind of job you want! Neat, clean, and like you put some thought into how you presented yourself. Things like well-controlled or recently trimmed hair, shined shoes, etc. You don’t have to have new clothes or a stylish cut or look, but you should look like you prepared for this interview with care.
Never badmouth a former employer or place of work.
Rambling in answer to a question. If you have a tendency to ramble under stress (lots of people do), write down the question as they ask it, and check periodically to make sure you are actually answering what they asked.

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

We’re trying to streamline the process and build in flexibility. The job postings try to address more general skills. We all recognize that the job we hire for may not exist or may be radically changed in ten years, so we are looking for candidates who can gracefully manage those changes.

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

If you don’t have any library experience, try and get some! If you have the opportunity while in library school to do practicums, work full-time, or do an internship, you MUST do it. Candidates without any kind of hands-on experience are at a real disadvantage in this market.

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Filed under 50-100 staff members, Academic, Original Survey

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