Interview Us Too.

Mexico City. National Library (Church of Saint Augustin), ca. 1885-1895This anonymous interview is with an Academic librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring committee at a library with 100-200 staff members.

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

Ability to learn
Meets the required qualifications

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

If your materials don’t let me know, somehow, that you meet the minimum qualifications, you won’t make it past the first screening.

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

Blandness. Generic resumes that don’t address what I need to know.

How many pages should a cover letter be?

√ As many as it takes, but shorter is better

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?

√ Other: No preference, but name them well (ie: Doe_Jane_Resume.pdf)

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?

Be yourself. Show that you want THIS job, not just any job and not just a ticket to city/region you want to live in. Explore my institution – read the university’s strategic plan and think about how the work of the job you’re interviewing for will fit into that. Work that into your presentation.
Interview us too. I know you’re nervous and want a job, but I want to hire someone that’s the right fit for the institution AND that we’re the right fit for.

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

During the presentation, respond to the prompt. If you come in and say  “well, this was the prompt but I decided to talk about THIS instead…”
Not preparing for the question of “why do you want THIS job?” because it’s never not going to be asked in some way – and probably several ways.
SCHOOL YOUR EXPRESSION. Don’t sigh or roll your eyes when you’re asked a question that you may have been asked in another setting during the day. You’re meeting with different groups and we have reasons for asking questions that are similar. And we don’t sit down after and compare notes about “oh, when WE asked her this she said X and then 4 hours later told you Y…”

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

It hasn’t really – we’re a state institution and there are processes and things we have to do because of that.


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Filed under 100-200 staff members, Academic, Original Survey

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