Toby Willis-Camp is a library management consultant. She has worked as a library director for a professional association, where she was a hiring manager and a member of hiring committees. Toby has focused her career on special libraries with experiences ranging from managing a toy library and family literacy centre to providing front line reference services at courthouse libraries.
What are the top three things you look for in a candidate?
demonstrated ability to learn
willingness to ask questions and say “I don’t know”
sense of humour
Do you have any instant dealbreakers, either in the application packet or the interview process?
any use of the word “holistic”
What are you tired of seeing on resumes/in cover letters?
Is there anything that people don’t put on their resumes that you wish they did?
How many pages should a cover letter be?
√ Only one!
How many pages should a resume/CV be?
√ Two is ok, but no more
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?
look me in the eye and have a firm handshake
tell me that you’re willing to take on any challenge
What are some of the most common mistakes people make in an interview?
not knowing about the organization
not preparing any questions for the interviewer
Anything else you’d like to let job-seekers know?
If you get an interview, leave the piercings and stilettos with no stockings at home. Dress professionally – this doesn’t necessarily mean a suit and a bun hairdo, but look sharp and clean. Men – wear a button down shirt with collar and cuffs, and polish your shoes, please.
2 responses to “Tell Me That You’re Willing to Take on Any Challenge”
A toy library! What is as exciting as it sounds or as boring as a filing cabinet museum?
It is as exciting as it sounds – toys and kids. If you Google “toy library” you’ll find several examples. Most are connected to community centres or social service programs serving families or special groups. I was part of an organizing committee for a toy library and parent resource centre for the student family housing community while my partner and I were in grad school. There were over 500 families in the community living with limited resources and space. It was wonderful to be able to check out a toy that the kids could play with and then get tired of and return it to the library rather than buy the toy and then have to find a place for it. Circulating toys is really labour intensive – and everyone has a different idea of “clean”.