We Have a Set of Defined Questions We Ask Everyone, Which Are Weighed More Heavily Than the Resume

Anglesey Mobile library - door to door service! 1958This anonymous interview is with an Academic librarian who has been 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?

Flexibility – smallish staff, so we need people who are willing to work in any department
Interest in Reference – need staff who are student-focused
Helpful attitude – have to be able to judge when to assist before a student gets frustrated and leaves.

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?

√ No preference, as long as I can open it

Should a resume/CV have an Objective statement?

√ Yes

If applications are emailed, how should the cover letter be submitted?

√ Other: HR department handles

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

Answer the question that was asked!

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

Not recognizing the differences between academic and public library settings.  I work in an academic library, and too many public librarians don’t seem to see the unique characteristics of each.

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

Besides online applications, I can’t think of anything.  Fewer openings.

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

New graduates tend to be the worst interviewees we’ve seen.  The library school or placement center of their college should be requiring them to go through rigorous interviews.  We’ve seen very promising young grads with great resumes/cover letters, but they fail the interview.  We have a set of defined questions we ask everyone, which are weighed more heavily than the resume.


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Filed under 50-100 staff members, Academic, Original Survey, Public Services/Reference

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