A History of Steady Employment and/or School

The Reading Room, Public Library of NSW, 1942, by Sam Hood



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?

Tech skills,

communication skills,

a history of steady employment and/or school

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

Spelling errors, poor formatting (indicates either weak tech skills or that they don’t care about the job)

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

Having an Objective–particularly a generic one–on your resume is pretty useless; use that space for something valuable.

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

A submitted resume ought to be customized enough that it responds point-by-point to the stated requirements from the job announcement.

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?

√ .pdf

Should a resume/CV have an Objective statement?

√ No

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

√ I don’t care

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

Be smart. Know a bit about the library. Be willing to say “I don’t know, but this is how I’d find out,” instead of making up a lame answer.

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

It’s slowed down a great deal. We used to do a lot more of it.



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

2 responses to “A History of Steady Employment and/or School

  1. That person with a gap in his/her resume, aka "undesirable"

    Sooooo…… if someone has been unemployed for a while, say, oh, I don’t know, due to a whacky economy/recession…. that type of thing…. you’re screwed? Because you’ve been looking for work but haven’t been able to find any? That’s great. Because, you know, someone who has been unemployed for a while probably wouldn’t be scared shitless into becoming The Best Employee Ever.

    I wish all hiring managers could experience the fear and desperation that 1-2 years of unemployment brings. Unemployed does not mean unintelligent, or undisciplined. Sometimes it just means unlucky.

    • That line bothered me too and I hope not every hiring manager follows it. I know that a gap in employment doesn’t affect my own hiring decisions, although it is nice when the gap is explained in some way in the cover letter especially if it isn’t obvious (like for a recent graduate or a relocation). I usually assumes gaps are due to a weak economy or folks leaving work to care for children or other family.

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