Knowledge in Area. Ability to Express Self Clearly. Not a Jerk.

Juarez, Library after battle, ca 1910-1915This anonymous interview is with an Academic Librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring committee at a library with 10-50 staff members.


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

Knowledge in area. Ability to express self clearly. Not a jerk.

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

Application packet: don’t have degree required. Don’t have experience required. Egregious spelling/grammatical errors.
Interview: Since applicant will be working with faculty, administration and serving on committees, how will they represent the library? They must be comfortable presenting.

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

“Familiar with…” “Working knowledge of….” What does this mean? Tell us how you have used a product or software. Be specific (and truthful)
Objectives. We know you want this job – why else are you applying?

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

Experience that matters. If you are applying for an instruction position, mention that you have taught K-12 even if it has nothing to do with “library work.”

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, I want to look at every accomplishment

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?

√ No

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

√ Other: all apps are done online via HR site

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

Wow us with your knowledge or understanding of an area. We have a gap and it’s comforting to know you can fill it with no worries on our part.
Be honest
Be courteous
Be prepared. If you have 3 days to put a presentation together – do it. We have to do it, too.

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

Not doing above. I seriously dislike interrupting. Be sure to tell us what we need to know about your background – this is not the time to leave anything out.

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

Presentations are required and more emphasis on this.

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Filed under 10-50 staff members, Academic, Instruction, Original Survey

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