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 10-50 staff members.
What are the top three things you look for in a candidate?
Strong People Skills, i.e.., is this person going to be easy to train, work with, coach, help patrons, etc.
Do you have any instant dealbreakers, either in the application packet or the interview process?
I try to keep an open mind although typos on an application will bias an interview or prevent an interview.
What are you tired of seeing on resumes/in cover letters?
Tired of seeing “I’m excited to work in libraries because I enjoy books.” You need to be passionate, but you need to also explain how that passion will help the organization you are applying with.
Is there anything that people don’t put on their resumes that you wish they did?
I wish people would clearly explain how their current or prior job experience relates to the advertised position. That sounds simple enough, but so few people do it or do it well.
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?
If applications are emailed, how should the cover letter be submitted?
√ As an attachment only
What’s the best way to win you over in an interview?
Keep your answer brief and to the point and use stories and examples of past performance. Be specific.
What are some of the most common mistakes people make in an interview?
Talking too much or not answering the question.
How has hiring changed at your organization since you’ve been in on the process?
We have modified the questions we ask.
Anything else you’d like to let job-seekers know?
Customize your cover letter and maybe even your resume for every position you apply for. Be willing to accept a position that may not be your first choice. Be willing to relocate. If you are not working and want to work in a library go work somewhere. We are much more willing to hire someone who is working even if that work is completely unrelated to library work. Never give up. The market is tight and it takes time.