Show Me a Collegial Spirit

Work with schools, Bronx Traveling LibraryThis anonymous interview is with a librarian who has been a hiring manager at a special library with 10-50 staff members.

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

Attitude – I can teach almost anyone how to research. I can’t teach customer service or teamwork.
Education –  though I generally won’t even interview someone with a law degree (I work in a private law firm)

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

Bad writing, grammar, spelling
Narrow interests – “I only read biographies,” for example.  I need well rounded and open minded people
Candidates who refer to ” my staff” or indicate that as librarians with MLSes they are somehow better than the non their colleagues without degrees.
Anyone who says “I don’t do . . . . ”  We’re a small department and everyone needs to be willing and able to shelve books and tidy the work tables.
No acknowledgement of colleagues.  No-one does any project solo, and if I don’t hear a candidate discuss the team (even briefly), I probably won’t hire.

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

It’s what I don’t see – why THIS job.

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, but keep it short and sweet

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?

√ Both as an attachment and in the body of the email

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

Talk about working with project teams and show me a collegial spirit.
Prove to me you know when to say “I don’t know” and “I need help.”
Show me you’re curious

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

Not knowing who is making the decision.  Candidates often are more deferential to the library manager (who is older than me), even though I am clearly the head of the department.

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

HR is a bit more involved, but otherwise not much.


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Filed under 10-50 staff members, Original Survey, Special

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