There are Zillions of Books and Websites That Offer Sample Interview Questions.

Old Library, History Reading Room, 1964This anonymous interview is with an Academic Librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring committee at a library with 100-200 staff members.

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

Relevant library experience, good communication skills, willingness to take on new tasks

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

Packet: arrogant/demanding tone in cover letter, resume with few details (such as job titles and dates but no description of responsibilities)
Interview process: arrogant/demanding personality, bad-mouthing current supervisor/co-workers/place of employment

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

Objective statements – I assume the applicant wants a job in an academic library or he/she wouldn’t have applied

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

Some people list reference names and phone numbers/email address but don’t give the referee job title, location, or any clue why this person is a reference

How many pages should a cover letter be?

√ Only one!

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?

√ I don’t care

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

Candidates should focus on what they can do for my library: how their skills, experience, and past success can help my library move forward.  Use clues from the website and library news: what has the library been doing lately?

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

Candidates who focus entirely on what this job will do for them: how it’s perfect to advance their career or meet their geographic preference.
Not asking relevant questions; not asking any questions.  This makes a candidate look unprepared, less than serious about the job, or lacking in curiosity.   There are zillions of books and websites that offer sample interview questions.

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

Process moves much faster, which means those who apply quickly get more consideration.   We have a smaller search committee (sometimes only 2 people) which means we make up our mind faster (pro and con.)

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

Be prepared.  Be truly interested in the job you’re applying or interviewing for.  Don’t waste the time of an HR office or search committee by applying for jobs you’re not qualified to fill, or accepting an interview only to gain practice interviewing.


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Filed under 100-200 staff members, Academic, Original Survey

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