This 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?
Able to communicate effectively.
Can show that he/she really wants the job at hand (motivation and enthusiasm).
Has the right skills and experience for the job.
Do you have any instant dealbreakers, either in the application packet or the interview process?
No cover letter.
Cover letter has the wrong job title on it.
Cover letter doesn’t explain why the candidate wants the job.
What are you tired of seeing on resumes/in cover letters?
I’m tired of candidates telling us they are right for the job (in the cover letter) and not providing evidence or details to back up the statement.
I wish candidates would go into more detail about one specific job/accomplishment/endeavor/etc. that addresses the top job requirements. As a writing teacher would say, “Don’t tell, show.” Don’t just state that you have experience as a fill-in-the-blank librarian (I can get that from your resume). In your cover letter you should provide specific examples of the work you did and explain how that work has given you the experience and skills for the job.
Is there anything that people don’t put on their resumes that you wish they did?
Make it easy for hiring committees to find your online materials. Link to your professional social networks, blogs, sites, projects, etc.
How many pages should a cover letter be?
√ Two is ok, but no more
How many pages should a resume/CV be?
√ As many as it takes, as long as it is relevant and current.
Do you have a preferred format for application documents?
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?
Ask questions about the job, the library, the work environment. Show that you enjoy being there and that you will fit in
What are some of the most common mistakes people make in an interview?
Not asking questions, or making statements that presume he/she will get the job (being overly confident).
How has hiring changed at your organization since you’ve been in on the process?
One fairly recent change is that we are required to contact the references before the candidates come in for the interview. Some candidates are not aware that many places now do this.
Anything else you’d like to let job-seekers know?
Try not to vent your frustrations in public forums. Make sure you have a professional online presence. And, when you are offered an interview, make sure that you do your homework: find out all you can about the library, the people who work there, the job/role, the geographic area, and the larger institution and be able to talk about all of it during the interview. You need to make sure it is a right fit for you as well.