If Your 10 Minute Talk Feels Like an Hour, That’s Not Going to Work in Your Favor

Toronto Yorkville Library


This anonymous interview is with an Academic Librarian who has been a member of a hiring committee at a library with 50-100 staff members.

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

– A good match for the qualifications of the position
– Genuine interest in the type of position that we’re filling (i.e., public services v. back-of-house)
– Energy & Enthusiasm

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

– Not directly addressing the qualifications of the position in the cover letter / resume – ESPECIALLY if your background is primarily in a different type of position

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

– Coursework, unless you are RIGHT out of school

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

– I always love to see tech skills, even if they are not required for the position

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?

√ I don’t care

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

– Show enthusiasm for the position
– Be able to speak confidently about issues related to the profession at large and your area of librarianship specifically – show that you are engaged with trends and issues and have ideas about how to address these things

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

– Not having questions to ask about the organization/position. Particularly interesting/thoughtful questions stand out, but even asking generic things such as what we like about the organization works. Just don’t have NOTHING to ask!
– Very dry presentations. We only ask for short presentations, so if your 10 minute talk feels like an hour, that’s not going to work in your favor.

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

– We are hiring very aggressively at the moment to support expansion, so our schedules for interviewing and hiring are much quicker than they have been in the past.

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

– I know firsthand how draining it is to apply to job after job and be worn down by rejections or uncertainty, but making an effort to display enthusiasm for the position at all points in the process will really pay off.

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Filed under 50-100 staff members, Academic, Original Survey

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