New Blood is the Chant Around Here

Director of the John F. Kennedy Library Dan Fenn, Jr., 1971




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 more than 200 staff members.

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

The ability to give an articulate answer
Making a human connection
Up-to-date knowledge of what’s going on in libraries

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

Gap between job posting and applicant experience
Poor social skills

How many pages should a cover letter be?

√ Two is ok, but no more

How many pages should a resume/CV be?

√ Two is ok, but no more

Do you have a preferred format for application documents?

√ .doc

Should a resume/CV have an Objective statement?

√ I don’t care

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?

Look like you’re listening, and address your answer to the question. Stop when you’re done.

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

Blathering on. Using each question to make a prepared speech that doesn’t necessarily answer the question.

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

Yes. Panels are always the norm, ever bigger panels. And there’s very little in-house recruiting. New blood is the chant around here.

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

Go where the jobs are. Don’t be afraid to move to a smaller town to get your experience. The biggies are not all they’re cracked up to be.


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Filed under 200+ staff members, Original Survey, Public

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