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 100-200 staff members.
What are the top three things you look for in a candidate?
Aptitude for connecting with people, courage in promoting change, humor in all
Do you have any instant dealbreakers, either in the application packet or the interview process?
When I ask for a positive example and am given a negative one, that’s a huge red flag.
How many pages should a cover letter be?
√ Only One!
How many pages should a resume/CV be?
√ Two is ok, but no more
Do you have a preferred format for application documents?
√ Other: We use our City’s process.
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?
Answer each question with a beginning, middle, and end. Don’t leave me guessing if you’ve finished with an answer.
Always add a lagniappe, or extra thing. For example, the question may ask for just your experience, but add what you learned.
And be pleasant–keep in mind as an applicant that you may be one of eight people being interviewed that day. It’ll be a relief to the interview team to ENJOY hearing from you.
What are some of the most common mistakes people make in an interview?
They let down their guard and reveal their weaknesses. The most common ones are not liking the public, preferring not to work hard, and applicants considering themselves smarter than just about everyone else. Of course, I’m glad when that happens because it says a lot about the applicant.
How has hiring changed at your organization since you’ve been in on the process?
I insist on probing for people skills, no matter the position.
And I’m more likely to be friendly and behave like any good host would.