Libraryland is Very Small and We Know One Another

Librarians, State Library of New South Wales, 1952



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?

Initiative, sense of humor, personality. You have to be able to fit in and get along with people.

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

If someone misspells the name of the institution and library where they are applying to, or if they use the same letter for multiple jobs, and don’t change the name of the institution, or the job title.

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

The same “canned” letter. I would like to see a little personality in the letter.

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

Explanation of the gaps they have in between jobs.

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, 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?

√ Both as an attachment and in the body of the email

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

Show a little personality, interest in the position, having done some homework about the institution, ask a few questions.

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

They go on and on about themselves; assume that they know everything about libraries or the institution where they are applying.

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

NA. I just started at my new position.

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

Don’t talk bad about your former places of employment. Libraryland is very small and we know one another.

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Filed under 10-50 staff members, Academic, Original Survey

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