Never Order Salad or Noodles at a Meal

Librarians, State Library of New South Wales, 1952



This anonymous interview is with an academic librarian. This person has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring committee, and works at a library with 50-100 staff members.

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

a good liberal arts education
intellectual curiosity
ability to work with others

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

Inability to think of any mistakes the applicant has made (this means, among other things, that everyone else has made the mistakes)
Grudges towards a former employer (the person needs to work through them and gain perspective before being hireable)
Demeaning attitude towards others
Constant complaining in the interview
Indications that the applicant has not even bothered to look at our organization’s website
Applications on colored paper with dolphins or some other non-abstract design

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

Typographical and grammatical errors
Applications from individuals who have not read the job description closely
I don’t care about people’s extracurricular activities; the applicant is entitled to privacy.

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

Research interests

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, 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?

√ As an attachment only

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

Show an awareness of the current broad issues in the field
Ask questions about the job and the location
Moderate but not excessive self-confidence

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

Lack of curiosity, not asking questions about the job or location
Reading the PowerPoint slides (lethal)
Running out of time when giving the presentation

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

The process is more electronic for the candidate and search the committee. More presentations are made using PowerPoint.
We have more and better training of committees so that fewer mistakes are made.
HR is even more bureaucratic.

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

Never order salad or noodles at a meal. You either don’t eat the salad or, worse, don’t talk. Noodles come with sauce which is asking for spillage.
Bring an extra shirt or blouse in case of accidents.


Leave a comment

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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s