This anonymous interview is with a librarian who hires for a Special library and Archives. This librarian has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring committee. The organization has 0-10 employees.
What are the top three things you look for in a candidate?
Enthusiasm, good communication and interpersonal skills, genuine knowledge of the institution (please know who I am, what we do, and what I’m interviewing you for!)
Do you have any instant dealbreakers, either in the application packet or the interview process?
If I ask for an MLS or equivalent, please have one. Also, don’t try to lie about having library or technical experience in your application or to my face. Because I probably know more about that topic than you, and you’re probably not a good liar.
What are you tired of seeing on resumes/in cover letters?
Objectives. They make it look like you have no applicable experience. Your objective should be for me to hire you, and I know that because you applied for the job.
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?
Should a resume/CV have an Objective statement?
If applications are emailed, how should the cover letter be submitted?
√ Other: We have a system. Don’t try to submit outside of the system, I won’t look at it
What’s the best way to win you over in an interview?
Have a personality. Show your sense of humor. Speak intelligently about pertinent topics related to the job. Relate past experiences to the questions I ask. Don’t be afraid to talk about mistakes you’ve made and how you’ve learned from them.
What are some of the most common mistakes people make in an interview?
This may be weird, but I really admire people who can speak intelligently about weaknesses and past mistakes and use them as examples of acquired skills and knowledge. If I ask you about a misstep or a weakness, don’t BS me. If you can’t admit you aren’t perfect I don’t really want to work with you.
How has hiring changed at your organization since you’ve been in on the process?
We have much higher demands for candidates, including an emphasis on presentations and/or real-life problem solving exercises.
Anything else you’d like to let job-seekers know?
If you are being interviewed, the search committee already likes you. Please remember that and try to relax! I see interviews as a platform for you to shine. I don’t WANT you to fail. Reveal some of your personality, I don’t want to work with boring people. Make me laugh. I’ve never hired someone who hasn’t made me laugh in an interview.