We Do Not Pay Enough to Have Someone Relocate

Librarian's_Desk, Bancroft Library


This anonymous interview is with a non-librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring committee. This person works at a public library with 0-10 staff members. 



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

Communication skills

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

In the interview process, the inablility to answer a question or rather the inability to communicate well either the answer or to communicate any other response.
Distance from our library…we do not pay enough to have someone relocate.
Lack of experience

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

That they know something about the town, or the library itself…that they have done some home work so that they have some idea about population and some other issues.

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?

√ .pdf

Should a resume/CV have an Objective statement?

√ I don’t care

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?

Dress appropriately. Look the interviewers in the eye and respond directly to questions. Have some kind of portfolio of work or work experience to prove one’s claims.

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

For us, not knowing anything about the community….or the job…before hand. Thinking that because we are a small town, we are pushovers for claims of expertise that are clearly over the top. For instance, the person who says he or she was a head librarian at a prestigious university…tnen we have to ask ourselves…why come to a small town library. We also don’t appreciate being preached to….that the applicant can save us because as a small town we probably don’t know what we are doing.

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

We have a process now.

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

Honesty is important. It is better to say that you don’t know something…than lie..and it is better to say that while you don’t know a process, you are willing to be trained. Everyone on a new job has to be a learner, and every manager has to be willing to be a trainer or a teacher.


Filed under 0-10 staff members, Original Survey, Public

2 responses to “We Do Not Pay Enough to Have Someone Relocate

  1. I’ve had the misfortune to meet hiring librarians like this one. There’s a culture in some smaller public libraries of aggressive mediocrity. They convince themselves that it’s better not to be too smart or educated because they can “relate” to patrons better, but it’s just an inferiority complex coloring their vision of everything. These people actively reject smart, motivated librarians in favor of people they feel less threatened by and tell themselves they’re doing it because the candidate is too uppity or, despite the fact that the applied for the job, they actually don’t want to relocate to take it.


  2. FedLib

    mswank – I think you might be reading into this a little much. It doesn’t sound to me like they have an inferiority complex instead it sounds like prior candidates have come in with expectations that change is needed, due to some preconceived idea, and that they might know “better” than the current librarians. I think that happens all to frequently in many types of libraries. I’ve experienced it in the federal libraries I’ve worked at.

    The important thing is to try to be open minded as a candidate – know that you can teach new things and at the same time be taught new things.


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