Make Me Excited about What You Would Do for the Library

Ruth Wikoff, University of Houston's first professional librarian

Remember the original survey?  The one I ran to start this blog?  It’s still open, and a response has trickled in!  (If you hire librarians, and you’ve got something to say about it, the url is: )

This anonymous interview is with a librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring committee. This person works at a public library with 100-200 staff members.

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

Enthusiasm for the profession/libraries
Knowledge and skills to perform the task
Creativity and innovation

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

Not completing the application or not addressing the questions.
Trying to give me the answers they think we want to hear or are the standard responses.
Assuming we know what they are refering to in their answers.

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

Resumes and letters that are generic and don’t really describe who they are.
Resumes and letters that don’t address the job applying.

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

What have you really done that you are proud of completing.

How many pages should a cover letter be?

√ Two is ok, but no more

How many pages should a resume/CV be?

√ Two is ok, but no more

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?

Make me excited about what you would do for the library.

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

Assume they have the job.
Not give us their A game.
Assume we know the same jargon, information, etc.
Being too casual, especially when an internal canidate.
Not knowing what job you are interviewing for.

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

We have hired some great employees that are making significant changes to the way the library does collection development. All other hires have been internal promotions.

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

Good Luck!


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Filed under 100-200 staff members, Original Survey, Public

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