Love knowledge, love learning, don’t love the box they come in

Librarian's_Desk, Bancroft LibraryThis anonymous interview is with a librarian who works at a public library with 10-50 staff members. This librarian has been a member of a hiring committee.

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

1. Energy
2. Curiosity
3. Willingness to admit there are still things they don’t know about librarianship.

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

Poor grammar and spelling. Those are important parts of librarianship, so I expect people to be able to demonstrate them on a resume and cover letter.

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

“I love books”
I’m assuming you don’t hate books if you are applying for a job here, and “loving books” is about the worst reason to be a librarian I can think of. Love knowledge, love learning, don’t love the box they come in.
“I have clerical experience”
I’m glad you have previous work history, and we can probably use clerical skills, but for the most part this isn’t a clerical heavy job.

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

I wish more people were willing to put interests and hobbies on their resumes. Knowing special interests or areas of expertise can help to develop a strong and balanced team.

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?

√ No preference, as long as I can open it

Should a resume/CV have an Objective statement?

√ Yes

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?

Have a well balanced attitude. Don’t act manic, but don’t be a total reserved bunhead either. I want people who can be professional, but also have passion and enthusiasm for

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

Thinking that this job is just sitting behind a desk. It’s a physically and mentally demanding job.
Thinking that this job is a purely mental exercise in dealing with people who are genuinely interested in learning. You have to deal with a lot of very unpleasant people who don’t want to pay fines, or want to argue about what you have in the collection.

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

We hire many paraprofessionals, and we’ve gone from advertising in general forums (newspapers, job lines, town bulletin boards, etc.) to advertising in and hiring from library schools. We try to get people who are going to school or thinking about going to school for library science so that we can get them some practical work experience in the field.

 

1 Comment

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

One response to “Love knowledge, love learning, don’t love the box they come in

  1. Jenny

    “I wish more people were willing to put interests and hobbies on their resumes. Knowing special interests or areas of expertise can help to develop a strong and balanced team.”

    I’ve always been told that you shouldn’t include interests or hobbies on your resume because it’s not relevant. In my personal experience, I’ve found that hiring managers, especially in academic libraries, look down on non-LIS related interests. I make jewelry and other crafts (I sell at craft fairs) and I have been advised not to include it on my resume because it’s not library-related. Maybe others have had the same experience?

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