Over confidence. If you haven’t been in charge of a budget before don’t claim experience you don’t have

Egyptologist and Librarian Hans Ostenfeld Lange and his wife Joanna


This anonymous interview is with a librarian who has been a hiring manager.

This person works at a public library with 10-50 staff members.

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

Leadership potential
Good Work Ethic
(Excluding an MLS of course)

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

Someone who has confidence and proven abilities is easy to spot. They have confidence in themselves and are excited by the many opportunities to serve others our profession has to offer. A dealbreaker is someone who is blasé and simply looking to change careers. They’ve done X for 20yrs, enjoy reading and so they’ve completed their MLS with absolutely no passion for what we do nor have any relevant experience (intern or volunteering or OJT). What we do is serve people. Period. We do it in many different ways and in many different libraries, but it is universal. If you aren’t excited about the ability to do that – you aren’t for me.

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

Too many over the top action words related to skills, which can’t be backed up in the previous job employment section. If you’re just out of school -own it. Write down “willing to learn and expand on my skills of “.

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

What they love about our profession. Why they want to be a librarian.
I know you’ve got the degree, but I want to know why you want to be a librarian

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?

√ .docx

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?

Genuine love of people as we discuss what the job entails. It shouldn’t be a surprise to you that we serve people and there shouldn’t be any surprises that your job (at whatever level) is about people first and foremost.

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

Over confidence. If you haven’t been in charge of a budget before don’t claim experience you don’t have especially if your resume tells me you are right out of school.

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

Not at all, however I’ve only been here 7 yrs.

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

Apply for anything and everything. Don’t wait for the right job to come to you, go out to find it and be willing to move to get it.

For some context, take a look at the most recently published summary of responses to this survey.

If you’re someone who has participated in hiring library workers, take this survey and share your viewpoint.

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

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