What are the top three things you look for in a candidate?
1. Does the candidate meet the qualifications listed in the job posting 2. For academic postings, is this person contributing to librarianship through scholarship, service, etc. 3. Does this person fit the dynamic of our library
Do you have any instant dealbreakers, either in the application packet or the interview process?
Desperation. Listen, I’ve been desperate, I know what it’s like. I know it’s unavoidable. But it is possible to not let your desperation show. This is key. For example, if I see that you’ve applied to my library to be a project archivist, a data entry clerk, a cataloger, a liaison librarian and an Associate University Librarian, all in the span of a few months, I’m sorry but I don’t want to hire you for any of them. How am I supposed to know which of those things is actually _your_ thing, and which are the ones you’d be willing to settle for? I’ve also interviewed someone who, at the end of the interview, said she really wanted to start a job ASAP because she was running out of money. I need to know that you want to work here because the job is a good fit, not because you’ll take any library job any old where at this point.
What are you tired of seeing on resumes/in cover letters?
Unexplained gaps in time. Typos. For student hires, I’m tired of seeing, “I’m really excited to apply to work at the campus bookstore.” The word “passion”
Is there anything that people don’t put on their resumes that you wish they did?
Information based on the job posting. I hire based on the posting. If the requirements stated in the posting aren’t glaringly obvious in your resume, I have to take a longer time to parse through your application package to find them. If I have a stack of 100 resumes for one position and I can’t figure out if you have an MLIS + 3 years of experience in 20 seconds or less, I’m moving on. I think people (falsely) assume that everywhere has some type of HR software that is vetting resumes. That may be true some places, but not where I work. I am literally going through every resume, and not all of them have MLISs – or have even worked in a library. I need to be able to at least tell you apart from those people.
How many pages should a cover letter be?
√ Only one!
How many pages should a resume/CV be?
√ 3 or fewer for support staff. As many as it takes for academics.
Do you have a preferred format for application documents?
Should a resume/CV have an Objective statement?
√ I don’t care
If applications are emailed, how should the cover letter be submitted?
√ I don’t care
What’s the best way to win you over in an interview?
Be genuine and know your stuff. I hire for technical services, and I can tell when someone doesn’t give a crap about cataloging. Give a bunch of craps. Be genuine.
What are some of the most common mistakes people make in an interview?
Bringing a cup of coffee. Not dressing well. Sometimes when we ask about why a person would be a good fit for a job they really end up telling me why the job is a good fit for them. Not the same thing.
How has hiring changed at your organization since you’ve been in on the process?
We’ve stopped hiring completely since the Canadian dollar dropped. NB: We’re a Canadian library.
Anything else you’d like to let job-seekers know?
Job seekers, please stop e-mailing me asking about job opportunities. When something comes up it will be posted. If it isn’t posted it doesn’t exist. I work in the public sector, I can’t not post a job when one becomes available.
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.