This anonymous interview is with a librarian who has been a hiring manager (you are hiring people that you will directly or indirectly supervise). This person works at a a school library with 0-10 staff members.
What are the top three things you look for in a candidate?
1) Positive Attitude – a candidate that will be a pleasure to work with, one that won’t spread negativity around the workplace, things happen that we can’t prevent and having a positive attitude helps everyone work together to solve it2) Life Long Learners – I want to hire someone that I feel is going to want to be challenged and not stagnate. Today’s world is changing rapidly, new technologies are emerging, the economy is changing. Libraries are always at risk of budget cuts, therefore I want a team that is going to strive to adapt to these changes, stay current with trends and ensure the survival of our library. Working with people who do not feel the desire to learn more, in my experience can be crippling. They tend to resist change and be satisfied with the library staying the exact same for decades. This is not what I’m interested in at all. I want a team that wants challenge.3) Experience – This may be in the form of an educational background, volunteering, working, etc. whatever the case may be I don’t automatically dismiss candidates if they do not meet the educational requirements of a job. I want to look at the whole picture, what workshops, professional developments, webinars, and experiences do they bring? There are many free options available online that can help develop library and information resource skills. Formal education is an asset and definitely is something that I would consider absolutely essential for starter positions. Candidates may be in the process of completing their degree, so I know that they will bring the newest information to the job and that they are hard-workers if they’re tackling a new job as well as formal education. This is something I would definitely consider and look for in candidates.
Do you have any instant dealbreakers, either in the application packet or the interview process?
Late to the interview, messy and disorganized looking, poor English language skills, swearing, etc. I think all the usual warning signs that this candidate isn’t going to be a good fit for a customer oriented position. Additionally, candidates that haven’t updated any of the skills in a long time. There are so many free resources online to learn about what’s new out there, to me, it’s inexcusable to not participate in any of these learning opportunities. Libraries are constantly under threats of budget cuts, and becoming obsolete. I don’t want to hire a staff member that is going to contribute to that.
What are you tired of seeing on resumes/in cover letters?
Listing your required tasks and duties on resumes – list your achievements and highlight the unique or challenging aspects of your previous jobs and volunteer experiences
Is there anything that people don’t put on their resumes that you wish they did?
I wish people would put more information about what latest technology and software they are experienced at using i.e. library management software, newest apps, educational resources, etc.
How many pages should a cover letter be?
- Only one!
How many pages should a resume/CV be?
- As many as it takes, but keep it short and sweet
Do you have a preferred format for application documents?
Should a resume/CV have an Objective statement?
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?
Do your homework – know about what’s going on at our library Be personable and genuine – it’s going to lead to trouble sooner or later if a candidate is being dishonest about qualifications, skills or competencies
What are some of the most common mistakes people make in an interview?
Being dishonest – Don’t tell me about skills you have or places that you have worked that aren’t true. I network constantly with librarians and educators in my field. It doesn’t take much effort for me to pick up the phone or send off an email to verify if what a candidate is saying is true. I’ve sadly caught candidates being dishonest about work experience, and qualifications this way. This will black list candidates in my books forever, how can I ever trust that person in the future?
How has hiring changed at your organization since you’ve been in on the process?
Extensively – I am the only one who does the hiring Previously there was no formal process for making candidate selections. Now I have a form that I follow to ensure fairness to candidates by checking off various aspects that we want to have covered
Anything else you’d like to let job-seekers know?
Be on time, be professional looking (overdressing is MUCH better than underdressing), share what exciting projects or tasks you’re working on currently (even if it’s not directly related to the job). I want to see your energy, what makes you excited and want to work hard.
Are there any other questions you think we should add to this survey?
Perhaps a question about the future of the library could be added, such as: Do you ask the candidate any questions related to what they see the library achieving in the future? I just think it’s so important to hire staff members that share goals with what your library is working towards accomplishing.