I like to be surprised by intelligent questions.

A woman shelves books from a cart
Image: Mildred C. Crabtree, a civilian librarian, selects books in the library for distribution to the wards at Kenner Army Hospital. National Archives Catalog.

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Academic Library

Title: Public Services Librarian

Titles hired: Supervisors, Student Library Assistant

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ HR

√ The position’s supervisor

√ A Committee or panel

Which of the following does your organization regularly require of candidates?

√ Online application

√ Cover letter

√ Resume

√ References

√ Supplemental Questions

√ Oral Exam/Structured interview

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No

Briefly describe the hiring process at your organization and your role in it:

If I’m hiring for the library, then I do interviews with the candidate. I have a supervisor with me to ask/answer questions as the perspective worker would either share the role with a supervisor or would be reporting directly to a supervisor.

Think about the last candidate who really wowed you, on paper, in an interview, or otherwise. Why were they so impressive?

I could tell if they put a lot of thought into their resume compared to most student employees.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Unwilling attitude.

What do you wish you could know about candidates that isn’t generally revealed in the hiring process?

Whether they really do have a strong work ethic and are willing to do the things that are listed on the job description.

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Two is ok, but no more

Resume: √ Two is ok, but no more

CV: √ As many as it takes, but keep it reasonable and relevant

What is the most common mistake that people make in an interview?

Not being able to come up with more than just “I don’t know”. I don’t mind uncertainty, but I at least want a “in this situation, I might, or I would probably . . . “

Do you conduct virtual interviews? What do job hunters need to know about shining in this setting?

Yes. Nothing specific .

How can candidates looking to transition from paraprofessional work, from non-library work, or between library types convince you that their experience is relevant? Or do you have other advice for folks in this kind of situation?

I look for talent in those who work for me and try to give them opportunities to progress when they open.

When does your organization *first* mention salary information?

√ It’s part of the job ad

What does your organization do to reduce bias in hiring? What are the contexts in which discrimination still exists in this process?

I look at resumes and experience and try to look for unique characteristics, actions, or experiences.

What questions should candidates ask you? What is important for them to know about your organization and the position you are hiring for?

I don’t have a definite answer. I like to be surprised by intelligent questions. I like them to know that they are being paid to work but that we like to create a fun and friendly atmosphere for employees, as well as library clients.

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Western US

What’s your region like?

√ Rural

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Never or not anymore

How many staff members are at your organization?

√ 11-50

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Filed under 1 A Return to Hiring Librarians Survey, 10-50 staff members, Academic, Rural area, Western US

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