DO NOT tell me “well, I’ve never been here before.”

Headshot of Michael Sauers

Michael Sauers is currently the Technology Manager for Do Space in Omaha, NE. 

Throughout his 25+ year career, he has been a technology trainer, library trustee, a bookstore manager for a library friends group, a reference librarian, a technology consultant, and a bookseller. He has also published more than 15 books on technology and other topics.

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

Positions are posted by our marketing manger to our Web site and various social media sites and online job positing services such as Indeed, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Applications all go to a single email inbox set up for this purpose and whichever manager is hiring a position is responsible for the rest of the process. For positions reporting to me I review all applications and choose which candidates to interview. Depending on the position, there may be a second interview with other staff included and/or a short meeting between the final candidate and the director. Final hiring decisions are made by the hiring manager unless there is a direct objection to a candidate from the director.

Titles hired include: Community Technologist, Membership Clerk

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ The position’s supervisor 

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

√ Online application

√ Cover letter

√ Resume

√ References 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No

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

For most positions I’m looking for four specific things. Their commitment to customer service, a willingness to learn, the ability to work with little direction, and the willingness to ask for assistance/direction if needed. This is all because we’re a very small organization with high expectations when it comes to a member’s experience.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

My biggest issue is when an applicant has no clue as to who/what we are as an organization. We’re open to the public seven days a week totalling 90 open hours. If you’re not going to stop in at least once to look around at least research us online. But in your answer to my first question (“If someone asked you ‘what’s Do Space?’ how would you answer that?”)  DO NOT tell me “well, I’ve never been here before.” At least look us up online before the interview.

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

Nothing I can think of.

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Only One!  

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

CV: √ We don’t ask for this  

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

Lacking knowledge of the organization and being unable to communicate about themselves clearly.

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

We did this a few times during the height of COVID but I’ve not done this enough to have any advice in this area.

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’m not sure I can point to anything specific however, we do collect anonymous demographic data separate from the application and do a semi-annual demographic survey of staff. In general we’re at least as diverse if not more than the population we serve.

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

Salary range is posted on the job description but we’re generally going to hire at the bottom of that range. Almost no one asks about salary when given the opportunity in the interview.

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Midwestern US 

What’s your region like?

√ Urban

√ Suburban 

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, Midwestern US, Special, Suburban area, Urban area

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