Do not ask questions. My pet peeve. This is useless and a waste of our time. 

Karl Geiger (1855-1924), Dt. Bibliothekar, Direktor der Universitätsbibliothek Tübingen 1895-1920. Julius Wilhelm Hornung, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Public Library 

Title: Administrative Manager/Regional Manager

Titles hired include: Administrative Manager, Librarians I-IV, Sr. Library Assistant, Library Assistant I-II, Clerk, Page

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ HR

√ Library Administration 

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

√ Online application 

√ References

√ Proof of degree 

√ Written Exam

√ Oral Exam/Structured interview 

√ More than one round of interviews 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ Yes 

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

Energy, enthusiasm 

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Stating misinformation about organization, bad grammar, lingo and cliches

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

Mental health issues

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ We don’t ask for this  

Resume: √ Only One!

CV: √ We don’t ask for this  

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

Not researching organization;, rambling, unfocused answers that are too long

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

People tend to sound more monotone and show less enthusiasm in this setting. Smile sometimes and look at the camera. Be aware of your background and keep it simple. It can be needlessly distracting.

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?

Emphasize customer service, work with people 

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?

Too expensive to live in our area now. Makes it hard for lots of people.

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

None! Do not ask questions. My pet peeve. This is useless and a waste of our time. 

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Western US 

What’s your region like?

√ Urban 

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Some of the time and/or in some positions 

How many staff members are at your organization?

√ 201+ 

Author’s note: Hey, thanks for reading! If you like reading, why not try commenting or sharing? Or are you somebody who hires Library, Archives or other LIS workers? Please consider giving your own opinion by filling out the survey here.



Filed under 1 A Return to Hiring Librarians Survey, 200+ staff members, Public, Urban area, Western US

4 responses to “Do not ask questions. My pet peeve. This is useless and a waste of our time. 

  1. I’m curious why this person thinks candidates asking questions is useless and a waste of time. It’s the first time I’ve seen someone advise not asking questions. Usually, it shows candidates are serious about the position, plus it gives candidates a chance to gauge a potential employer!


    • Jimmie Epling

      As an employer, you have restrictions on what you can ask. We often wish we could know more about a candidate at the conclusion of an interview. Allowing a candidate to ask (read, interview) you as an employer can reveal a candidate’s motivations, needs, restrictions, and true interest in the job. It may also provide insight into statements made in the interview, an application, resume, or cover letter. Don’t pass up an opportunity to ask such an open ended question!


  2. Raquel Donahue

    This was a horrifying submission and I am placing this reaction here for posterity. Discussions on this rank submission are happening elsewhere on social media, but I think this submission merits a reaction here for other readers and hopefully for the submitter. I am appalled, but also unsurprised that someone like this is in a position of authority and hiring staff in libraries.


  3. Pingback: Thursday Thoughts: Do You Have Any Questions for Us? – Storytime in the Stacks

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