Category Archives: Original Survey

Eye Contact, Confidence, and exceptional knowledge and understanding of the task at hand.

Librarian working at the Pointe Coupee Parish Parish library in New Roads Louisiana in 1936This anonymous interview is not with a librarian who has been a Recruiter. This person works at a Government Organization with 0-10 staff members.
What are the top three things you look for in a candidate?
A Master’s Degree in Library Science, Cataloging experience, and experience in an Academic or Federal Government environment.
Do you have any instant dealbreakers, either in the application packet or the interview process?
The Master’s Degree in this particular instance is a deal breaker.
What are you tired of seeing on resumes/in cover letters?
Hobbies.

Is there anything that people don’t put on their resumes that you wish they did?

 People often times leave off the “Skills” section of a resume. This can be used to easily showcase skills or experience that are relevant to each position. It’s a way to quickly tailor a resume.

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?

  •  .doc

Should a resume/CV have an Objective statement?

  • No

If applications are emailed, how should the cover letter be submitted?

  • In the body of the email only
What’s the best way to win you over in an interview?
Eye Contact, Confidence, and exceptional knowledge and understanding of the task at hand.
What are some of the most common mistakes people make in an interview?
I think nerves often times come across as attitude or disinterest.
How has hiring changed at your organization since you’ve been in on the process?
Degrees are of much more importance than they once were.
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Filed under 0-10 staff members, Original Survey

I have a form that I follow to ensure fairness to candidates by checking off various aspects

 Interior of Townsville library, ca. 1948 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 it
2) 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?

  • .docx

Should a resume/CV have an Objective statement?

  • Yes

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.

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Filed under 0-10 staff members, Original Survey

We are a Federal government GSA Contractor.

Librarian by Flickr user Super Furry LibrarianThis anonymous interview is with a hiring manager. This person works at a Federal Government Library with 0-10 staff members.

What are the top three things you look for in a candidate?

Experience, experience, experience

Do you have any instant dealbreakers, either in the application packet or the interview process?

No.

What are you tired of seeing on resumes/in cover letters?

NA

Is there anything that people don’t put on their resumes that you wish they did?

NA

How many pages should a cover letter be?

√ Only one!

How many pages should a resume/CV be?

√Preferably two, but no more than three and only when absolutely necessary.

Do you have a preferred format for application documents?

√.pdf

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?

NA

What are some of the most common mistakes people make in an interview?

NA

How has hiring changed at your organization since you’ve been in on the process?

NA

Anything else you’d like to let job-seekers know?

We are a Federal government GSA Contractor.

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.

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Filed under 0-10 staff members, Original Survey

Objectives. Please…no more.

Librarian working at the Pointe Coupee Parish Parish library in New Roads Louisiana in 1936This anonymous interview is with a librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring committee. This person works at a a public library with 200+ staff members.

What are the top three things you look for in a candidate?

Customer service skills (soft skills are a lot harder to teach!), an eagerness to learn, and fit.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers, either in the application packet or the interview process?

I had an interviewee come in wearing jeans. While that’s okay on a day-to-day basis, it was an instant turnoff for me in the interview. Otherwise, she would have been one of the top candidates!

What are you tired of seeing on resumes/in cover letters?

Objectives. Please…no more.

Is there anything that people don’t put on their resumes that you wish they did?

I did like that one candidate explained her employment gap in her cover letter. Honestly, I didn’t notice until she pointed it out, but I appreciated the effort.

How many pages should a cover letter be?

√ As many as it takes, but shorter is better

How many pages should a resume/CV be?

√ Two is ok, but no more

Do you have a preferred format for application documents?

√.pdf

Should a resume/CV have an Objective statement?

√No

If applications are emailed, how should the cover letter be submitted?

√As an attachment only

What’s the best way to win you over in an interview?

Complete answers with relevant examples. Elaborate, please! It’s okay to use an example from a non-library experience. We’re trying to get to know you to see if you would be a good fit.

What are some of the most common mistakes people make in an interview?

An interview is a sales pitch for yourself. Why should we hire YOU? Every single person I interviewed for our last position would have been hireable. Convince me that you’re the best fit. Notice how I keep mentioning “fit”.

How has hiring changed at your organization since you’ve been in on the process?

HR is much more involved. They make all the phone calls and do all the legwork. We just review the applications and participate in the interviews. That being said, make sure you get past HR so I can see your application! Make sure your application reflects the required experience.

Anything else you’d like to let job-seekers know?

Writing skills matter. And please make sure you change your cover letter from job to job. I know you’re applying to other organizations, but it’s a major turn off to see that you didn’t care to change that information in your cover letter. One more thing – we can tell when you’re throwing your resume at everything just to see what sticks. If you apply to a job posting that closely matches what you have to offer, you’ll have a much greater chance of snagging an interview.

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.

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Filed under 200+ staff members, Original Survey, Public

We’ve stopped hiring completely since the Canadian dollar dropped

Employment Bus Interior by Flickr user Metro Transportation Library and ArchiveThis anonymous interview is with a librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring committee. This person works at an academic library with 100-200 staff members.

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?

√ .pdf

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.

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Filed under 100-200 staff members, Academic, Original Survey

Don’t be diffident — we want to hire a colleague, not a supplicant

dtclark

At VCU, the largest research university in Virginia, Dennis T. Clark is is deeply involved in the design and programing of a $50 million library addition, reimagining the library service model, expanding the reach of digital media tools as well as invigorating partnership efforts to academic disciplines. Prior to his current appointment, he held evolving leadership roles in public services at Texas A&M University Libraries, where he earned tenure in 2010. He has extensive experience as a music librarian and served as Director of the Wilson Music Library and Lecturer of Music Bibliography at Vanderbilt University. VCU has 100-200 staff members, and Mr. Clark has experience both as hiring manager and as a member of a hiring or search committee. He is on Twitter @dennistclark

What are the top three things you look for in a candidate?

The first is the potential to do the job for which are advertising. On the surface, that seems obvious, but it’s not. A lot of really good librarians don’t get hired because employers are afraid to hire if he or she is not already in a similar position. A good track record is important, but more important is the potential to be successful. Potential can be demonstrated in more creative ways the already having done the same work. The second is a service perspective. We don’t want to hire anyone who doesn’t have their own intrinsic desire to exceed the expectations of his or her clients, customers or stakeholders, however defined. We can teach almost everything else, but we can’t teach that. The third is engagement with our context. Prove to us that you’ve researched and understand our state, university, library, students and faculty. The onus is one the candidate.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers, either in the application packet or the interview process?

We try to look holistically at a application, but candidates that don’t include everything we asked for in the advertisement aren’t going to progress very far. If we ask for references, provide them. This is easy stuff. Typos and grammar mistakes are deadly. We’re librarians, and most of us have an eye (and respect) for detail. Again, it’s easy — have someone proof your letter and CV.

What are you tired of seeing on resumes/in cover letters?

Typos. Grammatical Mistakes. Don’t use contractions. Don’t assume a casual relationship, even if we have met. Odd fonts. More than one font. Mostly, bad or bland writing.

Is there anything that people don’t put on their resumes that you wish they did?

This is one of the most formal pieces of communication that you will ever submit. Keep your lingo professional. Keep your sentences short and to the point.

How many pages should a cover letter be?

√ Two is ok, but no more

How many pages should a resume/CV be?

√ As many as it takes, I want to look at every accomplishment

Do you have a preferred format for application documents?

√ .pdf

Should a resume/CV have an Objective statement?

√ No

If applications are emailed, how should the cover letter be submitted?

√ As an attachment only

What’s the best way to win you over in an interview?

Be prepared. Present yourself well, and with a lot of confidence. Don’t be diffident — we want to hire a colleague, not a supplicant. Dress well. This may be the most important day of your career thus far, look like it. If you use a slides for a presentation, own it. If you get stumped on a question, move it along. Don’t apologize for not knowing a particular fact. Have good questions for us, but don’t assume it’s a 1/1 ratio.

What are some of the most common mistakes people make in an interview?

Not being prepared. Not having questions. Mostly, common mistakes such as not looking directly at people when speaking, things like that. I had one interviewee who checked their email on their phone at the beginning of our one-on-one interview slot. Tsk, tsk.

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.

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Filed under 100-200 staff members, Academic, Original Survey

7. NEVER, EVER name-drop.

Minna P. Gill, Suffragette and Librarian, n.d.This anonymous interview is with a non-librarian who has been a hiring manager, a member of a hiring committee , human resources, and a Labor and employment attorney. This person works at a public library with 100-200 staff members.

What are the top three things you look for in a candidate?

1. Academic qualifications
2. Enthusiasm
3. Genuine interest in the specific job and in our Library system.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers, either in the application packet or the interview process?

1. Incomplete information in application materials, especially as to previous jobs.
2. Failure to read instructions.
3. Failure to provide required proof of academic credentials.

What are you tired of seeing on resumes/in cover letters?

1. I’ve always loved to read.
2. Anything that is clearly a form letter that the applicant has used over and over. I want to see a genuine interest in our community and in our libraries.
3. References available on request.
4. Will discuss at interview. That’s a real interview-opportunity killer.
5. Not including pay information for previous jobs.
6. Not including the sizes of libraries [county/city population and # of employees] where the candidate has previously worked.

Is there anything that people don’t put on their resumes that you wish they did?

1. Why the job search has lead to our library system, especially for applicants who live several states away.
2. Types of libraries [academic, public, school, etc.] where applicants have worked.
3. Demographics of the areas where the applicant has worked [i.e., urban library, rural, suburban, etc.]. Makes a big difference.

How many pages should a cover letter be?

√ Two is ok, but no more

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?

√ No preference, as long as I can open it

Should a resume/CV have an Objective statement?

√ I don’t care

If applications are emailed, how should the cover letter be submitted?

√ Both as an attachment and in the body of the email

What’s the best way to win you over in an interview?

1. Prepare. Learn as much as you can about the library system and the communities it serves.
2. Be honest. Don’t tell us what you think we want to hear.
3. Think before answering any question.
4. Make eye contact.
5. Shake our hands.
6. Dress appropriately.
7. NEVER, EVER name-drop.
8. Be on time.

What are some of the most common mistakes people make in an interview?

1. Thinking that the work is the same from library system to library system, or even from Branch to Branch.
2. Saying too much. When you prepare to answer a question, think about the answer and use the precise words. Don’t over-explain.
3. Don’t try to gloss over mistakes you’ve made at other jobs. Own them and tell us how you’ve learned from them.

How has hiring changed at your organization since you’ve been in on the process?

1. It’s more transparent that it had been.
2. Candidates dress more casually than I think is appropriate.
3. There does appear to be a bias against older applicants. Younger managers typically choose younger applicants to interview. It’s a struggle that I find distasteful and unlawful.

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.

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Filed under Original Survey