Category Archives: Original Survey

We no longer try to appeal to Gen Xers or millennials

Librarian working at the Pointe Coupee Parish Parish library in New Roads Louisiana in 1936This anonymous interview is with a non-librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring committee. This person works at a corporate library with 0-10 staff members.

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

Practical experience
Record of advancement within other organizations
Good educational background

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

Record of job hopping
Incorrect grammar in written or spoken communication
Typos in the cover letter or resume
Visible tattoos, odd piercings or hair cuts/colors

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?

√ No preference, as long as I can open it

Should a resume/CV have an Objective statement?

√ Yes

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?

Preparation. Show that you’ve researched my organization and have ideas for how you can help.

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

Little or no preparation
Too informal
Slovenly appearance

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

We no longer try to appeal to Gen Xers or millennials. That got us nowhere. We want professionals regardless of generation.

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, Special

Be as much of your everyday self as you can.

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 public library with 100-200 staff members.

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

1) Diversity of work experience both within libraries and outside of the profession

2) Embraces continuous learning

3) Drive and ambition

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

Not tailoring a resume to address the specific skills or experience described in the job posting

Only asking basic questions at the end of the interview: What’s your timeline? What is the benefits package? This is the candidates opportunity to interview the organization, please put some thought into the questions.

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

I like to help people.
I love…..books, technology just fill in the blank
I am innovative.

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

I wish more candidates would include their experience outside of libraries. It gives me a better picture of the candidate. It may also demonstrate important skills and knowledge that I would miss just considering their library experience.

How many pages should a cover letter be?

√ Two is ok, but no more

How many pages should a resume/CV be?

√ It depends on the position

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?

√ As an attachment only

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

Be as much of your everyday self as you can. Don’t try to tone it down or rev it up just to get the job. If I hire you based upon who you portrayed, then we will both be disappointed if that is not the real you.

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

Not stopping to think about the questions being asked. It’s okay to ask for clarification. Better to do this than to appear like you have not addressed the question.

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

Yes. The interview processes that I’m involved in will usually include some exercise to demonstrate a candidate’s familiarity with a specific skill, or process.

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

Learn as much as you can about the library and position. Demonstrate that knowledge in the interview in a way that shows that you did your homework.

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.

Leave a comment

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

There is no reward for coming in 2nd, 3rd, or 4th with jobs. So, keep trying!

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 member of a hiring committee. This person works at an academic with 10-50 staff members and hires for an Academic library.

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

Enthusiasm. Practical Ideas. Thoughtfulness.

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

Disparaging remarks about students. Multiple typos/errors. Cover letters under a paragraph long. Missing application material. An AOL email address (okay, maybe not an instant deal-breaker, but it makes me wonder.)

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

Cover letters that do NOT address the qualifications of the job. It should not merely be a summary of your experience. I only want to hear about experience that relates to the specific job at hand. And you should try to address every single qualification for an academic job.

Also, cover letters are an opportunity to expand on your resume. They should not just be a regurgitation of what’s on the resume. Give detail. Give examples. This is your chance! If your cover letter is less than a paragraph, you’re not doing it right.

And, don’t forget that you can show enthusiasm in a cover letter. I also want to know that you “want” the job. Not just that you can do it.

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 thoughtful about the interview questions. If you’re not sure about something, at least try to explain how you would investigate the question to come to an answer. Have specific questions about the job and University.

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

Answering a question with just “I don’t know”.

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

There are a lot of applicants for every job, which means you could be doing really well and not getting the position. Unfortunately, there is no reward for coming in 2nd, 3rd, or 4th with jobs. So, keep trying!

Are there any other questions you think we should add to this survey? 

How can an applicant make themselves stand out?

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under 10-50 staff members, Academic, Original Survey

sexist remarks (yep, we’ve had those!)

Interior of Townsville library, ca. 1948

This anonymous interview is with a librarian who has been a member of a hiring committee.

This person works at an academic library with 10-50 staff members.

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

Ability to communicate. This means that the candidate is thoughtful in responses, answers the question(s) asked of them, can provide both philosophical and practical answers, and can make connections between concepts.

Familiarity with our institution. This means that the candidate has done some homework on our library and understands – even at a very basic level – how the library is organized.

Curiosity. Do they have questions of us about the job, the library, the institution?

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

Misspelling our institution/library name, using the wrong name (primarily because the candidate is using the same cover letter over and over), referring to the wrong position within the cover letter, not personalizing a cover letter or resume for a specific institution/position (yes, we can definitely tell…words like “your institution” rather than the more specific “Zembel Library” are dead giveaways).
During the interview process: sexist remarks (yep, we’ve had those!) and lack of questions or curiosity or unwillingness to make conversation are dealbreakers.

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

OBJECTIVES! That’s my number one pet peeve. The objective is always, always, always to get the job.

Also, in cover letters, talking about how the candidate is the “perfect fit” for this position. That’s for us to judge, not a candidate. I much prefer when candidates talk about their experience/education and how it aligns with what we are asking for in the ad.

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

Can’t think of anything at the moment.

How many pages should a cover letter be?

√This is totally position dependent. The higher level of the responsibility, the longer the letter. But, for most positions, two is standard.

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?

√.pdf

Should a resume/CV have an Objective statement?

√No

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?

Do your homework about the library and institution, ask questions, don’t assume too much, and keep the focus on the job not our location (our location is in a very desirable outdoor area and when a candidate starts off with the standard “why I am interested in this position” by talking about our location, it’s a turnoff).

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

Lack of eye contact, not coming with prepared questions, talking for TOO long, not providing specific examples to support an answer. For this last, we often get people who answer a question with an answer that’s pretty vague, say something like, “I am good at time management” but then they can’t provide examples of exactly HOW they are good at time management or prioritizing or whatever.

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

I think our expectations of our candidates to be more educated about our institution and what we are doing here has increased. It’s so easy now to find out about us, our strategic plan, and our accomplishments; we really expect candidates to have done that homework beforehand.

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

For the love of heaven, please have someone proofread your resume and cover letter. We get scores of resumes and due to the large number, we are looking for mistakes that will take people out of the pool so we can have a manageable number of candidates. If you have poor grammar or spelling on your resume or cover letter, you’re going in the “no” pile first thing.

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under 10-50 staff members, Academic, Original Survey

You should be interviewing us even as we are interviewing you

Jessica OlinJessica Olin is the Director of the Robert H. Parker Library at Wesley College in Dover, DE, an academic library with 0-10 staff members. She has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring committee. She blogs about librarianship at Letters to a Young Librarian and tweets about librarianship, higher ed, popular culture, and other random awesome things @olinj. In her limited spare time, she likes to cross-stitch, watch Doctor Who, and spend time with her geriatric cat Holly.

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

Fit for the culture I’m trying to build in the library; asking the right kinds of questions during the interview; seems to have done their research and can articulate why they are a good fit for the position.

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

Excessive grammar & spelling errors (attention to detail); doesn’t seem to know a lot about the institution; if the applicant doesn’t address an obvious disconnect between the job and their qualifications (way over or way under qualified); inappropriate dress in the interview (way over or under dressed).

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

Canned comments, form letters, “change agent.”

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

Not that I can think of

How many pages should a cover letter be?

√ Other: It depends on the position. Entry level or para-professional, no more than one. High level administration, as many as it takes but shorter is better.

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?

√ 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?

Calm, confidence, asking the right kinds of questions, eager to participate in the conversation but not dominating it.

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

Not asking questions or asking the wrong kinds of questions (don’t ask things that are on the website). When asked “why do you want to work here?” NEVER say “because I need a job,” even if it’s true.

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

More preparation ahead of time, and a bit more scripted for consistency across interviews.

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

You should be interviewing us even as we are interviewing you. Not everyone is a good fit for every job, and not every job is a good fit for every applicant.

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Filed under 0-10 staff members, Academic, Original Survey

Don’t say “the students are pretty” when we ask why you want to work here

 

Ainsworth Rand Spofford 6th Librarian of Congress

This 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 staff 50-100 members.

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

1. Clearly articulated statement of interest in the position advertised
2. Clear documentation of how they meet our required qualifications
3. A sense of what they would bring to our organization

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

Yes: using the wrong institution name in the cover letter and not having the required qualifications listed in the job ad. Another deal breaker is having an internet history or making comments in the interview indicating you are in any way not suited to working with traditionally-aged college women. (In other words: don’t be a creep. Don’t make jokes about “co-eds”. And don’t say “the students are pretty” when we ask why you want to work here. Past or current misogyny is an instant disqualification.)

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

I’m tired of you telling me what you did in a current/past job in a cover letter, instead of telling me how your experiences situate you to succeed in our position. Also, please don’t use tables in a cover letter to highlight how you meet our qualifications. That tells me you can’t write descriptively.

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

None.

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?

√ .pdf

Should a resume/CV have an Objective statement?

√ No

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

√ Our HR office uses Peoplesoft, so this is a moot question.

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

Be yourself! Let us see how your skills and experiences complement who you are. Also, be prepared with tons of questions. I’m a firm believer in interviews being a two-way street. There is nothing that deflates me more than a candidate not having questions for each group or person s/he meets during the day, plus a bank of them in reserve. They don’t need to be specific to the job or our institution (although that helps), but if you don’t have questions about anything, I question whether you have the curiosity necessary to be successful at our organization.

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

The biggest mistake I see is people jumping in to answer a question without giving it a moment of thought first. But even candidates who have bombed a question or two in interviews have been hired.

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

I think we’ve gotten better at helping our candidates prepare for the phone interview and interview day by letting them know ahead of time who will be participating. Our interview days are a little shorter than they used to be. We now include a faculty member on search committees for certain positions, and we invite other faculty members to participate in the interview day.

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

You have this hiring manager’s empathy. I’ve seen our candidate pools and know you’re in for tough competition no matter the position. I wish for you all engaging, well-written cover letters, clear resumes, and jobs in institutions where you can grow and use your expertise.

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under 50-100 staff members, Academic, Original Survey

Over confidence. If you haven’t been in charge of a budget before don’t claim experience you don’t have

Egyptologist and Librarian Hans Ostenfeld Lange and his wife Joanna

 

This anonymous interview is with a librarian who has been a hiring manager.

This person works at a public library with 10-50 staff members.

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

Leadership potential
Organization
Good Work Ethic
(Excluding an MLS of course)

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

Someone who has confidence and proven abilities is easy to spot. They have confidence in themselves and are excited by the many opportunities to serve others our profession has to offer. A dealbreaker is someone who is blasé and simply looking to change careers. They’ve done X for 20yrs, enjoy reading and so they’ve completed their MLS with absolutely no passion for what we do nor have any relevant experience (intern or volunteering or OJT). What we do is serve people. Period. We do it in many different ways and in many different libraries, but it is universal. If you aren’t excited about the ability to do that – you aren’t for me.

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

Too many over the top action words related to skills, which can’t be backed up in the previous job employment section. If you’re just out of school -own it. Write down “willing to learn and expand on my skills of “.

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

What they love about our profession. Why they want to be a librarian.
I know you’ve got the degree, but I want to know why you want to be a librarian

How many pages should a cover letter be?

√ Only one!

How many pages should a resume/CV be?

√ Two is ok, but no more

Do you have a preferred format for application documents?

√ .docx

Should a resume/CV have an Objective statement?

√ I don’t care

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?

Genuine love of people as we discuss what the job entails. It shouldn’t be a surprise to you that we serve people and there shouldn’t be any surprises that your job (at whatever level) is about people first and foremost.

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

Over confidence. If you haven’t been in charge of a budget before don’t claim experience you don’t have especially if your resume tells me you are right out of school.

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

Not at all, however I’ve only been here 7 yrs.

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

Apply for anything and everything. Don’t wait for the right job to come to you, go out to find it and be willing to move to get it.

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under 10-50 staff members, Original Survey, Public