Tag Archives: Customer service

This is a Small Field, Guys, I Probably Know and Like Your Old Boss

A Bookmark would be better, Illinois WPA, ca. 1936-1940This anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a hiring manager at a library with 10-50 staff members.



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

Previous experience (does NOT have to be library experience, but something related to customer service, books, kids, technology…)
Positive attitude, friendly demeanor (you deal with a lot of difficult people in this job, and you always have to have a smile on your face)
Willingness/ability to learn new things (this is hard to suss out, but totally necessary to the job)

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

MLS with no relevant experience. Why did you go to library school. I ask you. (Same for people with eighty million degrees in random fields.)
Also, the stink of desperation. Please stop calling. I got your resume.

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

I’m tired of NOT seeing cover letters. If you’ve spent the last twenty years in grocery store management, you’re gonna need to explain why you suddenly want to work in a public library.

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

Honestly I’d love it if people had some kind of online portfolio or blog or something. It’s nice to have some evidence that you’re “creative and motivated” other than your say-so.

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?

√ No preference, as long as I can open it

Should a resume/CV have an Objective statement?

√ Other: I don’t care, as long as it’s not pointless

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 easy to get along with. We have a very collaborative department, and if you seem difficult, I’m not going to hire you.

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

Derailing the conversation
Giving really brief or trite answers
Badmouthing previous employers (ALL THE TIME. This is a small field, guys, I probably know and like your old boss.)

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

I Look More for Functional Skills Than Anything Else

Room 100, NYPL, 1923This interview is with a public librarian from a library with 0-10 staff members, who has been a library director and a hiring manager.



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

work ethic
friendliness / customer service skills
adaptability

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

If the applicant doesn’t come across as someone who can provide cheerful, happy customer service, then I won’t hire him/her.

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

I can’t think of anything in particular.

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

I want to see specific skills, in addition to education, previous jobs, and other such things.

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?

√ 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?

√ No

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?

The best way is to be happy, genial, and ask questions.  Too many people just sit and stare at the interviewer.

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

staring a the interviewer without asking any questions
act lazy (slouching, etc.)

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

I look more for functional skills than anything else.

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

Don’t call me and ask for an interview.  If I want to interview you, I’ll ask you to come in.

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

We work with the Public All Day; They Need to Hear You Speak

Belmont Branch Construction, 1956This anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring committee at a library with 50-100 staff members.

 

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

People Skills: I want staff that enjoys working with the public as well as with other staff.
Desire for growth: I want to hire staff that are interested in moving up in the organization; or interested in developing their own unique skill sets as a professional. A library is a place of learning, so demonstrate your curiosity!
Trainability: I want to know if you will be able to learn the skills necessary for the job, and willing to learn from your peers.

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

Sloppy resumes/cover letters: I get a lot of resumes that it is obvious that they just tweaked a template or copied it off the internet, or filled in some online form. Please take the time to make a comprehensive, personal resume/cover letter.
In the interview: if you are too quiet for me to hear you clearly. We work with the public all day; they need to hear you speak.

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

For some reason people seem to include that they are physically in good health a lot in their cover letters.
Having no demonstrated interested in libraries. I’ve had applicants with pharmacy tech. degrees and no experience apply; if that is your background please include some information as to why you want to work in library.
Education without any experience, please at least volunteer at a library or do an internship/practicum at one.

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

Include customer service experience! I hire for the circulation desk and sometimes don’t hear about a person’s customer service experience until I pry it out of them in an interview. I’ve had people with and an MLIS only talk about their education; if you were a waitress, bartender, worked retail I want to know because it shows me how you work with people.

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?

√ Other: If you have one make sure it shows that you could grow in my organization.

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 interested in working with the public, excited is even better. Show me that you are not only interested in the job but also the organization. Bonus points if you show that you are interested in the community. Be enthusiastic about librarianship and aware of recent developments in libraries in general, keep up with your current events.

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

They treat it more like a question answer session than a conversation. Feel free to think about what I am asking you, and elaborate on your responses. If there is a natural segue into something  you are interested or know something about than feel free to talk about that.
I like long interesting interviews where the person is comfortable talking to me.
They don’t dress appropriately. Iron your clothes, wear something business like. Don’t come to an interview with me in khakis and polo. Libraries are business casual, but management here tends to be less casual than regular staff so you don’t want to underdress for the interview. If you can walk through the library at least once to get an idea how staff dress, step it up a notch from that or if you see someone in management match their level of dress.

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

I hire for the circulation department, library subs, and other management. Since I came on board we look more at customer service skills and trainability over just education. Also for entry level jobs we look more closely at a potential growth path for that employee.

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

Be willing to move, jobs are hard enough to come by without limiting yourself to a specific location.

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Filed under 50-100 staff members, Circulation, Entry Level, Management, Original Survey, Public, Substitutes/Pool