Tag Archives: interviewers

That MLS and Undergraduate Degree, Everyone Has One

Librarian's_grave_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1232991

This 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 more than 200 staff members.

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

match of knowledge, skills, and abilities needed for the specific job
interpersonal skills
passion for people

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

 This depends on the job and on what the candidate says. For example, a cataloging job would cause me to look very closely at details of the application. A candidate who says “detail-oriented”, better be just that.

In the interview: more than 15 minutes late (though I can easily understand emergencies–in that case, the candidate should ask to re-schedule), obvious lack of knowledge about or interest in the employer and/or the specific position.

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

Objectives. Why? We all know you want a job.

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

Generally, librarians do a great job. What people should remember though is that *every single candidate* meets the minimum qualifications. So, that MLS and undergraduate degree, everyone has one. What makes you different? What do you bring that other candidates don’t? How might you be a better fit for the job? Once, a candidate neglected to mention on her resume that she had been the treasurer of a touring choir (based in her church, but acting as a 501(c)3) in an interview for a job that required budgeting skills. She did mention this in the interview, but almost didn’t get considered (she got the job, by the way).

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?

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

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

Be prompt, know about the job, use humor appropriately, be yourself (not a plastic version of a librarian). Pay attention to the questions. Don’t be afraid to challenge the logic of the questions. Ask a few questions yourself.

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

 Generic answers.

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

In each organization where I’ve had a hiring role, I’ve moved to include more peers and immediate supervisors in the hiring process.

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Filed under 200+ staff members, Original Survey, Public

We Do Not Pay Enough to Have Someone Relocate

Librarian's_Desk, Bancroft Library

 

This 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 public library with 0-10 staff members. 

 

 

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

Personality
Experience
Communication skills

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

In the interview process, the inablility to answer a question or rather the inability to communicate well either the answer or to communicate any other response.
Distance from our library…we do not pay enough to have someone relocate.
Lack of experience

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

That they know something about the town, or the library itself…that they have done some home work so that they have some idea about population and some other issues.

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?

√ .pdf

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?

Dress appropriately. Look the interviewers in the eye and respond directly to questions. Have some kind of portfolio of work or work experience to prove one’s claims.

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

For us, not knowing anything about the community….or the job…before hand. Thinking that because we are a small town, we are pushovers for claims of expertise that are clearly over the top. For instance, the person who says he or she was a head librarian at a prestigious university…tnen we have to ask ourselves…why come to a small town library. We also don’t appreciate being preached to….that the applicant can save us because as a small town we probably don’t know what we are doing.

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

We have a process now.

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

Honesty is important. It is better to say that you don’t know something…than lie..and it is better to say that while you don’t know a process, you are willing to be trained. Everyone on a new job has to be a learner, and every manager has to be willing to be a trainer or a teacher.

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

The Bigger Problem is Too Much on the Resume That’s Unrelated to the Position

Main_Reading_Room,_State_Library_of_NSW,_Sydney_(NSW)_(7173836598)

 

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?

Intelligence
Enthusiasm
Sincerity

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

Poor grammar is always a deal breaker for me followed closely by short and uninformative cover letters.

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

Objectives are a waste of time. I know your objective is to get whatever job your taking the time to apply to. It’s just wasted space.

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

I don’t see this as too much of a problem, the bigger problem is too much on the resume that’s unrelated to the position.

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?

√ 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?

Be genuine, have a sense of humor, and show that you’ve done a little research about our organization. If you’ve explored our website at all you should be in good shape.

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

Yes, a day long interview is stressful but remember that you weren’t brought in unless we felt pretty confident that you could do the job. At this point it’s more about whether people can work with you. I’ve seen (more than once) where the candidate who was hired was not necessarily the strongest librarian of the group but was the most likeable and easygoing.

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

The only real change I’ve noticed is that postings close more quickly, particularly entry level positions. We just get so many applicants that we have to cut if off quickly or we’ll be overwhelmed.

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

READ the job description. I cannot emphasize this enough. Competition is fierce so you need to address every single part of the job description in your cover letter/CV to realistically land an interview. If something is listed as a requirement and you don’t have that skill/knowledge/certification/ don’t bother applying. You don’t need to have every preferred qualification but the more of them you can fulfill, the more likely you are to land an interview. There are just too many applicants who will meet all or most of the standards, you’re just wasting your time (and mine) if you don’t have a strong case.

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

Someone Who is Not Crazy

Librarian working at the Pointe Coupee Parish Parish library in New Roads Louisiana in 1936This anonymous interview is with a person who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring committee. This person hires at a

business that hires archivists/librarians

with 0-10 staff members. When asked “Are you a librarian?” this person chose the “it’s complicated” option.
What are the top three things you look for in a candidate?

1)The ability to perform essential functions outlined in the job posting
2)An independent thinker
3)Someone who is not crazy

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

The only instant deal breaker I have is the interviewee with a bad attitude. In this economy, you may wind up interviewing for jobs that you are over qualified for. This doesn’t mean you will automatically be hired; if you act like the position is beneath you, there is no chance we will hire you.

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

Typos. Please read things before you submit them. It looks like you didn’t learn anything in grad school if you still don’t know the difference between “two” and “too”

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

I wish people would elaborate on their relevant volunteer experience. I know, it wasn’t paid, but it is usually relevant experience that can make a candidate seem much more qualified.

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?

√ 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?

Show the interviewers that you are capable of doing the job. Remember to bring your best self to the interview.

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

Not asking questions. I am aware that you did research ahead of time, but there is no possible way that you could know everything about a position ahead of time. I don’t ask the typical “so tell me what you know about our organization” questions because I know you visited our website and social media before the interview. But I do ask if you have any questions because I know that we don’t post everything.

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

We have become more selective.

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

1)Don’t ask for a significantly higher salary in the interview
2)Be aware of what type of position you are applying for. If it is entry level, don’t come in expecting to be running the organization in six months
3)Don’t insult and interviewer. If you don’t like something they have produced, the interview isn’t the time to have a debate. Don’t tell them they have done anything wrong until after you have been hired.

As crazy as it sounds, we’ve had all three of the above happen.

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Filed under 0-10 staff members, Original Survey, Other Organization or Library Type

Look Me in the Eye, Smile, and Tell Me Why this Job/Organization is Right for You

Library Staff, c1990s, LSE LibraryThis anonymous interview is with someone who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring committee.  This person works at a government agency with 50-100 staff members.  When asked, “Are you a librarian?”, this person chose the option “it’s complicated.”

Special Note: In another three weeks or so, this blog will be one year old.  And this is the last response to the original survey!  This is number 162!  Unless, of course, there are any more people who hire librarians who decide to take it. I will continue posting the many, many responses to the What Should Candidates Wear? and Job Hunter’s surveys, as well as the various other features and posts you’re used to seeing.  And I’m thinking of what the next survey should be – maybe something about networking?  Anyway, enjoy! and thank you for reading!

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

Appropriate skill set and ability to communicate
Compatibility with job/office
Chemistry

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

failure to follow directions
bad cover letter
missing information
poor hygiene
lack of eye contact
demonstration of poor judgment (in-person, on paper, or online)
referencing the wrong job

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

Grammar and spelling mistakes
“canned” statements (of any kind)
Generic statements of interest that could be about any job

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

Tell me why you are good for the job *and* why the job is good for you.

Also, if there is a hole in your resume (i.e., a time where you were unemployed) explain the gap, if you can. Otherwise I’m going to guess and that isn’t going to be good for either of us. I’m perfectly willing to hiring someone that took time off to have kids, take care of a spouse, take a mental vacation, whatever, but *very briefly* explain yourself

How many pages should a cover letter be?

√ Other: depends on the rest of the application packets; but concise is always 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?

√ Other: follow directions!

Should a resume/CV have an Objective statement?

√ No

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

√ Other: follow directions or as an attachment

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

Be…
Genuinely enthusiastic about the job
Knowledgeable about the organization and the position you applied for
Articulate representing yourself and your skills,
and, ask insightful questions about the job and the organization

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

Unprepared—they know nothing about the organization or the people that work there and they don’t know why they want to work there

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

We’ve tried to make it a more pleasant process for everyone involved. My goal is to find the right person for the right job.

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

Look me in the eye, smile, and tell me why this job/organization is right for you and why you’ll enjoy working here.

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Filed under 50-100 staff members, Original Survey, Other Organization or Library Type

I Really Admire People Who Can Speak Intelligently about Weaknesses and Past Mistakes

Poster, New York Public Library, n.d.

 

This anonymous interview is with a librarian who hires for a Special library and Archives.  This librarian has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring committee. The organization has 0-10 employees.

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

Enthusiasm, good communication and interpersonal skills, genuine knowledge of the institution (please know who I am, what we do, and what I’m interviewing you for!)

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

If I ask for an MLS or equivalent, please have one. Also, don’t try to lie about having library or technical experience in your application or to my face. Because I probably know more about that topic than you, and you’re probably not a good liar.

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

Objectives. They make it look like you have no applicable experience. Your objective should be for me to hire you, and I know that because you applied for the job.

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?

√ .pdf

Should a resume/CV have an Objective statement?

√ No

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

√ Other: We have a system. Don’t try to submit outside of the system, I won’t look at it

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

Have a personality. Show your sense of humor. Speak intelligently about pertinent topics related to the job. Relate past experiences to the questions I ask. Don’t be afraid to talk about mistakes you’ve made and how you’ve learned from them.

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

This may be weird, but I really admire people who can speak intelligently about weaknesses and past mistakes and use them as examples of acquired skills and knowledge. If I ask you about a misstep or a weakness, don’t BS me. If you can’t admit you aren’t perfect I don’t really want to work with you.

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

We have much higher demands for candidates, including an emphasis on presentations and/or real-life problem solving exercises.

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

If you are being interviewed, the search committee already likes you. Please remember that and try to relax! I see interviews as a platform for you to shine. I don’t WANT you to fail. Reveal some of your personality, I don’t want to work with boring people. Make me laugh. I’ve never hired someone who hasn’t made me laugh in an interview.

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Filed under 0-10 staff members, Archives, Original Survey, Special

Publications, Research, Professional Organizations, Conferences, Additional Professional Development

New York Public Library Central Information, n.d.

 

This anonymous interview is with an Academic librarian from a library with 10-50 staff members.  This librarian has been a hiring manager.

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

1. qualifications meet job requirements

2. engaged professionally; i.e. publications, research, professional organizations, conferences, additional professional development

3. professional enthusiasm

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

1. not having required credentials

2. not having professional experience

3. not being professional engaged

4. sloppy appearance

5. unable to clearly communicate, in resume, during interview

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

familiarity with technology. I expect it without question.

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

professional involvement, publications, research interests

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?

√ As an attachment only

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

with clear, articulate communication with direct eye contact and confidence

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

not being prepared, no eye contact, sloppy appearance, inability to articulate clear sentences

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

much more professional

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

know what is expected from the job posting

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