Tag Archives: interviews

Now We Are Three (Months): Interview Questions Repository

The Interview Questions Repository is three months old!  149 people have clicked through to share questions they were asked in a recent library interview.

If *you’ve* had a library interview recently, help this resource grow by reporting the questions you were asked:

http://tinyurl.com/interviewquestionsform

or by sharing this link widely with your friends and colleagues.

If you are about to go on an interview, use the spreadsheet:

http://tinyurl.com/InterviewQuestionsRepository

to help you prepare.

Top tip: Switch the spreadsheet to list view, in order to be able to limit by answers – you can choose to only look at the phone interviews at public libraries, for example.

Bottom tip: For respondents, you should be able to edit your answers, if you think of something to add, etc.

You will also always be able to find these links in the sidebar to your right —>

If you’d like to respond to any other surveys, or otherwise participate in this blog,

this page

will give you links and options.

Thanks for reading, readers!  Thanks for contributing, contributors!

Mr Simpson talks to an unidentified Chinese family

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Make Me Believe You Will Keep That Enthusiasm for at Least a Few Years

Cornelia Maria Clapp (1849-1934)

 

 

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 10-50 staff members. 
What are the top three things you look for in a candidate?

Enthusiasm
Positive personality
Profesionalism

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

Sloppy application
Cockiness
Lethargy

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

…references available upon request…
…unique combination of my education and work experience…

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

Yes, the reason why they want the job they are applying for.

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?

Show me that you really want this job and make me believe you will keep that enthusiasm for at least a few years.

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

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

Update: Interview Questions Repository

The Interview Questions Repository is one month and one week old!  124 people have clicked through to share questions they were asked in a recent library interview.

If *you’ve* had a library interview recently, help this resource grow by reporting the questions you were asked:

http://tinyurl.com/interviewquestionsform

or by sharing this link widely with your friends and colleagues.

If you are about to go on an interview, use the spreadsheet:

http://tinyurl.com/InterviewQuestionsRepository

to help you prepare.

Top tip: Switch the spreadsheet to list view, in order to be able to limit by answers – you can choose to only look at the phone interviews at public libraries, for example.

Bottom tip: For respondents, you should be able to edit your answers, if you think of something to add, etc.

You will also always be able to find these links in the sidebar to your right ———>

If you’d like to respond to any other surveys, or otherwise participate in this blog,

this page

will give you links and options.

Thanks for reading, readers!  Thanks for contributing, contributors!

E. H. Elam, interviewer for the TVA, making personal interviews at Stiner's Store, Lead Mine Bend, Tennessee, with applicants for work on Norris Dam, November 1933

2 Comments

Filed under News and Administration

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

New Survey: Interview Questions “Database” (aka Interview Questions Repository)

Hey look, a new survey! (kind-of)

A few months ago there was a LinkedIn discussion about interview questions, and someone, possibly even me, suggested that it would be a good idea to put together a database where people could share questions they were asked at interviews.**

Well, here it is.

You’ll notice that 1) it’s not a database, it’s a spreadsheet and 2) no one has shared any questions yet.  more than 60 people have shared questions! Hopefully you can work with the first and change the second. increase the second.

Top Tip: Switch the spreadsheet to list view, in order to be able to limit by answers – you can choose to only look at the phone interviews at public libraries, for example.

If you have recently been interviewed, or if in the future you go on and interview, or even answer some supplemental questions, please go to the

Library Interview Questions Form,

and let us know what you were asked.  As it says on the form, please of course conform to any confidentiality agreements your potential employer put in place with you.

If you are going on an interview, eventually

the spreadsheet

will be a place to help you prepare.

Aviatrix Jean Batten being interviewed after her flight from England to Australia, State Library of Queensland

**If I was not the person that had this idea, if you were the person who had this idea, thank you, and I hope this is ok.

***Text in green was added in on 3/13/2013 at 5:47 PM

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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

It Would Not Be the Deciding Factor

Interview outfit by Flickr user everyplaceThis anonymous interview is with an Academic librarian from a city/town in the Northeastern US.  This person works at a library with 10-50 staff members and has been a member of a hiring or search committee.

What Candidates Should Wear

Should the candidate wear a suit to the interview?

√ Probably, yes (but it’s ok if the candidate wears something a little less formal)

An outfit with a coordinated blazer and trousers:

√ Counts as a suit

Bare arms are inappropriate in an interview, even in the summer.

√ False

If a woman wears a skirt to an interview, should she also wear pantyhose?

√ Other: Yes but it’s not a dealbreaker

Women should wear make-up to an interview:

√ I don’t care, as long as it’s not over-the-top

Do you expect different levels of formality of dress, depending on the position you’re hiring for?

√ Yes, the higher the position, the more formal I expect the candidate to dress

Which jewelry may candidates wear: (Please select all that are acceptable)

√ Single, simple necklace, bracelet, and/or ring
√ A few simple necklaces, bracelets, and/or rings
√ Earrings
√ Multiple Ear Piercings
√ Large gauge ear jewelry (stretched ears)

Which hair colors are acceptable for candidates:

√ All of them, even pink

The way a candidate dresses should:

√ Be fairly neutral

How does what a candidate wears affect your hiring decision?

It may influence somewhat, but only if it’s part of their whole presentation. It would not be the deciding factor.

What This Library Wears

How do you dress when you are going to conduct an interview?

pants and jacket.

On a scale of one (too dressed up for my workplace) to five (too casual), khakis and a polo shirt are:

3

What’s the dress code at your library/organization?

√ Business casual

Are there any specific items of clothing, etc. that are forbidden by your dress code? Please check all that apply

√ Other: Don’t know

This survey was co-authored by Jill of Librarian Hire Fashion – submit your interview outfit to her blog!

Photo: Interview outfit by Flickr user everyplace

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Filed under 10-50 staff members, Academic, City/town, Northeastern US, What Should Candidates Wear?