Tag Archives: Job interview

Further Questions: Traveling for interviews: who pays?

This week we asked people who hire librarians:

Traveling for interviews: who pays? Does your library pay for the interview expenses of a candidate such as airfare, hotel, meals, or mileage? Are candidates reimbursed or do you pay up front? Has anything changed in this realm due to the economy, such as a focus on local candidates, paying for travel but not meals, etc.?

Laurie PhillipsWe pay all of our candidates’ travel expenses. We book them in a hotel that the university has a relationship with, so they don’t see a bill at all. We will also book their plane ticket for them on the library’s credit card, if they would like us to do that, but will also reimburse if that works better. We are well aware that some candidates who are in graduate school may not have credit card space for their travel expenses – especially when they’re booking for a trip that’s somewhat last minute (booked only a week or two in advance). We reimburse for extra meals, mileage and airport parking. No, we have not changed anything due to the economy. We are faculty so we do national searches and will sometimes have local candidates, but that’s not a priority. We are permitted to interview 4 candidates on campus rather than 3 if one or more are local (costing less to the university), but we rarely do that because of the extra time commitment. We want to narrow to our three best possibilities.

– Laurie Phillips, Associate Dean for Technical Services, J. Edgar & Louise S. Monroe Library, Loyola University New Orleans

Petra MauerhoffAt our organization, we reimburse travel expenses for the successful candidate. We conduct the first round of interviews via Skype and then invite a very limited number of shortlisted candidates for a 2nd in-person interview. Travel expenses in our case include everything, from mileage to meals to accommodation.
We have been fortunate that candidates have no come from too far away.
– Petra Mauerhoff, CEO, Shortgrass Library System

Marleah AugustineIn recent years, we have not had the opportunity to pay for travel for candidates, nor do we have a policy in place. We have had candidates travel through on their own and visit the library when they submitted their application, and we have had candidates Skype or do phone interviews with us. We try to make those interviews as much like in-person interviews as we can.

– Marleah Augustine, Adult Department Librarian at Hays Public Library

Celia RabinowitzWe have always paid all travel, lodging, food, and incidental expenses for candidates regardless of their location. We pay for airline tickets up front and make hotel reservations so the candidate does not have to pay out of pocket. We can make rental car reservations but not pay for them so we reimburse for that, mileage, parking, etc.

The economy has not had an impact on faculty searches which are always advertised nationally. We have been lucky to be able to continue to search broadly and support candidates’ visits so that we can focus on hiring the best people.

– Celia Rabinowitz, Director of the Library, St. Mary’s College of Maryland

Thank you as always to our contributors for their time and insight.  If you’re someone who hires librarians and are interested in participating in this feature, please email us at hiringlibrariansquestionsATgmail.com.Thank YOU for reading!  If you liked reading, you’re going to really love COMMENTING.

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Filed under Further Questions

Stats and Graphs: The Tattooed Librarian Part II

It’s Staturday!

Today I’m continuing our discussion on Interviewing While Tattooed.

Of 237 responses to the What to Wear survey, 27 indicated that their library (or organization’s) dress code specifically forbade Visible Tattoos.  These respondents included people from all response categories for library type, region, and area type. 20 of the free responses specifically mentioned tattoos, most either to explain that they did not matter as long as the candidate was neat, clean, and professional, or to say that they were a negative.  Only 4 of those 20 mentions also had a dress code that forbade visible tattoos.

So 43, or 18.14% of responses, mentioned tattoos, either by ticking the box indicating their library forbade it’s employees to have visible tattoos, or by discussing them in a free response.

I’m going to quote below all of the free responses that include a mention of tattoos.  The ellipse indicates that the following is the same subject’s response to a different question.

I don’t think professionals (or people who wish to be taken seriously in a job interview) wear nose rings or other facial piercings, visible tattoos, large gauge ear jewelry, crazy hair colors, etc.  If you’re applying for a job at Hot Topic or your local tattoo place – any of those would be acceptable; but they are not appropriate for a library (or most other jobs).

Unless it’s completely, insanely over the top, I don’t judge much on fashion. Some of the most brilliant people I know are the worst dressers or have large tattoos or multiple earrings, etc.. While I don’t expect people to cover all that up, I do expect that when they come to a job interview, they are well-groomed and their clothes are neat, and I do expect that they dress, at a minimum, business casual. I don’t think it’s too much to ask for someone to thrown on a pair of khakis and iron their shirt. They can be a slob once they get the job.

Given the fact that we’re an academic library at a fairly conservative university, obvious tattoos and body piercings would most likely be an issue.  Professional attire would be expected.

The biggest thing is that it would be an indicator of how much homework they’ve done to see who we are.  I don’t think any of the items listed in this survey would be an indicator of ability to do a job or not do a job, neither do I think they indicate quality of character.  In our particular library, though, showing up with super casual dress and tats and piercings would show me that they hadn’t been interested enough in the position to learn about their potential place of employment.  Though some of us are personally much more liberal than our environment, when we’re here we respect the tone of the university overall.

[listing dealbreakers] Visible tattoos of any type.  Piercings of any type.  Really low scoop neck top.  A t-shirt.  Flip flops.  Most show disregard or disrespect.

Clothing can be a distraction and candidates should be aware of that. While the ideal is a place that looks beyond clothing and hair, this is often the first thing people will notice and candidates need to be aware of how they present themselves. Sometimes a less-than-ideal appearance isn’t important when a candidate has other excellent points for them such as a stellar presentation. Also, in some places, a candidate with wildly colored hair, tattoos, and facial piercings may fit right in with the culture. All of this depends on the overall culture of the place where the candidate is interviewing.

Depends on the position and branch location.  Someone with multicolored hair, and lots of tatts and piercings may not be a good fit for a rural branch, but would be unnoticed at our main urban branch.

no no no stilettos – heels are great but not stripper or clubbing shoes please!
take out facial piercings (nose, lips, eyebrows) for an interview.
lowcut or unbuttoned shirts that reveal tattoos are not for interviews. If you have ink on your legs wear opaque tights.

It really depends on the workplace – if you have time, check out the library and see what staff are wearing, and aim for a step or two above that level or formality. When in doubt, go more formal – you can always ditch the jacket/cardigan/ironic pearls once you’re there.

Don’t assume that because you’re interviewing for a children’s or a teen position you can throw formality out the window – yes, there is more latitude, but that’s not without limits.

Visible tattoos, facial piercings, etc., are not dealbreakers, but the interview is your chance to show folks (some of whom are going to be uncomfortable with such things) how “normal” you can present, and you should treat it as such.

I dont’ really care what people wear, but I want people to meet a minimum standard of cleanliness and neatness–plenty of people can do this with multiple piercings. And tattoos–you didn’t ask about those.

While I don’t care, I DO appreciate an outfit that isn’t over the top but that does show personality. There are people who manage to convey something about themselves without demanding that all of the attention be on them.

 The more the tattoos and piercings the more important to dress very professionally.

I cannot stand looking at people with piercings anywhere other than small earpiercings (no gauges).  I would never hire someone with a nose ring, eyebrow ring, and especially not a pierced tongue.   I am also very turned off by tattoos although I know a lot of professionals have them.  I hope they have the sense to cover them up for interviews, though.

I work in a corporate environment with a pretty formal dress code. If a candidate wears something too informal, it signals to me that he or she doesn’t understand the nuances of corporate versus nonprofit culture.

However, at my company we value a diverse workforce. This means I am not picky about people who may have piercings, dyed hair, tattoos, etc. Dressing formally is not at odds with this, in my opinion.

It’s not so much what they wear as how they present themselves. If you wear a suit but it’s rather sloppy, I’d rather see you in something a little less formal that you can pull off and feel confident wearing. I work at a state university but in a liberal town, so we’re more accepting of colored hair, piercings, and tattoos BUT, in general, it’s a good idea to tone it down just a little when interviewing.

I like to see someone who is dressed like they’re ready to work. Look clean, neat and show some of your personality. While I personally, don’t mind pink hair, piercings and tattoos, I have to think of our library user base who just might have an issue with trying to interact with a staff member who may seem “distracting” or “unprofessional.” I myself have 5 tattoos, none of which were seen my first few years at my current library. Over time, once people grew to know me and learned about my skills and professionalism, some of the tattoos started to be shown. Now, as Head Librarian, they will all be shown on an unusually hot day. BUT, they will still never appear in front of Trustees, Donors, etc…Be yourself, but you have to be realistic too!

Too MUCH Cleavage! One young, new librarian showed up at an interview with about 5″ of cleavage hanging out…I mean it was horrifying as I kept waiting for one to pop out of her too tight shirt.

Open toe sandals are a deal breaker for me as are flip flops and goes without saying jeans (though I’ve seen them worn). And anything showing off the candidates tattoos – these are too distracting during an interview.

Too casual – t-shirt and shorts. I would perceive a woman wearing a low cut blouse as trying to use sex appeal to get the job (I’m female, by the way).  Anything that is distracting around the face – noticeable tattoos, big, noisy, earrings, facial jewelry, such as tongue or cheek piercings would negatively influence my perception of them, even if they interviewed well. But it might be my age (47) and general conservative attitude towards dress.

Dirty, stained clothes would be a deal breaker.  Also, anything too odd or unusual.  I once interviewed a woman who wore a hat with a fake bird nest (complete with rumpled bird) on it.  I couldn’t hear a thing she said because the hat distracted me so much!  On the other hand, one of the best teen services librarians I ever hired came complete with a nose ring and  an “I ❤ the Dewey Decimal System” tattoo.  Personality makes all the difference!

My tattooed teen services librarian really nailed the interview.  He came full of enthusiasm and ideas about ways to interest teens in the library. It was clear he had thought about the job and really wanted to reach teens. He was respectful but energetic at the same time.  Just a dynamo!

Prefer that job candidates don’t have visible tattoos or piercings other than for earrings.
Too short skirts or too much cleavage revealed is a no-no. No flip flops or short shorts.
For men–no sandals.
Something dressier than jeans or t-shirts for both sexes.
No hats or caps during the interview.

extreme piercings or tattoos put me off

Neutral colors, usually all black, dress shirt and slacks, with a nice shoe. I have a nose ring, an eyebrow ring, gauged ears and tattoos in visible places, which I do not hide during the interview. I’ve learned the hard way that if someone is going to judge me based on my appearance, rather than on my work experience, talents, passions, and performance, then I’d rather not work for those kinds of people/ organizations anyway.

The questions seem more geared toward what women and alternative-type people would wear.
Is there the same concern over someone showing up to an interview wearing the traditional garb of a hasidic jew, the headdress of a hindi sikh, the muslim woman’s hijab, a male’s sarong, dhoti, chola, caftan, kanga or lungi skirt, the traditional facial piercings still found in India, Persia and Thailand, the traditional ritual facial scarification patterns or tooth modifications of sub-Saharan African cultures, or the traditional tribal face tattoos of Polynesian islanders, as there is towards westerners with tattoos, body piercings, unusual hair styles or dress? If not, our attitudes about dress and appearance are very likely discriminatory.

Since only a few select candidates are ever invited to an in-person interview, we expect them to be professionally dressed. I doubt anyone would be eliminated from the pool based on outfit alone, but t-shirts, jeans, visible tattoos, multiple piercings, etc would not go over well.

showing tats, inappropriate outfits suited to leisure @ home or weekend picnics. Professional and business professional is the rule for interviews, always!

Tune in tomorrow, when I’ll be polling YOU the reader about your tattoos and tattoo behavior.

The other two posts in this series are here and here.  One of those links will not be live until 06/23/2013 at 8AM.


Filed under Interviewing while Tattooed, Stats and Graphs

Have You Voted? Courtney Young Talks about Hiring Librarians

It’s election time!  ALA presidential candidate Courtney Young has graciously agreed answer a few questions about their thoughts on ALA’s role in library hiring. Voting is open now through April 26th. Visit this page for more details.

courtney young

 Courtney Young is currently the Head Librarian and Associate Professor of Women’s Studies at Pennsylvania State University’s, Greater Allegheny Campus.  She earned her MLIS from Simmons in 1997. Ms. Young has demonstrated her leadership and commitment to the profession as a current member of ALA council, past president of the NMRT, and as one of Library Journal’s Movers and Shakers.  Her focus, if elected ALA president, would particularly be on diversity, career development, and engagement & outreach.  As for her thoughts on Hiring Librarians, I’ll let her tell you in her own words:

In broad strokes, what do you think the ALA’s role is in library hiring and employment?

This is a challenging, but crucial and frequently asked question. ALA works to attract people to the profession by getting scholarship sponsors for programs like Spectrum and by accrediting LIS programs so that students are graduating with the skills they need to be competitive. ALA advocates for libraries, and those advocacy activities ensure we will have libraries of all types to employ librarians. Informally, but perhaps, most importantly, it provides tremendous networking opportunities for those who actively participate in the work of the association. That, right there, is worth the price of admission. There are some things ALA cannot do–the association is not a job creator although it does employ many librarians. Something I would like to see more of from ALA: more training and other HR support for managers who are hiring, such as how to apply guidelines and best practices for creating job descriptions, advertising positions and conducting interviews. The association does some of this but could do more. 

How can ALA serve unemployed librarians?  Please name specific programs or services that exist, or that you would like to see enacted. 

ALA has a real opportunity when it comes to unemployed and underemployed librarians and should continue to be mission-focused in this area. A category of personal membership includes “Non-Salaried or Unemployed Regular Members” at a rate of $46 per year. This category “[i]ncludes librarians earning less than $25,000 per year or not currently employed.  In a difficult economy this dues category can be helpful for those in career transition or for those just beginning their careers.” We want those who are struggling and seeking employment to stay active and engaged members, especially given the increased opportunities for professional development online. 

The mission of ALA’s Office for Human Resource Development and Recruitment (HRDR) is to “facilitate the development of librarianship as a profession.” HRDR’s programmatic priorities and services include training and development, career development, selection and staffing, recruitment for library & information sciences careers, organizational development, and human resource management. HRDR has the potential to develop more strategic initiatives in these areas, which fits into my proposed presidential initiative related to career development. I’m excited about what we can do together.  

An ALA member contacted me in 2011 about writing a resolution to do something for librarians who were furloughed or permanently unemployed. As we corresponded it became clear to me that what we really needed was to highlight resources and services already available from the Association as well as the need for more creative and collaborative thinking around an ALA-wide resource for members who are job seekers. Finally, ALA could collaborate more with state and local library associations to provide resources and advocacy for unemployed and underemployed librarians. 

How can ALA support library students in order to help them be best situated for future employment?  Please name specific programs or services that exist, or that you would like to see enacted.

This is where ALA absolutely shines! New Members Round Table (NMRT) is a vital piece of ALA for those new to the field.  NMRT offers the Resume Review Service (on-site at Midwinter and Annual for all ALA members; year-round via email for NMRT members), conference mentoring, and career mentoring. NMRT also provides opportunities for library school students to attend conference through the Student Chapter of the Year Award and hosting the Student Chapter Reception during the Annual Conference. It’s also, arguably, one of the strongest units for networking and models how to effectively work in an organization. 

I have to put in a plug for the ALA Chapter Relations Office and Don Wood’s role with the Student Chapters listserv. Don does a fantastic job in communicating with affiliated student groups and ensures that they feel like real ALA members. The ALA Student-to-Staff program is another great initiative. Forty library school students are selected to work with ALA staff during the Annual Conference. Program participants receive free conference registration, housing, and a per diem for meals. The Association also provides numerous scholarships for students, most notably, Spectrum. 

What do you think is the secret to getting hired by a library? 

I do not think there are secrets per se. Keep your resume up-to-date. Make use of mentoring opportunities provided by ALA, its divisions and round tables. Use contacts you make within ALA as part of your professional network. Networking can be vital to getting hired, especially when it comes to selecting appropriate professionals to serve as a reference. Following directions in the application process goes a long way. I always suggest applying for the jobs you really want, rather than applying for every advertised position. Spend more time on fewer cover letters or packets to produce a better, targeted application. One thing I have found is that our profession is smaller than you think. Little things in the application process like sending a thank you note (either handwritten or via email), whether or not you are the successful candidate, can be to your benefit in the future. Most of all, be confident. 

Any advice for people who are currently job hunting – whether for their first job, or just for the next step in their career? 

Hang in there! You will be successful. I encourage every librarian and library school student I mentor to stay optimistic. Be patient both with the job hunt process and with yourself. Most importantly, remember that you are not alone in this process. Use your network to get the help and support you need. This includes working with a career mentor or two, telling people you are looking for a job, and taking advantage of face-to-face and online career development opportunities through ALA, your state library association, even your library school. 

Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers about ALA or your candidacy? 

Even though my primary role is as a library manager, I am still very much a front-line librarian; still very much in touch, on a real and daily basis, with issues that are both dear and typical to many members. 

One of the great joys of my position involves my work with the University of Pittsburgh’s Partners Program. Through the program, I interview, hire, and mentor a library school student for three semesters. Last year I successfully advocated for the internship stipend to be doubled, because we value the contribution of these students and are committed to giving back to the profession.

Career development is a major component of my platform. Keeping librarians current and equipped to serve their communities is one of the key roles of the association. Toward fulfilling this role, ALA must strive to be a leader in providing high quality, affordable, timely, and accessible professional development opportunities. I also envision ALA as a major hub that supports and facilitates substantive interactions: networking, conversation, collaboration, and learning.

I’d like to thank Ms. Young for taking the time to answer my questions! I encourage you to visit her website, or to use the comments section to ask any questions you might have. Most of all though, I encourage you to make your voice heard and VOTE!

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Filed under Elections/Candidates

Further Questions: What can recent grads do to make themselves more appealing to employers?

This question is from the reader who asked a series of six questions back in December/January, beginning with Further Questions: How Does the Initial Selection Work?

This week I asked people who hire librarians:

What can recent grads do to make themselves more appealing to employers? What is the most productive way to spend your pre-employment unemployment?

Volunteering in a local library.  It provides a needed service, gives experience, and provides a source of recommendations.Subscribe to e-lists, e.g., Autocat if a cataloguer.
– J. McRee (Mac) Elrod, Special Libraries Catalouging

Marleah AugustineIf you can track down a volunteer position in a library (any library), that helps. From my experience hiring support staff, it’s nice to see regular patrons apply for jobs within the library. For that time between graduation and employment, it helps also to stay up with current events in the library field. Sometimes questions like that come up in an interview, or you can name-drop something relelvant in the field. Read blogs, Library Journal, etc. If it fits within your budget, go to a library conference (state, regional) and network with folks there. My director always says that the most valuable part of any conference he’s been to is the connections he makes with other people and the conversations that happen between the planned sessions.

– Marleah Augustine, Adult Department Librarian at Hays Public Library

Christine Hage - Dark backgroundThe most productive thing a person can do before they graduate is to get some experience.  Work as a substitute librarian if you can get a position.  Work at a library circ desk.  Volunteer at the library to do anything.  What you want is to be able to say you have library experience when you interview.

Frankly, when I’m interviewing for Librarian I’s I prefer if they are fresh out of school.  I can train them “my way”.  Also new grads have fresher skills (web user interface, web design, natives to mobile devices, etc.).  New grads can be helpful in training more experienced  staff about new techniques in information technology.

At the job interview make sure you can show the relevance of your work experience and schooling to the job at hand.  Don’t be afraid to say things like “I can’t wait to be a real librarian and to put into practice my fresh degree and recent experience.”  Your enthusiasm can be a real plus in the job interview situation.

– Christine Hage, Director, Rochester Hills Public Library
Join the local chapter of your Library Association, e.g. SLA and become involved. Attend meetings, join a committee. ACT AS IF you were working. Become a contributing member of the local library community. You have to show up and let people see your face. They will be more likely to hire you if they know you.
– Jaye Lapachet, Manager of Library Services, Coblentz, Patch, Duffy & Bass LLP

Thank you as always to our contributors for their time and insight.  If you’re someone who hires librarians and are interested in participating in this feature, please contact me.

Thank YOU for reading!  If you can comment here, you can comment anywhere.


Filed under Academic, Further Questions, Law Library, Other Organization or Library Type, Public

Job Hunter’s Web Guide: Librarian Hire Fashion

Here’s another profile with someone who’s been a contributor to Hiring Librarians. Librarian Hire Fashion‘s creator, Jill, is also the co-author of the What Should Candidates Wear survey.  Her site is really a great idea – and you can help develop it!

Librarian Hire Fashion

What is your website all about?  Please give us your elevator speech!

Knowing what to wear to a job interview can be stressful because people are judged by how they look. I want to give people a visual collection of what others wore to interviews that resulted in job offers. By seeing successful options, people can make more informed decisions. I lack submissions of interview outfits, so most of the posts are photos from daily fashion bloggers that I use as discussion points. I hope that eventually more people will submit what they wore to interviews that resulted in job offers.

When was it started?  Why was it started?

Librarian Hire Fashion was started in March 2012 because I wanted pictures of what to wear to my job interviews, but couldn’t find any on the internet.

Who runs it?

I do. I am less than a year into my first full-time, permanent library position. Before that I either volunteered in libraries or worked part-time, temporary positions. Before that, I traveled around the United States working seasonal non-library jobs. I have an MLIS, a BA in Music and Spanish, and a hobby of studying the interactions between people and clothing.

Are you a “career expert”? What are your qualifications?

Nope. No official qualifications, unless having a hobby of studying how what we wear affects how we think of ourselves and how others think of us counts.

Who is your target audience?

My target audience is anyone in the library-type fields who is looking for a job.

What’s the best way to use your site?  Should users consult it daily?  Or as needed? Should they already know what they need help with, or can they just noodle around?

I update the site with one post weekly, usually on the weekends. Because of the limitations of Tumblr and because I haven’t put enough work into creating cohesive tags, the best thing to do is browse. Because most bloggers are women, most of the pictures are of women, but I try to include anything I can find for men.

Does your site provide:

√ Links    √ The opportunity for interaction
√ Other (Please Specify): Interview Clothing

Do you charge for anything on your site?


JillHamesAnything else you’d like to share with my readers about your site in particular, or about library hiring/job hunting in general?

Please submit your photos of what you wore to interviews that resulted in a job offer. Men, we need you, too! Polyvores or other representations are also helpful if you don’t want to post a photo of yourself. Together, we can help each other feel more confident in job interviews.

If you’ve got questions for Jill about Librarian Hire Fashion, please go ahead and put’em in the comments section.

If you run a job or career website for librarians (and archivists and info professionals etc. etc.), and you want to share it here, get in touch with me at hiringlibrariansATgmail.

Thanks for reading!

*edited 4/27/2012 to fix typo


Filed under Job Hunters Web Guide

Even with a High Number of Applicants, It Can Be Difficult to Find Someone Who Meets All the Requirements

Korean librarians visit Yongsan Library


This anonymous interview is with an Academic 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?

Specific, relevant experience, flexibility and enthusiasm for the profession

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

Spelling or grammatical or punctuation errors in documents, resume and/or cover letter that is not written specifically for the job, lackluster demeanor during interview, badmouthing a former employer or boss and not following application instructions. Also not recommended: pestering the hiring manager with multiple phone calls or emails.

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

Objectives, especially when they say that the applicant is interested in the job he/she is applying for. I already know that! A profile or summary is a better way to start the resume.

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

Specific information relative to the job and why the applicant would excel in the job. Convince me!

How many pages should a cover letter be?

√ Only one!

How many pages should a resume/CV be?

√ Other: No more than two for a resume, a CV can be much longer.

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?

Show me that you have given thought as to how you would perform in the job, or I will think you are applying to anything and everything. Show me that you have a passion for what you do. Participation in professional activities and organizations – not just membership – shows a commitment to the profession. Teaching or instruction or public speaking skills and experience are always a plus.

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

Assuming that they can bluff their way through without doing their homework about the employer and the job. Expecting to be offered a position fresh out of school that requires years of experience.

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

There is a much greater number of applicants for each opening, but many don’t even meet minimum requirements. Even with a high number of applicants, it can be difficult to find someone who meets all the requirements and is a good fit.

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

Entitlement can hurt you when you are job hunting and after you get hired. You are not entitled to anything. Blaming and negative-ing and complaining can also hurt you professionally In order to succeed you will have to work hard, constantly, for the rest of your career. Build your network, do everything you cannot to burn bridges. Selfish behavior will eventually catch up with you. Don’t expect to get a job and stay there for years and years, let along the rest of your career – that’s just not the way things work anymore.

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

Don’t Be Ashamed of Your Age or the Length of Your Career

John Rouse librarian


This anonymous interview is with a librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring committee at a Special Library with 0-10 employees.

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

1 – Attention to detail, including grammar
2 – Eye contact (in person)
3 – Tailored cover letter/resume

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

Application packet:
Poor grammar / doesn’t spell my name right
Cover letter boasts of skills clearly not needed in the job

Poor eye contact/ interpersonal skills

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

Recently I’m seeing education degrees listed with no dates given. Don’t be ashamed of your age or length of your career, it’s worse when you try to hide it.
Tired of seeing Objectives that say they want a job in my organization. Not true. You want a job. Skip the Objective if you have nothing broader to say.

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

Oftentimes, they skip what software they have experience with and I’d like to see that.

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?

√ I don’t care

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

Be confident of your skills but not cocky.
Listen as well as talk.
Match your relevant experience to my questions, even if the experience is pre-MLS.
Tell me how you can help me, what skills you have that will make us more successful.
Ask at least one or two questions about the position or the work environment to show me you’re thinking about it seriously.

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

Answers are too brief.
No eye contact.
No understanding of the context of the job.

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