Tag Archives: jobs

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

Put in Some Effort!

John Russell Young, 7th Librarian of Congress, ca. 1897

 

 

This anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a member of a hiring committee. This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members.

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

Enthusiasm, Intelligence, Desire

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

No, except the obvious: appearance, lack of insight.

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

why the job would be good for you.

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

I wish they all would understand that they need to submit a resume and cover letter, not just the application provided.

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?

Humor, poise, professional.

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

not understanding the position they are applying for. Underselling themselves.

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

More organized and equal. Also put in a 1-5 scale for rating answers.

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

put in some effort!

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

They Integrate What They Learn Early on in the Interview as They Progress

Folger Shakespeare Library, ca. 1932-1950, from the collection of Cornell University

 

 

This anonymous interview is with an Academic librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring committee.This person works at a library with 50-100 staff members.

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

Positive attitude
Paying attention – do they integrate what they learn early on in the interview as they progress through the various steps?
Thoughtful, honest answers

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

No, but I get very annoyed when someone doesn’t address ALL of the job requirements from the posting in the cover letter or CV.

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

Objective statements. You want a job, I know, that’s why you’re applying.

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

Something pertaining to the more abstract ideas in the job posting (if I ask for someone who deals well with change, give me an explicit example).

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?

√ .pdf

Should a resume/CV have an Objective statement?

√ No

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

√ We don’t accept email applications

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

Ask lots of good questions, make sure you address the full question, be honest. And show a little of your humor!

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

Not being comfortable with the choices they make – if you want to use Prezi for your presentation, make sure it’s seamless. Or powerpoint, for that matter. And giving different answers to different groups based on what you think we want to hear – we DO talk to each other.

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

We have become much less brutal, and tried to turn the interview into a learning experience for everyone.

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

Please be sure that you are qualified for a job before you apply – even if you’re not experienced, talk about how your experience will help you do the job. THAT is what I want!

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

We Have Very Little Turnover with Full-Time Staff

A librarian and a teacher, New Ulm Minnesota, 1974

 

This anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a hiring manager.  This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members.

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

Cheerful attitude, enthusiasm for librarianship, stellar customer service skills

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

Failure to follow directions

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

“would like to work in a quiet atmosphere like the library” !!!

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

Why they got into librarianship in the first place

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?

√ 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?

to smile and be enthusiastic

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

not asking questions
assuming libraries are quiet places
assuming that because they were teachers, they would be a good fit in a library

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

We have very little turnover with full-time staff and lots of turnover with part-time staff. We also have a lot of full-time staff facing retirement in the next 5-10 years.

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

Enthusiasm matters more than library experience. And customer service anywhere is important.

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

Thoroughly and Thoughtfully Answer Questions

John Cotton Dana, ca. 1910-1915

This anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring committee.  This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members.

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

Education level. Demonstrated ability to be a self-starter. Library experience.

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

Misspelling; poor grammar. Candidate qualifications obviously don’t match stated requirements. Unexplained gaps in employment record, unexplained short job durations. Unkempt appearance.

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?

√ I don’t care

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

Thoroughly and thoughtfully answer questions.

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

Don’t leave obvious questions I’ll draw from anomalies (unexplained gaps in work record, why candidate is applying for a job for which they are obviously under/overqualified) in their resume.

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

I don’t Think Objectives are Necessary or Useful

Brian Hunter, 1984, Asst Librarian, Slavonic Collections, London School of Economics

This anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a member of a hiring committee.  This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members.

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

Enthusiasm, Creativity and good skills set

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

Someone with no library experience who doesn’t indicate why they want to switch paths or why the position is something I should consider them for. I just recently received an application packet for a youth services position from a person who just graduated with a degree in engineering. There was no cover letter & no indication in their email as to why they were applying or why I should consider them. I feel like this kind of application get rejected because it seems this is someone just applying for any job and that they are not necessarily interested in the job I am offering.

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

I don’t think objectives are necessary or useful. Job histories that go back too far and include non-relevant jobs.

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

Professional activity & volunteer positions.

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?

√ 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 me that you are enthusiastic about the job I am offering and that you really want to work for MY library. Excitement and enthusiasm for the position really go a long way.

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

Not making eye contact, being unprepared, not being enthusiastic.

 

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