Tag Archives: library interview

Eye Contact, Confidence, and exceptional knowledge and understanding of the task at hand.

Librarian working at the Pointe Coupee Parish Parish library in New Roads Louisiana in 1936This anonymous interview is not with a librarian who has been a Recruiter. This person works at a Government Organization with 0-10 staff members.
What are the top three things you look for in a candidate?
A Master’s Degree in Library Science, Cataloging experience, and experience in an Academic or Federal Government environment.
Do you have any instant dealbreakers, either in the application packet or the interview process?
The Master’s Degree in this particular instance is a deal breaker.
What are you tired of seeing on resumes/in cover letters?
Hobbies.

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

 People often times leave off the “Skills” section of a resume. This can be used to easily showcase skills or experience that are relevant to each position. It’s a way to quickly tailor a resume.

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?

  •  .doc

Should a resume/CV have an Objective statement?

  • No

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

  • In the body of the email only
What’s the best way to win you over in an interview?
Eye Contact, Confidence, and exceptional knowledge and understanding of the task at hand.
What are some of the most common mistakes people make in an interview?
I think nerves often times come across as attitude or disinterest.
How has hiring changed at your organization since you’ve been in on the process?
Degrees are of much more importance than they once were.

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Filed under 0-10 staff members, Original Survey

It is still very much WHO you know not WHAT you know.

Christchurch libraryThis anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field), has been hired within the last two months, and has been looking for a new position for More than 18 months. This person is looking inAcademic library, Archives, Library vendor/service provider, Public library, School library, Special library at the following levels: Entry level , Requiring at least two years of experience. Here is this person’s experience with internships/volunteering:

3 years @ Melbourne Museum – Volunteering in Customer service, Library and Digitisation 6 month internship @ Melbourne Museum – Doing research in the Humanities department 1 month internship @ the Parliamentary Library, Canberra – worked in collection management, digitisation, databases and media services, customer service and coding.

This job hunter is in a Urban area in Australia/New Zealand and is willing to move Anywhere.

What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?

A good salary, professional development opportunities and career progression.

Where do you look for open positions? (e.g. ALA Joblist, professional listserv, LinkedIn)

Networking with people, attending library related events, Linkedin, ALIA job board, libraryjobs.com.au

Do you expect to see salary range listed in a job ad?

  • Yes, and it’s a red flag when it’s not

What’s your routine for preparing an application packet? How much time do you spend on it?

Anywhere from 1-2 days to a couple of hours each day through-out the week.

Have you ever stretched the truth, exaggerated, or lied on your resume, or at some other point during the hiring process?

  • Other: stretched the truth

When would you like employers to contact you?(Please select all that apply)

  • To acknowledge my application
  • To tell me if I have or have not been selected to move on to the interview stage
  • To follow-up after an interview
  • Once the position has been filled, even if it’s not me

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

  • Phone for good news, email for bad news

Which events during the interview/visit are most important to your assessment of the position (i.e. deciding if you want the job)?(Please check all that apply)

  • Tour of facility
  • Meeting department members/potential co-workers

What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?

Be clear in the position description about the responsibilities of the job. Be clear in the interview about the type of person/personality you are looking for the interview.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

It is still very much WHO you know not WHAT you know.

Do you have any comments, or are there any other questions you think we should add to this survey?

Good direct questions, easy to answer.

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Filed under Academic, Archives, Australia/New Zealand, Entry Level, Job hunter's survey, Public, School, Special, Urban area

I have a form that I follow to ensure fairness to candidates by checking off various aspects

 Interior of Townsville library, ca. 1948 This anonymous interview is with a librarian who has been a hiring manager (you are hiring people that you will directly or indirectly supervise). This person works at a a school library with 0-10 staff members.
What are the top three things you look for in a candidate?
1) Positive Attitude – a candidate that will be a pleasure to work with, one that won’t spread negativity around the workplace, things happen that we can’t prevent and having a positive attitude helps everyone work together to solve it
2) Life Long Learners – I want to hire someone that I feel is going to want to be challenged and not stagnate. Today’s world is changing rapidly, new technologies are emerging, the economy is changing. Libraries are always at risk of budget cuts, therefore I want a team that is going to strive to adapt to these changes, stay current with trends and ensure the survival of our library. Working with people who do not feel the desire to learn more, in my experience can be crippling. They tend to resist change and be satisfied with the library staying the exact same for decades. This is not what I’m interested in at all. I want a team that wants challenge.
3) Experience – This may be in the form of an educational background, volunteering, working, etc. whatever the case may be I don’t automatically dismiss candidates if they do not meet the educational requirements of a job. I want to look at the whole picture, what workshops, professional developments, webinars, and experiences do they bring? There are many free options available online that can help develop library and information resource skills. Formal education is an asset and definitely is something that I would consider absolutely essential for starter positions. Candidates may be in the process of completing their degree, so I know that they will bring the newest information to the job and that they are hard-workers if they’re tackling a new job as well as formal education. This is something I would definitely consider and look for in candidates.
Do you have any instant dealbreakers, either in the application packet or the interview process?
 Late to the interview, messy and disorganized looking, poor English language skills, swearing, etc. I think all the usual warning signs that this candidate isn’t going to be a good fit for a customer oriented position. Additionally, candidates that haven’t updated any of the skills in a long time. There are so many free resources online to learn about what’s new out there, to me, it’s inexcusable to not participate in any of these learning opportunities. Libraries are constantly under threats of budget cuts, and becoming obsolete. I don’t want to hire a staff member that is going to contribute to that.
What are you tired of seeing on resumes/in cover letters?
Listing your required tasks and duties on resumes – list your achievements and highlight the unique or challenging aspects of your previous jobs and volunteer experiences
Is there anything that people don’t put on their resumes that you wish they did?
I wish people would put more information about what latest technology and software they are experienced at using i.e. library management software, newest apps, educational resources, etc.

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?

  • .docx

Should a resume/CV have an Objective statement?

  • Yes

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?
Do your homework – know about what’s going on at our library Be personable and genuine – it’s going to lead to trouble sooner or later if a candidate is being dishonest about qualifications, skills or competencies

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

Being dishonest – Don’t tell me about skills you have or places that you have worked that aren’t true. I network constantly with librarians and educators in my field. It doesn’t take much effort for me to pick up the phone or send off an email to verify if what a candidate is saying is true. I’ve sadly caught candidates being dishonest about work experience, and qualifications this way. This will black list candidates in my books forever, how can I ever trust that person in the future?
How has hiring changed at your organization since you’ve been in on the process?
Extensively – I am the only one who does the hiring Previously there was no formal process for making candidate selections. Now I have a form that I follow to ensure fairness to candidates by checking off various aspects that we want to have covered
Anything else you’d like to let job-seekers know?
Be on time, be professional looking (overdressing is MUCH better than underdressing), share what exciting projects or tasks you’re working on currently (even if it’s not directly related to the job). I want to see your energy, what makes you excited and want to work hard.
Are there any other questions you think we should add to this survey?
Perhaps a question about the future of the library could be added, such as: Do you ask the candidate any questions related to what they see the library achieving in the future? I just think it’s so important to hire staff members that share goals with what your library is working towards accomplishing.

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Filed under 0-10 staff members, Original Survey

We are a Federal government GSA Contractor.

Librarian by Flickr user Super Furry LibrarianThis anonymous interview is with a hiring manager. This person works at a Federal Government Library with 0-10 staff members.

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

Experience, experience, experience

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

No.

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

NA

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

NA

How many pages should a cover letter be?

√ Only one!

How many pages should a resume/CV be?

√Preferably two, but no more than three and only when absolutely necessary.

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?

√I don’t care

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

NA

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

NA

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

NA

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

We are a Federal government GSA Contractor.

For some context, take a look at the most recently published summary of responses to this survey.

If you’re someone who has participated in hiring library workers, take this survey and share your viewpoint.

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Filed under 0-10 staff members, Original Survey

I have applied for many jobs and never even gotten a phone interview

PhC42.Bx17.Hunting.F13This anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field), has not been hired within the last two months, and has been looking for a new position for Less than six months. This person is looking in Academic libraries, Library vendors/service providers, Public libraries, and Special libraries, at the following levels: Requiring at least two years of experience, and Other: Anything I’m qualified for.  This job hunter is in an urban area, in the Midwestern US, and is willing to move anywhere.

What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?

Interesting and challenging work
To know my contributions are valued
Good pay

Where do you look for open positions?

LinkedIn
ALA Joblist
Higher Ed joblist
Library websites

Do you expect to see salary range listed in a job ad?

√ No (even if I might think it *should* be)

What’s your routine for preparing an application packet? How much time do you spend on it?

It depends. Sometimes hours are spent rewriting my resume and cover letter.

Have you ever stretched the truth, exaggerated, or lied on your resume, or at some other point during the hiring process?

√ No

When would you like employers to contact you?

√ To acknowledge my application
√ To tell me if I have or have not been selected to move on to the interview stage
√ Once the position has been filled, even if it’s not me

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Phone for good news, email for bad news

Which events during the interview/visit are most important to your assessment of the position (i.e. deciding if you want the job)?

√ Other:  I wouldn’t know. I have applied for many jobs and never even gotten a phone interview

What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?

I really don’t know anymore.

What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?

Contact everyone who applies with something other than a robo-email to acknowledge their application.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

You have to know someone who works there for them to pull your application out of the pile and be your advocate

For some context, take a look at the most recently published summary of responses.

Are you hunting for a new LIS job? Take the survey! http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibJOBHUNTERsurvey

This survey was co-authored by Naomi House from I Need A Library Job – Do you need one?  Check it out!

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Filed under Academic, Job hunter's survey, Midwestern US, Special, Urban area

sometimes the best employees come from outside a social circle of the Friends

This anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field), has not been hired within the last two months, and has been looking for a new position for Less than six months. This person is looking in Library vendors/service providers, Public libraries, School libraries, at the following levels: Requiring at least two years of experience, Supervisory, Department Head, Branch Manager. This new grad/entry level applicant has internship/volunteering experience:

I worked for 2 years in an academic library, specifically the computer labs and as an assistant to an art history professor with building a digital slide library. After graduating from college, I worked 16 months at one library, then 3 years at another – both working in teen services.

 This job hunter is in a rural area, in the Southern US and is willing to move anywhere.

What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?

Technology focus, rural setting, east coast

Where do you look for open positions?

State Library website

Do you expect to see salary range listed in a job ad?

√ Yes, and it’s a red flag when it’s not

What’s your routine for preparing an application packet? How much time do you spend on it?

Thirty minutes to an hour, depending on what the job is and how I want to present my information (research, updating info, etc)

Have you ever stretched the truth, exaggerated, or lied on your resume, or at some other point during the hiring process?

√ No

When would you like employers to contact you?

√ To acknowledge my application
√ To tell me if I have or have not been selected to move on to the interview stage
√ To follow-up after an interview
√ Once the position has been filled, even if it’s not me

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Phone for good news, email for bad news

Which events during the interview/visit are most important to your assessment of the position (i.e. deciding if you want the job)?

√ Tour of facility
√ Meeting department members/potential co-workers
√ Meeting with HR to talk about benefits/salary
√ Being able to present

What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?

Look beyond the community they serve; sometimes the best employees come from outside a social circle of the Friends and are often the most eager for the job.

What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?

Start with a tour of the facility!

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Being familiar with the area that you’re applying to, even if all you’ve heard is things via word-of-mouth. Show interest in the community you want to serve and give evidence why.

For some context, take a look at the most recently published summary of responses.

Are you hunting for a new LIS job? Take the survey! http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibJOBHUNTERsurvey

This survey was co-authored by Naomi House from I Need A Library Job – Do you need one?  Check it out!

Leave a comment

Filed under Job hunter's survey, Public, Rural area, Southern US, Special

I prefer to work with some of the newest and latest technology available

HUNTING TRIPThis anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field), has been hired within More than 18 months. This person is looking in Academic libraries, Archives, Library vendors/service providers, Public libraries, and Special libraries, at the following level: Entry level. This new grad/entry level applicant has internship/volunteering experience

I completed a research internship doing psychological research for 4 months. I spent 4 years doing toastmasters. I founded and was president of a group that did mental health promotion and created scholarships for people with mental illness. I did job shadowing in an emergency department for 4 months. I spent 3 years doing campus late night escort and crime watch volunteering. I taught science to elementary students for 4 months. I volunteered at an art gallery for 3 years.

This job hunter is in an urban area, in the  Canada and is willing to move anywhere.

What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?

I have five, and don’t think I can really summarize it in 3.

1) Challenging/Fulfilling work environment – I get bored very easily and need to work in a job where I’m constantly challenged, engaged, presented with new tasks, and given the ability to evolve. I don’t like easy work, sounds weird, but boredom is the death of me, as is sitting around doing nothing. It would also be a positive if there is time allocated for professional development.

2) Facilities/degree of development of facilities – I prefer to work with some of the newest and latest technology available. This preference goes hand in hand with my desire for challenging and fulfilling work. I always am reading or interested in learning about new developments, and think the job should be just as much a place to engage with new developments and technology as reading about them in an academic journal. I don’t like to work in antiquated facilities.

3) People – I really need to work with people who are friendly, enthusiastic, and for lack of a better word, really top of the line at what they do. I find people who are pessimistic, don’t try at their job, or who aren’t engaged in their profession to be very frustrating. These sort of people create a culture where “getting paid to do as little as possible is revered, which I think is often grounded in the perception that what you get out of a job is completely commensurate with the proportion of work you have to do per dollar you own. I may be biased in a way, but I do not like laziness, nor do I like it when people are doing something they are uninterested in, or dislike. I am not judging these type of people, but it’s contrary to my personality and to the atmosphere I feel most comfortable with in a job setting. For that reason, I find it preferable to work with enthusiastic, friendly people.

4) Travel – I like to travel, very simply. I would prefer a job where I wouldn’t have to come to the same place every day for the whole year. This includes going to meetings, going to presentation, professional development within a city, but getting to work in a dynamic environment. Basically, I like variety.

5) Money and benefits – Very straight forward.

Where do you look for open positions?

I tend to look for jobs via group LinkedIn groups or job postings. I’ve also gone to my alma mater’s job postings on their online career services. I tend to visit government websites as well, as they generally hire for a wide variety of skills, and I’m usually qualified for a subset of those jobs. The government of Canada is another great resource. For some positions, I ask friends directly about positions in their industry. I’ll often go to professional networking events as well, including local business and young professionals networking dinners. I also enjoy going to toastmasters, as you get a chance to showcase, personally and in an intimate setting, your skills. In addition you get to personally know potential employers or partners, or investors in a personal business.

Do you expect to see salary range listed in a job ad?

√ Other: Yes, creates transparency, and lays out employer and employee expectations, so as not to effect other aspects of the hiring process.

What’s your routine for preparing an application packet? How much time do you spend on it?

When I apply for a new job, I usually spend some time reading the companies website. Some of the things I look for are what projects the company is engaged in, the various locations the company may be operating in as I’m interested in travel or working in different locations. Another important thing I do is to get different views of the company by reading some web sites of the companies subsidiaries or alternative websites geared to a different population (business partners rather than the general public.)

Have you ever stretched the truth, exaggerated, or lied on your resume, or at some other point during the hiring process?

√ Yes

When would you like employers to contact you?

√ To acknowledge my application
√ To tell me if I have or have not been selected to move on to the interview stage
√ To follow-up after an interview
√ Once the position has been filled, even if it’s not me

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Email

Which events during the interview/visit are most important to your assessment of the position (i.e. deciding if you want the job)?

√ Tour of facility
√ Being taken out to meal
√ Meeting department members/potential co-workers
√ Meeting with HR to talk about benefits/salary
√ Being able to present

What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?

Post in depth descriptions of what they are looking for. I find many job postings are far too vague; many people possess similar or tangental skills but may have a slightly different degree or background. This lack of detail makes it difficult for people to know whether to apply or not, and what experiences they should include in their cover letter. It also makes the companies endeavors more vague, as it is far easier to extrapolate company culture. From detailed job responsibilities, skill requirements, etc. While at times, difficult, it would be nice to have employee accounts of company culture, or to have a couple of employees to talk to before an interview. Clearly stating on the application website that this is standard may increase the sense of trust, and certainty of correct fit for potential applicants.

What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?

Transparency is absolutely the biggest thing. Clear job expectations, and additional skills or training required to perform the job and any further responsibilities that may arise in the shorter term trajectory of a tenure with the company.

The preferable geographic locations of the work, and if there is any flexibility both in terms of geographic location as well as directly related to the workplace, things like ability to work from home, teleconferencing, the amount of travel required. This information may be helpful for a number of reasons; for example, if you are able to work from home, you may be able to do another job, as long as it doesn’t conflict with your work performance with the job you are applying for.

An understanding of the hiring process, even superficially explained, would be nice, in order to understand the process and to make appropriate decision in relation to our knowledge of how the process is playing out in our own individual situation. This is helpful for many reasons: planning personal events during the hiring process or whether to continue other work during the process.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Putting an effort in to really understand the company. Many of the behaviors and research into knowing whether a company is right for you, in terms of logistics, financial remuneration, work/life balance, company culture, nature of the work, etc. If you put in a great deal of effort to attain this information you will not only do a favor to yourself by making sure you find a job that is the right fit for you, but you will also show potential employers that you are interested and enthusiastic about their company. While skill is certainly an advantage in any situation, life is all about adapting and continually learning. One of the best attributes in my mind is an employee who is able to continually learn, put in the effort to stay at the top of their discipline. Many of these characteristics lead to a multi-disciplinary skill set that can be adapted to many different positions, and remain a valuable asset adapting to the changing requirements for the position they are initially hired for.

If you put this effort in, it is often flagrantly obvious to potential employers. The level of detail in the cover letter, the tailored CV which not only outlines strengths critical for the position and company at hand, but discusses many of the roles of the company, in terms of the roles and responsibilities, in addition to addressing, as I said earlier, how they fit those responsibilities. Finally, by attaining a depth of knowledge about the company before applying, you will, in your cover letter and CV, as I mentioned earlier, will be able to put the direct work responsibilities and your suitability for them in the context of the greater company picture. This shows ambition, and a keenness to adapt to a number of roles in the company, as well as work with people in other departments, divisions, and other members of a team which may have different skills.

For some context, take a look at the most recently published summary of responses.

Are you hunting for a new LIS job? Take the survey! http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibJOBHUNTERsurvey

This survey was co-authored by Naomi House from I Need A Library Job – Do you need one?  Check it out!

Leave a comment

Filed under Academic, Archives, Canada, Job hunter's survey