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Further Questions: How are Oral Boards or Search/Hiring Committees Formed?

This week I asked people who hire librarians:

When hiring, what committees are formed at your library? Do you use an oral board, a search committee, and/or a hiring committee?  How are the members chosen? What do they do and who are they accountable to?

Laurie PhillipsAt our library, we have a search committee and we always do national searches. The supervisor of the new hire is always the chair. Other people are usually chosen from the librarians (or staff, in some cases) who will work most closely with the person and one person from outside the new hire’s main area. We have been trying to keep membership to 4-5 people to facilitate scheduling so we don’t get bogged down. Members of the search committee help write the ad, set the guidelines for reviewing applications, review the applications, choose candidates to move forward at each step, call references, and participate in hosting the candidate on campus. The search committee comes to a consensus decision then makes a recommendation to the Dean of Libraries.

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

Samantha Thompson-FranklinAt our library, we use search committees. The members of the committee are chosen by the library director and are accountable to that person. After reviewing applications and interviewing candidates, the search committee makes a hiring recommendation to the library director who then forwards that recommendation on to the Academic Dean (to whom the library director reports).  The Academic Dean is the one who formally hires the candidate and sends out the letter of hire, based upon the recommendation of the search committee and the library director.

– Samantha Thompson-Franklin, Associate Professor/Collections & Acquisitions Librarian, Lewis-Clark State College Library

Cathi AllowayAt Schlow Centre Region Library, we have a small committee that usually includes one “outsider”, esp. when we have internal candidates. This is a usually the local government HR person, or a retired librarian from an academic library.  The retirees are people who share our vision and passion and understand the kind of person we are seeking.  We usually have 3-4 on the committee.

– Catherine Alloway, Director, Schlow Centre Region Library

We use search committees but committee members are all approved by the dean. The chair of the search committee is the department head and generally selects the committee members. We also typically have the assistant dean for the division on the search committee, one person from the department, and two people from outside of the division. Of the two from outside the division, one of them may be from outside of the library depending on how much interaction the person will have with faculty.

Every search committee is responsible for reviewing applicant application materials, selecting who to phone interview and who will come to campus for in person interviews. The dean approves the in person interviews. The search committee make a recommendation to the dean on the candidate the library should hire. The dean will either approve or ask the search committee to recommend a different candidate.

The libraries as a whole are accountable to Equity and Diversity and our Human Resources for the university as a whole when hiring.

– Julie Leuzinger, Department Head, Eagle Commons Library, University of North Texas Libraries

Marge Loch WoutersWe use a hiring committee at our medium size public library. The manager filling the position does all of the initial work in reading resumes, designing and setting a rubric for essay questions/answers and selecting interview pool. Then we convene the hiring committee for the actual interview process. We look for insightful members who look at candidates from multiple perspectives. You don’t have to be a children’s librarian to recognize positives or negatives in behavior, philosophy or expressed knowledge. But a sharp set of minds on a team bring that valued multi-layered perspective that has saved me from myself more times than I can say!

I usually include our HR/business manager and either the head of reference who is smarter than a whip or our system director. They contribute interview questions and we all conduct the interviews together. After each interview we discuss the candidate briefly and then have a longer final meeting to rank our candidates. Then we go out to eat when our selected candidate accepts!

– Marge Loch-Wouters, Youth Services Coordinator, La Crosse (WI) Public Library

We are a small library, so our hiring committees may be different from others responding this week.  Hiring committees tend to be 3 people; our Management Team has only seven members, and only four (plus the director) actually oversee staff.  So, any three of those five are generally the first approached to be on a hiring committee.  There are also a few other positions in the library that have served on hiring committees: the circulation head’s assistant and my assistant position have participated in hiring for those specific departments.  We also have a part-time staff member in technical services who used to be our circulation head, and she will sometimes serve on those committees.

For an open Management Team position, all remaining Management members participate in the process.  Hiring committees for entry-level circ and shelving positions have been made with only 2 people.

All members of any given hiring committee are active in the entire process, which usually includes reviewing applications and cover letters/resumes, optional phone interviews, in-person interviews, skills test or exercise, and final recommendation.  The committee usually meets once after looking at applications to decide who to interview, after any phone interviews to decide who to bring in, and after in-person interviews are completed to compare notes and make a selection.  All parts of the process, from beginning to end, are graded or ranked; our final numbers have to support our chosen candidate, and all this goes back to city HR. 

– Anonymous

John FeltsIn my experience we do nothing fancy or out of the norm here at Kimbel Library (Coastal Carolina University) regarding the search and hiring process.  As with other institutions at which I’ve worked, for all positions that aren’t at the level of department head or higher, our Dean of Library Services selects members for the search committee and gives the committee its charge.  The committee chair is typically a department head and not a member of the department for which a position is being advertised in order to help maintain and facilitate impartiality and perspective.  For the sake of consistency the chair handles all communication from the library to potential candidates, organizes meetings, itineraries, and basically just keeps the process organized and moving along.

Search committees typically consist of 3-5 members, most of whom are members of the department since they have the most knowledge of what they’re looking for in a candidate for a given position.  I’m also personally a fan of this approach because they’ll be the people spending the most time with the successful applicant; it just makes sense to me to give them as much time with each candidate as possible.  The committee thoroughly assesses each application, conducts phone interviews with those applicants who are better qualified for the position than others who have applied, and speaks with each potential interviewee’s references before extending an invitation to visit with us for an on-site interview.

We like to bring candidates in the day before their interview for dinner.  It’s always nice and sometimes surprisingly informative to meet and informally chat with a candidate the night before the typically hectic and more formal interview day.  Although I don’t personally see the necessity of having non-instruction librarians deliver a presentation, it’s just something the library requires from each candidate.  Since the successful candidate will be on a tenure track it certainly can’t hurt to observe a candidate’s presentation style, although there may have been a candidate or two who experienced a bit of temporary pain from this part of the interview process!  Hey, public speaking isn’t for everyone! 🙂  We then schedule time for librarians, the department head, the search committee, and obviously the Dean to spend time with each candidate.  We also try to squeeze in tours of the library, the campus, and the area just to offer as much information as possible about the library and the university since hopefully the candidate is interviewing the library just as thoroughly as the library is interviewing each candidate!

The search committee is an advisory body; it makes its recommendation to the Dean and the Dean chooses whether to accept the committee’s recommendation, extends any and all offers of employment, and negotiates salary.  Obviously serving on a search committee is lots of extra work and can sometimes be a bit overwhelming when coupled with one’s daily responsibilities; however, I find this to be one of the more rewarding aspects of librarianship and one of the most important and vital services a librarian can offer their institution.

– John Felts, Head of Library Technology and Systems, Coastal Carolina University

Alison M. Armstrong Collection Development & Cataloging Specialist McConnell Library Photo by Lora Gordon/Radford UniversityAt Radford University,  we have a hiring committee for librarian positions, the Library Personnel Committee. It is made up of 4 librarians plus the position’s supervisor. The terms are 2 years and staggered so 2 people are rolling off each year as 2 new members come on. The library faculty (librarians) make nominations and vote on two members each year. The Committee has a Chair, secretary, someone who does policy revisions and someone who serves as secretary for the Library Faculty Committee.

This committee does phone interviews, selects candidates to bring to campus and manages their schedule. The Committee is responsible for getting them to and from the airport and the hotel, has dinner with them the night before the interview and gives them tours of the area and the campus in addition to keeping things on schedule as they go through the day.

Staff positions are much more informal and are made up of the position’s supervisor and a few others that may work with that position.  They come to campus, are interviewed and, the interview style is up to the supervisor. They may choose to take them out for coffee or give them a tour of campus to get to know them a little more informally.

– Alison M. Armstrong, Collection Management Librarian, McConnell Library, Radford University

 

When hiring at our small (30 FTEs, 21 FT, 35 PT) public library, it depends on the job. For a librarian position, the Department Head reviews applications, selects 3-5 to interview; then the DH interviews potential candidates; 2-3 candidates meet other librarians in that department and librarians get an opportunity to meet informally with the candidates. The Director will also meet with the 2-3 candidates with the DH present. There is a consensus about who to hire among the Director, DH and other librarians. For other non professional positions a similar process is followed, with the DH having the final choice. Our HR person gets involved placing ads and explaining benefits etc.

– Kaye Grabbe, Director,  Lake Forest (Public) Library,  Lake Forest, IL 

Thank you as always to the above for their time and insight.  If you’re someone who hires librarians and are interested in participating in this feature, please email me at hiringlibrariansATgmail.com.

And thank you for reading!  Oh, it’s such a perfect comment, I’m glad I spent it with you.

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Further Questions: How can new hires start off right?

It seems to be a new hire focused week here at Hiring Librarians.  This week I asked:

After hiring, are your new hires put through any sort of probation period?  Have any of them been unable to make it through this period? Do you have any general tips for new employees, to help them start off on the right foot? 

J. McRee Elrod

There is no formal probation period, but failure to deliver quality records in a timely matter can result in getting no more work.

Best to double check quality of records, and complete work in a timely manner.

– J. McRee (Mac) Elrod, Special Libraries Catalouging

The state of Virginia has very specific timelines for classified staff. There is a one year probation period with an evaluation at 6 weeks, 6 months and one year. This is in addition to the annual evaluation that is also done during this time. This is the opportunity for their supervisors to identify issues and find a way to work through them in a clear plan and a time for both parties to determine if this is a good fit. After the 1 year probation, staff are given a performance plan that may just be position expectations or may have special things for the staff person to work on/learn. They are later evaluated based on that PP&E (Performance Plan and Expectations.) The PP&E can be changed during the year to reflect a new need or a change in duties. Once a staff person finishes the probation period, termination is much more difficult, if that is necessary.

I think the probationary period is good for the staff person and the supervisor because it forces both sides to be very clear about expectations and, the staff person knows if they need to change how they do something. It puts the onus on the supervisor, which is where is should be and, if the supervisor finds that their staff person is not responding appropriately, they had time to address it and give the staff person an opportunity to address it.  That is assuming those issues surface in the first year. But, the annual PP&E and evaluation can be beneficial in terms of getting a staff person back on track.

– Anonymous

Marleah AugustineWe have a six-month probationary period for all new hires (from part-time support staff to full-time librarians and all in between). At the end of the six months, the employee has an evaluation to determine whether employment will continue.
 
I have had instances in which a new support staff hire was let go during the probationary period. They received the same verbal and written warnings as any employee would. 

For employees in positions that include benefits (the basic support staff position does not receive benefits), their benefits kick in after the six month probationary period (sick leave, vacation leave, holiday pay, etc.). They do not accrue sick leave or vacation time during the probationary period.

 
In the hopes that all hires start off on the right foot, supervisors go through a thorough orientation process with each hire. It covers basic tasks and how-to’s, as well as just getting the employee familiar with different areas of the library and different people on staff. 

My general tips – learn as much as you can, ask questions any time they come up, and never say “No one told me …” (my personal pet peeve). If you make a mistake, be honest about not knowing how that works and ask questions so that you get it right the next time. If you really weren’t told about something, it’s much better for a supervisor to hear “I wasn’t aware of that” and have you recognize your own responsibility in learning some of those tasks. Librarians are in the question-answering line of work, so take advantage of that when you are a new hire.

– Marleah Augustine, Adult Department Librarian at Hays Public Library

Marge Loch WoutersOur library has a six-month probationary period. I would not hesitate to let someone go in that time if they failed to meet the requirements of the job.  While one always allows time for new employees to gain their sea legs and become familiar with routines, procedures and policies, it is usually clear when a new employee is not up to the job.   My best advice for new hires is learn as much as you can as soon as you can and show your skills and talents in a way that supports your colleagues.

– Marge Loch-Wouters, Youth Services Coordinator, La Crosse (WI) Public Library

We do have a general probation period which is 9 months for librarians. At our institution the librarian and supervisor should be working together to create a job description and a performance agreement within the first month. The supervisor and librarian should be meeting regularly the first few months of employment to make sure they are on the same page and the librarian is meeting goals. At nine months the supervisor will write a review with a recommendation for continued employment or the librarian will be notified that their appointment will end at the 12 month mark.

If this is not the policy or does not appear to be at the place where you are hired, I would request something in writing regarding expectations for performance.

– Julie Leuzinger, Department Head, Eagle Commons Library, University of North Texas Libraries

 

Sherle Abramson-BluhmAt University of Michigan Library – there are different probationary periods for staff and for librarians.
Staff have a six month probation.  I have not had any staff who did not make it through.  A staff member who was hired for a term (1 year) position was not renewed – and might have been let go durring probation if it had been a regular position.
 
my best tip – is to ask if you are not sure of something – much rather answer a question than fix a problem.
 
For librarians it is a two year probation.

Supervisor

  • Prepares a training program based on the new librarian’s job description.
  • Trains the librarian for two months.

Supervisor and Librarian

  • Meet to discuss the librarian’s progress to date at the end of the initial training period.
  • Prepare performance goals to be applied to the remainder of the performance appraisal year. 
I have not hired a librarian in my area since I have been here and have no direct experience.  I was very new to Acquisitions when I was hired and had a great deal to learn
and I believe I followed my own tip very well – and 8 years later I am still here
 
I do know of Librarians who did not make it through, but have no knowledge of the specifics. It is pretty rare.
– Sherle Abramson-Bluhm, Head, Print Acquisitions, University of Michigan

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 me at hiringlibrariansATgmail.com.

Thank YOU for reading!  Go to sleep little baby.  You and me and the comment makes three don’t need any other loving comment.

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Filed under Academic, Cataloging/Technical Services, Further Questions, Other Organization or Library Type, Public

If an Agency Sends You a Role You Aren’t Interested in It is Better to Reply and Explain the Reasons Why Not, So the Agency Can Get a Closer Match Next Time

This interview is with independent recruiter Nicola Franklin. Her firm, The Library Career Centre, provides recruitment services for employers as well as for-pay candidate services such as CV / resume writing and interview coaching. Ms. Franklin has been in the library recruitment field for 20 years.  Prior to striking out on her own, she worked with Manpower pls, Sue Hill Recruitment, and then the international firm, Fabric.  She is a fellow of the Recruitment & Employment Confederation and member of the Special Libraries Association.

Questions about Recruitment:

Can you give us a brief run-down of how a recruitment firm works? 

When you send your CV or resume to register with a recruitment firm, they will generally invite you for an interview (phone/skype or in person depending on distance, etc) and your CV/resume will be added to a database.  Your file on the database will usually also have notes of your interview and some codes or classification tags added, covering basic categories such as locations, salary bands, qualifications, industry sectors and skills.

When a recruiter gets a new vacancy from a client, they will use the codes to search the database, to gather a ‘long list’ of potential candidates.  In most library firms, the consultant will then look through the resumes and interview notes for each of those candidates, matching more closely between the job requirements and each candidate’s’ skills and requirements.

This weeding process will create a slightly shorter long-list, and it is those people who will be contacted  (either by a mail-merge email or on the phone, depending on how many potentially suitable people make the list).  Some of those contacted will either not reply at all, or will decline to apply for the role, leaving a short-list.  It is important for candidates to realise that their response (or non response) will be recorded; if an agency sends you a role you aren’t interested in it is better to reply and explain the reasons why not, so the agency can get a closer match next time, rather than to ignore it.  On the one hand, the agency will be no wiser as to what would interest you, and on the other (after several tries at contacting you) the agency may assume you’re no longer looking and archive your file.

In some cases all of those on the short-list will be submitted to the client, in other cases the consultant will sift the list further to reduce the numbers – a consultant would generally want to send between 3 and 10 resumes to their client, depending on what’s been agreed.  In most cases, the consultant will either also submit a report on each candidate, explaining why they’re a good fit for the role, or call or visit the client to present each candidate verbally.  This is really where the value of having a recruiter work for you shows through, as you have someone rooting for you and trying to persuade the hirer to interview you!

What types of vacancies are you most frequently placing candidates in?  In what types of organizations?

I cover all part of the wider information industry, including traditional library roles in public or academic settings, information or knowledge management in government and the private sector, and records management across  all kinds of organisations.

Increasingly there has been a merger of these different disciplines, especially at more senior levels.  In the UK there has been a marked decrease in roles in the public sector over the past two or three years, while the private sector declined earlier than that and has since been recovering (albeit slowly).

The main problem caused by the recession has been a dearth of mid-level roles. There have been some entry-level roles still being recruited, and organisations have generally replaced senior or very specialist  roles, but they often seem to feel they can ‘make do’ with fewer Assistant Librarians or Information Officers.  This has made career development very difficult for many people, especially as this situation has persisted since 2008.

What should candidates do differently when applying to a recruitment firm?  Is there anything they should be sure to include with you that they wouldn’t tell a direct-hire job, etc.?

A resume or CV for a recruitment firm should be slightly longer and more detailed than when sending it direct to a hirer.  In the latter case you are tailoring it specifically for that role, while for an agency there may be several types of role you’d like to be considered for and so your resume needs to reflect a broader range of your skills and experiences.  Also remember that some agency databases can search CVs for keywords, so make sure the ‘jargon’ keywords or acronyms are included (something I’d be advising against for a CV to be sent directly to a hirer).

At the interview stage with an agency, be sure to tell your recruiter honestly about any gaps or any issues you have had (eg a personality clash with a colleague or manager).  They will be able to advise you on how to best present things at an employer interview.

Are there particular qualities or experiences that will give a candidate an edge in being considered for positions you are trying to fill?

The main quality to display is enthusiasm.  Librarianship isn’t a role most people get into for the monetary rewards, and hirers expect candidates to be passionate about what they’re doing.  Coming across as fed up, bored or even worse hostile, is a sure way to make a consultant think twice when deciding whether to put you forward to their client.  You need to make sure they will feel confident representing you.

Secondly, candidates who have a realistic appreciation of their skills and aptitudes, and clear career goals, are easier for both recruiters and hirers to assess and fit into their open vacancies.  Spending time doing an audit of your skills and reflecting on what you have to offer, and also where you want your career to go, will pay off dividends later.

Once an initial placement has been made, what should a candidate do to keep on good terms with your agency (in order to ensure future placements)?

It’s good to keep in touch with your recruitment agency, from an initial call or email to let them know how you’re settling into your new role to an update later on.  You never know when you might need their services again!  I attend many library and information sector specialist group’s networking events and seminars, and it’s always nice when candidates come up and say hi.  Recruiters are used to being discrete, so don’t be afraid one will say ‘are you looking again’ or anything embarrassing while your boss is nearby!

Is there anything else you’d like my readers to know about recruitment agencies or the Library Career Centre?

I set up The Library Career Centre so that I could offer services over and above the standard recruitment process described above.  During my 20 years in the library recruitment sector, I had noticed that candidates often needed guidance on improving their resume, or their interview technique could do with some tweaking, or they simply had difficulty articulating what skills they had to offer or what their career goals were.

During a recruitment agency registration interview there is only about half an hour to gather all the information the consultant needs on career history and future goals – which doesn’t leave much time to give advice.  The Library Career Centre therefore offers support and advice directly to candidates on all these areas, in a more relaxed atmosphere where we can take time to explore issues more carefully.  This support is offered via 1-1 coaching as well as workshops and seminars.   The 1-1 services are designed on a modular basis, so a job seeker can pick and chose to get help on just those areas they are struggling with, or can put together a programme of support to suit their own needs.

I also use social media a great deal to keep up to date with issues and in touch with people – @NicolaFranklin on Twitter or http://uk.linkedin.com/in/nicolafranklin on LinkedIn, and I make regular posts on my blog.

Questions from the survey:

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

Relevant experience and skills for the role in question

Open minded and keen to continue learning

Enthusiasm and energy

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

Body language or answers which contradict claims made on the resume/application form, eg; ‘great interpersonal sills’ on the resume coupled with awkward/introverted body language, or ‘excellent ICT skills’ on the resume coupled with obvious inability to use tabs or other formatting tools in Word.  Quite apart from the skills that were claimed which may be lacking, the mere fact of making exaggerated or untrue claims show either (at best) poor self awareness or (at worst) dishonesty.

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

Profile statements which are clearly regurgitated cliches, and don’t show any correlation between the applicants touted attributes and those required for the job.

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

Achievements – most resumes recount experiences or duties, some add in skills or attributes, very few include achievements (ie, how did the organisation benefit from having hired the applicant).

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?

√ 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?

Be engaged with the role and organisation; demonstrate that you’ve done (good quality) research about the organisation, understand the role requirements and have put some thought into how your skills match up to the tasks in the job.

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

Not having done enough preparation, even for obvious questions like ‘why would you be good for this role’ or ‘where do you want your career to be in 5 years’.

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

Over the past 20 years library recruitment has shifted emphasis away from a need to have used all the specific databases/cataloguing standards/etc of the hiring organisation, and towards more generic aptitude and ability to learn packages and systems.

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

Make sure you have plenty of questions to ask the interviewer too!  An interview should be a two way communication, as you need to know whether you’d like to work in this place, if you are fortunate to receive an offer.  Also, having no questions to ask when invited to do so is a sure way of saying ‘I’m not really interested in this job’ to the interviewer.

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Filed under Non-Anonymous, Original Survey, Other Organization or Library Type, Recruiter Spotlight, Recruiters, Special

The More Information a Recruitment Firm Has, The More Help We Can Provide to Candidates in Searching for Jobs

I’m excited to feature our first interview with a recruitment firm this week.  Sue Hill, Director, and Donald Lickley, Consultant, from Sue Hill Recruitment (@suehillrec) were kind enough to complete the survey AND answer a few of my questions about recruitment firms.  Sue Hill Recruitment is:

a specialist employment agency to the UK information sector, and market research, insight and analysis. We deliver a friendly, people driven and professional service to both employers and jobseekers.

Questions about recruitment firms:

Can you give us a brief run-down of how a recruitment firm works?

In brief a client has a work requirement, we negotiate terms of business, then go out to look for suitable candidates to meet that requirement. Sometimes this will be done with our existing candidate database, sometimes we bring in new candidates via public advertisements.  If we are successful in making a placement with the client, i.e. once an appointment is made and the candidate starts work, only then does the recruitment agency receive a fee.

What types of vacancies are you most frequently placing candidates in?  In what types of organizations?

Currently the UK HE [Higher Education] and commercial sectors are actively recruiting with a fair representation from trade bodies and charities, and there are some interesting special projects in all areas. To our great pleasure, there is a noticeable increase in jobs requiring specific technical skills and a professional body of knowledge as opposed to junior entry level work.

What should candidates do differently when applying to a recruitment firm?  Is there anything they should be sure to include with you that they wouldn’t tell a direct-hire job, etc.?

Candidates should be absolutely frank and open with us, because the more information a recruitment firm has, the more help we can provide to candidates in searching for jobs. All information is treated in confidence and only disseminated with agreement.

Are there particular qualities or experiences that will give a candidate an edge in being considered for positions you are trying to fill?

A realistic attitude to the employment market.

An understanding of the constraints that may exist between the recruitment agency, the client’s HR department and the final decision makers

Above all, the ability to encapsulate and market the appropriate skills to the appropriate vacancies.

Once an initial placement has been made, what should a candidate do to keep on good terms with your agency (in order to ensure future placements)?

Keep in touch. Remember we are here to help with whatever arises. We always appreciate constructive feedback of the experience.

Is there anything else you’d like my readers to know about recruitment agencies or Sue Hill?

It is important to understand that the true client of the recruitment agency is the hiring organisation. However a good agency  – and we would like to think Sue Hill Recruitment (SHR) fits this category – works hard with candidates to ensure they have the right tools and attitude throughout the recruitment process.  We are fortunate that people tend to remain within the information sector for the long haul, and thus have the opportunity to harvest our knowledge throughout their careers. As the SHR team is proactive in their own CPD [Career Professional Development], they also encounter future clients and jobseekers at a variety of events and are always available to offer advice and guidance.

We actively use social media to engage in and discuss professional issues from all angles  – follow our blog at View From the Hill and our LinkedIn Group, which is heading swiftly towards its 1,000th member.

Questions from the survey:

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

Clarity of focus, positivity and responsiveness – both in responding in a timely manner to job postings, but also by engaging in useful dialogue about how to market themselves.

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

Evidence that you have done your homework in reading the job specification and researching the hiring organisation. Spelling and grammar.

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

“Good communication skills” written by people who can’t string a sentence together.

Job processes given priority over results – i.e. dull and boring bits given priority with key features hidden almost out of sight, amongst the verbiage. Ill-considered copying and pasting from past job applications.

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

Sometimes the very obvious top skills or abilities are omitted.

How many pages should a cover letter be?

√  Two is ok, but no more

How many pages should a resume/CV be?

√ Two is ok, but no more

Do you have a preferred format for application documents?

√ Other: Not important so long as we can read it, but otherwise, avoid fancy formatting which may not be readable on another PC.

Should a resume/CV have an Objective statement?

√ Other: Yes, if they’ve got something genuine to say.

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?

Arrive on time, look us in the eye, answer the questions asked, keep the smile on your face.

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

Giving a stock standard answer to a question that wasn’t asked.

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

From the UK recruitment agency point of view, it has changed dramatically as employment legislation has impacted heavily on the whole process. However we believe it is mostly for the good. It does all take longer now and thus patience is needed!

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

Recruitment agencies are not your enemies, they are your allies and can often provide you with that extra something that gets you the job.

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Filed under Non-Anonymous, Original Survey, Other Organization or Library Type, Recruiter Spotlight, Recruiters