Who Gets the Job and Why

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By Tasha Saecker, Assistant Director
Appleton Public Library
At the 2011 WLA Annual Conference, I had the pleasure of presenting a program with Peter Gilbert, Director of the Lawrence University Library, and Jean Zanoni, Associate Dean at the Marquette University Raynor Memorial Libraries.  The program focused on hiring and what factors into our decision-making in our library hiring processes. 
Even though we were from very different libraries, there were some definite core items in the way we hire.  Here is a list of items to keep in mind when applying and interviewing for positions:

Applying for Jobs

•Beware the online job forms; make sure you treat them with the same respect and effort as non-online applications.  This means filling out everything entirely.
•Make the most of your cover letter, speaking directly to the job you are applying for.  Be enthusiastic and interesting; this is the chance you have to show your personality.
•Your resume should be free of spelling errors.  It should be neat, clear, and concise.  
•If you are applying for a job related to technology, include links to online portfolios or websites you are involved in.
•Skype interviews are becoming more common with tightening budgets.  Treat a Skype interview as an in-person one.  Focus on making eye-contact with your camera.  It really makes a difference.
•Practice your interview skills in the mirror, especially if you are getting nervous about it.  Look up lists of interview questions and run through them.
•Be on time!  I can’t emphasize enough how important this is.
•Dress professionally.  Just like on your resume, neatness counts.
•Listen to the questions and take your time.  If you don’t have the exact type of experience you are being asked about, relate it to something else.  For example, you haven’t supervised staff yet, but you do have experience supervising volunteers. 
•Be positive and honest.
•Have a list of questions that you want answered.  They should be more than just benefits and pay scale.  Ask questions about the organization, its culture and how you will fit into it.
•Be yourself.  You are interviewing the library just as much as the library is interviewing you.
Good luck!  I’d be happy to answer any questions you might have about hiring.