Open thank you note to past search participants
by Mary-Michelle Moore, Senior Editor
It takes many people in the library to successfully hire a new librarian. While the head of the search committee (and sometimes the whole committee) gets a thank you note, many people involved in the interview day do not get much recognition. I’d like to use this forum to thank several people who are not on the committee , but who have made the arduous task of interviewing for a new position bearable. I am keeping what I learned I making this list as a set of best practices for the future ,when I’m in a position to help hire someone.
- To the person who called for a variety of experience – thank you to the person on the search committee who asked to hear from new librarians as well as experienced ones. While the decision may go either way, thank you: for the opportunity to present myself as a candidate for the position; to practice my interview skills; and for regaining hope that someone actually reads my carefully crafted application materials.
- To the person who sent out the confirmation email – thank you to whoever sent out (or set up the automated) confirmation email. It is reassuring to know that my materials were received and that I will be considered for the position, even if it is via a form email.
- To the people who follow up – thank you to the person who let me know my reference had forgotten to sign his letter of recommendation. I have not yet heard back from your institution, but thank you for giving me the opportunity to correct this oversight so I can rise or fall on my own merits rather than due to a technicality.
- To the scheduler – thank you for everyone who’s called and has a few days to offer for an interview time. I’m incredibly fortunate to have a job as I’m searching, and sometimes having a choice of Tuesday or Friday is the difference between feeling fully focused on my interview and feeling guilty or worried that I’ve forgotten something at work.
- To the person who gave excellent directions – thank you to the person who gave the best directions to get to your library. You acknowledged that all college campuses are inherently difficult to navigate if you are unfamiliar with them, and gave complete directions including landmarks for when I left the parking lot. It took a great deal of anxiety out of the beginning of the day.
- To the person who arranged for parking – thank you for arranging for a parking permit for the day of the interview. I appreciate your kind consideration, it made it easier to locate parking and leave my car with the knowledge that I would not return to a ticket on my windshield (again). I could then focus my energy on the interview rather than worrying about external stimuli.
- To the person assigned to give me a tour of the campus/library – thank you for the break in the middle of a day of interviewing. Thank you for the opportunity to go to the restroom, get some water and stretch. Even though this portion can sometimes be awkward (you’re usually not someone who will be in my department) because we both have to dance around the “oh well if you take/get the job,” I always appreciate a friendly face and a break from questions.
- To the person who makes sure there’s water – thank you, both for the opportunity to pause in the questioning to collect my thoughts and to help me deal with the fact that when I talk a lot my throat will get dry. It’s a small touch but an important one that helps make things easier.
- To the person who explains the next steps – thank you for letting me know when you’re planning to hold the second round of interviews. This gives me a time frame in which to follow up, an idea of if I should try to keep my schedule clear, and when to give up hope of being called in and just start the wait for the “thank you, we’ve gone another direction” letter. Communication in the process makes expectations easier to manage on my end and I appreciate having an idea of where I stand.
- To the person who gives feedback – I know not everyone can give feedback on a performance in a job interview, but for the ones who are allowed to do so, and have – thank you. I apply to many positions and I am genuinely interested in and excited about all of them, learning what made me a viable if not ultimately successful candidate gives me information on what to improve on or what type of experience to seek out before I apply for your institution again.
Lastly, thank you to anyone I’ve missed. As you can see from the list above, many small things add up in the course of coming in for an interview and I hope to be as gracious and aware when I’m helping to schedule, set up or participate in people interviewing at my library. Also, since most of things noted above tend to fall to assistants, I wanted to be sure to let everyone know that their efforts are recognized and appreciated, even if you don’t have the chance to put “Chair of Hiring Committee” on your review.