The 4 Ps to Pleasing Your Potential Employer

by Sarah Deringer, Head Editor, INALJ Mississippi

The 4 Ps to Pleasing Your Potential Employer

sarahdFor the past three months, I served on a search committee for a children’s minister at my church. Through this experience, I have learned many new insights into what it takes to get the job. The top four areas I found to be most important in job searching and interviewing all start with the letter ‘P’. The Ps to pleasing your potential employer are: professionalism, passion, personality, preparedness.


Common sense says that one should be professional when looking for a job. You should dress professionally, talk professionally, think professionally, and act professionally. Does it seem easy to you? If yes, that’s good. If not, here are a few tips in professionalism:

  • When addressing a future employer or their hiring personnel in an email, please use “Dear Sir or Madam,” as an opener to the letter. If you know their name, please use “Dear Mr. Johnson.” I would advise you not to act like they are your friend just yet, so do not use “Hey bro! What’s up?”
  • Triple check your resume to make sure there are no mistakes in spelling or grammar. You want to show potential employers that you are educated and know what to say and how to write. If you are not sure about something, ask a friend to look it over too.


If you are a new graduate, you should have plenty of passion for what you do. You are excited and hoping to get the job of your dreams. You also like talking about what you want to do in life. Passion is important for the job interview because it will shine through and let the potential employer know that they can count on you. Here are a few tips in passion:

  • Know what you want your job to be like, and be able to explain that vision to a potential employer.
  • Act like you’re not desperate for A job, ANY job. Let your potential employer feel like this job is THE job you want, even if you’re unsure right now as to where you’d really like to be.


Attitude is everything, especially in today’s economic times. Employers are really looking for someone who can treat their customers with respect, dignity, and honor. If they don’t think you will cheerfully serve library patrons or any customer that walks in the doors, they most likely won’t hire you. They want someone to draw in customers, not repel them. Here are a few tips on personality:

  • During the interview, smile! Also, if the interviewers are laughing and making a few jokes to help you relax and open up, don’t be afraid to laugh a little too. There’s a balance to find between being professional and being friendly.
  • Know how to answer questions about your work style. Do you like working as a team? Or do you prefer working alone? Do you know how to handle conflict? What steps do you take in handling conflict?


Every potential employer wants to see their job candidates prepared. It shows how prepared they will be when working on the job. Here are a few tips on preparedness:

  • Research first! This includes researching the business or company, the position, the community, the customers, and the vision and goals of the business. By researching, you’ll be able to answer questions with a developed focus on that particular position and company.
  • Make sure you have references that truly support you and will give you a good reference. If they don’t, you most likely won’t get the job. It’s important to truly know and have a professional relationship with the reference. If they don’t know you, they can’t vouch for you that you’ll be the best candidate for the job.

No matter who you are or where you are looking for a job, you can be more professional, passionate, and prepared and show your personality. Good luck on your job hunt and interviews!

Naomi House

Naomi House, MLIS, is the founder and publisher of the popular webzine and jobs list (formerly I Need a Library Job) and former CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) of, a crowdfunding platform focused on African patrimony, heritage and cultural projects. INALJ was founded in October 2010 with the assistance of her fellow Rutgers classmate, Elizabeth Leonard. Its social media presence has grown to include Facebook (retired in 2016), Twitter and a LinkedIn group, in addition to the interviews, articles and jobs found on INALJ. INALJ has had over 21 Million page hits and helped many, many thousands of librarians find employment! Through grassroots marketing, word of mouth and a real focus on exploring unconventional resources for job leads, INALJ grew from a subscription base of 20 friends to a website with over 500,000 visits in one month. Naomi believes that well-sourced quantity is quality in this narrow job market and INALJ reflects this with many new jobs published daily. She has also written for the 2011, 2012 and 2013 LexisNexis Government Info Pro and many other publications in the past decade. She presents whenever she can, including serving on three panels at the American Library Association's Annual Conference in Las Vegas; as breakout presenter at OCLC EMEA in Cape Town, South Africa; as a keynote speaker at the Virginia Library Association annual meeting; at the National Press Club in Washington DC; McGill University in Montreal, Canada; the University of the Emirates, Dubai, MLIS program and the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Naomi was a Reference, Marketing and Acquisitions Librarian for a contractor at a federal library outside Washington, DC, and has been living and working in Budapest, Hungary and Western New York State. She spent years running her husband’s moving labor website, fixed and sold old houses and assisted her husband cooking delicious Pakistani food. She is preparing to re-enter the workforce and is job hunting. Her husband is now the co-editor of INALJ, a true support!  She has heard of spare time but hasn’t encountered it lately. She pronounces INALJ as eye-na-elle-jay.