Thursday, November 09, 2006

Workstudy, Hiring

And you've done this how many times?One of the perks of working at the University, outside of working for the University is hiring workstudy students. I get to hand pick everything in my space, including my new little helpers. Though the process is a bit mind numbing.

First, I have to concoct an ad to place on the student workstudy site. I'm thinking that tons of students are going to apply for this amazing job - so I clean out my in box to make room for the deluge of applications I plan to receive.

Then I have my secretary post the ad.

Then I wait. And wait. Finally. In one day, I receive 3 applications. I ripped open the envelopes eager to see who I'd be hiring to assist me in running the library.

A photoshop pro who studies art & design. Excellent.
An Environmental studies major who was a former class president & year book editor. Excellent.
An English major with great word processing skills. Highly organized. Super.

I'm going to interview all of them. I set up the interviews, and receive enthusiastic replies from all three.

THEN, after the deadline - an application is pushed under my office door one day. Bascially written in crayon. Filled with typos.

"What the hell", I think "I'll interview him too." Afterall, this could be his big break.

So the interviews show up, one after the other - perky, nervous about their first interview. I thought I might have a little fun and ask them a few tough questions, like "Where do you see yourself in 5 years" or "Can I see a writing sample?" or even the "Could you pee in this cup?" but decided it would be much better to just stick to the college issued questions for a workstudy interview.

The first gal, the environmental studies major, had sweaty hands. She was nervous and asked where she could put her coat down. She answered all the questions really well, kept good eye contact, and even sat toward the edge of her chair. Someone listened in her high school advisory class. The low cut blouse was nice, but a wasted detail.

The art & design major wanted to work closer to campus. His current job included a massive amount of manual labor. The boy looks like he needs a sandwhich, but I haven't got one to offer. Besides, I have to finish this interview. I only blocked them off in 30 minute increments.

#3 was taller than me, and very well spoken. She was professional, and kept her hands on her lap during the whole interview. In my imagination, she would talk with her hands and laugh unexpectedly - but she didn't.

I hired them all, and sent a letter to my secretary asking her to arrange the final details and get them each a set of keys to the library.

Then #4 showed up. Unannouced, while I was busily typing up their work schedules. I guessed right away it was him. His winter coat was zipped up under his chin, and he left it that way during the entire interview. One of my stock questions was "What is your greatest weakness?" To which most of the other students admitted to "staying up too late" or "losing focus during big assignments."

He surprised me by telling me that he was usually not on time, but was thinking about buying an alarm clock. I can't make this stuff up people. As if that weren't a good enough confession, he admitted that he knew nothing about libraries, but was eager to get a job. Well, honestly, I didn't know how to respond, so I nodded, and pretended to make a note on his application that I had fixed to a clipboard infront of me.

He actually looked at his watch at least 3 times during the 15 minute interview. I decided to ask him "If I gave you a call number, would you be able to retrieve the book from the library next door?" He said he probably couldn't - but would look for something that I might like if he found nothing.

That is nice of him, I have to admit. I shook his hand that had been shoved into the front pocket of his jacket during the entire interview. He said he hoped to hear from me soon, and I assured him he would.

I sent him a note the next morning telling him that several other applicants had applied, and that he was no longer being considered for the position.

I actually wrote it when he left, and put a time delay on the message so he'd get it at breakfast time the next day.

I do have a heart.

When hiring, think of a few things:

Would I want to be trapped in a room with this person, if some how the door got locked from the outside?
Is this person going to go through my purse when I'm not in the room?
Was the eye contact good? This can be tricky if the interviewee has a wandering eye.
Is their class load too much for this job?
Will this person hurt me if I have to fire them?
Did I laugh during the interview? At them? or with them? or silently inside?
Did they come with questions? Or did I have to do all the asking?
Did they ever say, at any point, LIBERRY? or was it a consistant library?
How neat was the application? Was it typed? Typos?
Could I leave this person in charge if I had to go away to a conference? Or at least would they follow loose directions left behind in a notebook?
How quickly did they respond to the ad? Did it sound desperate?
Will this job allow them to quit working in a diner? or laundrymat?
Did they have on clean shoes?

Of course, this is not stuff they teach you in Library School™. These are all things I was forced to think before the interview, during the interview, and after when I was assessing the interviewees.

And of course, these aren't things they'd teach you in HR school either. Probably because they are illegal.

At anyrate, it was fun hiring new work study students to work in my newly created University Art History library. I look forward to working on projects with each of them. For now, I can sit back and enjoy the show.

Moral of this blog: Libraries rock.

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