STATUS: Calling it a day.
What’s playing on the iPod right now? HEARTBREAK WARFARE by John Mayer
This past week we hired a new assistant. I cannot tell you how excited Sara and I were for this person to start. At the very least, the last 2 months without an assistant aptly demonstrated how much we need one!
During the process, I was talking about it with a friend who is an HR manager. She was absolutely appalled to learn that we planned to interview about 14 candidates (from the over 50 applications we received). After all, we obviously must not have specified the job requirements accurately enough. In her mind, we should only be interviewing about 5 candidates total.
On one hand, she’s probably right. But on the other, the one main criterion we were looking for cannot really be specified on a resume. Lots of our candidates had terrific qualifications. What we were looking for, however, was a demonstrated passion for reading—and not just for one type or genre of fiction. That’s not really going to show up on a resume. It’s only going to be apparent when we ask one specific question.
In our interviews, that one question was this: Tell me about the last three novels you read. Why did you choose those books? Did you enjoy them? Why or why not?
For candidates interested in working at a literary agency, you’d assume this would be a slam dunk kind of question to answer. A “no brainer” if you will.
Surprisingly, a lot of candidates struggled to answer this question.
We were not expecting that. We, of course, had other questions about how detail-oriented was the candidate and how they handled processes etc. but it was really the above question that was the most important to us. So keep that in mind if you ever decide to pursue this type of job path.
Luckily, in the end, we had several terrific final candidates and it was rather sad that we only had the resources to hire one person.