What Went Right: Case Study of a Successful Hiring, Part 2

by Ellen Mehling, Career Development Consultant at METRO

Last month we interviewed Caridad Bojorquez about the application process when she was recently hired as Information Architect at The Durst Organization. This month we talk with the Hiring Manager for that position, Ryan Anthony Donaldson, Manager of Heritage & Information Services.

When and where was the position posted?

The position was posted in July 2013, on LinkedIn, Monster.com, simplyhired.com, and archives and library listservs.

Was this a newly-created position?


What experience were you looking for and how much?

A strong understanding of information architecture, including theories, principles, and knowledge of functional taxonomy and classification life-cycle management was most important. We were seeking someone with a four-year accredited degree in library science, business administration, or a related field, with one of the following certifications preferred: Certified Records Manager (ICRM), ERM Master, Academy of Certified Archivists, and Certified Privacy Professional.

We also wanted knowledge of an open source content management system such as Collective Access and knowledge of Oracle, SQL, or a similar related database. Proficiency with MS Office was specified, as well as the ability to work with IT systems for day-to-day operation, such as generating reports, queries and managing workflows.

Other requirements were three years’ experience in information management, archival records management, or a related field, with at least one year experience with electronic information management systems.

What was the most important thing you were looking for in terms of soft skills for this position?

We wanted someone who has the ability to interact effectively with diverse personalities at all levels of the organization.

Is this position permanent, full-time?

Yes, it is.

Did you ask for any application materials beyond a resume and cover letter? Was there an online application?

For the final candidates under consideration, we asked for responses to a pre-employment exercise [see Caridad's interview for more - ed.]. There was no online application.

For how long were you accepting applications?

Approximately six weeks.

Who reviewed the application materials?

The Human Resources Manager, the Manager of Heritage and Information Services, the Director of Information Technology, and the Vice President were our reviewers.

The Human Resources Manager reviewed the applications as they were initially received; selected applications fitting the search criteria were circulated to the other reviewers.

How many people did you interview for the first round? How many got second interviews?

For the first round there were four interviews, and two [of the four] got second interviews.

Were first interviews face-to-face? Or phone or Skype?


Were interviews one-one-one or by a panel?

We opted to interview as a panel.

Were there any out-of-the-area applicants you interviewed? If so, did you pay for their transportation to the interview?

Yes, we had one out-of-the-area applicant sit in for an interview. We did not pay for transportation costs.

Regarding the person you hired: what was your first impression of her? Did that first impression turn out to be accurate?

I had a positive first impression of Caridad as well-informed. In initial conversation, it became clear that she is a knowledgeable information professional and had conducted an impressive amount of research about our company.

Why did you choose her? Was the decision made by you or by a committee or panel?

We chose Caridad because she demonstrated a broad skill set and had worked on a range of different projects for cultural institutions, corporations, and even law enforcement. We saw the variety of work experience as a benefit. Caridad interacted well with the interview team and developed a rapport.

The decision was made by consensus.

How were her resume and cover letter?

Caridad’s cover letter was concise and customized to address the specific requirements of the position. Her resume was impressive, citing specific projects and presentations that we were able to review online demonstrating her work.

How did the interviews go? Could you share one or two of your favorite (most revealing or effective) questions?

Both the initial and follow-up interviews went well. Caridad was well-prepared and she gave thoughtful answers to our questions.

Questions we asked included “what is your strongest technical skill?,” to which Caridad noted her mastery of Adobe CS5/6, and that then led to a discussion of her photography background, which we viewed as an asset.

And: “Do you have any questions for us?,” to which Caridad had some insightful follow-up questions that gave us insight into this new position and how the role would fit within the overall structure of the company.

Did you know right away or did it take some time to decide?

It took a bit of time for us to decide because we had a strong pool of final candidates.

How much time passed from when you first posted the position to when she was offered the job?

Approximately eight weeks.

How long did negotiation take? How long was it from the time of the offer to her first day?

Negotiation took a few days before the hiring process was finalized. It was approximately one month from the offer to first day.

In one sentence: to what do you attribute this successful hire?

Our successful hire resulted from successfully promoting the position to draw in a diverse range of information professionals that provided us with the opportunity to carefully consider the best candidate and the right fit with our organization.

Is there any other information about this hiring you’d like to add? Any advice for job hunters?

I would recommend that initial research into the position and company to which you are applying can be a great benefit, especially during the interview phase. I also would suggest becoming involved with professional organizations such as the Metropolitan New York Library Council and Archivists Round Table of Metropolitan New York. Participation in these groups is a great networking opportunity and can lead to awareness of new opportunities.


Many thanks to Caridad Bojorquez, Ryan Anthony Donaldson, and The Durst Organization for participating in these interviews.