We are in the information age

Fish MarketThis anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

All types-Technical services, children’s, research, technology, marketing, subject liaisons, etc.

This librarian works at a library in a suburban area in the Southern US.

Approximately how many people applied for the last librarian (or other professional level) job at your workplace?

√ 25 or fewer

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 25% or less

And how would you define “hirable”?

Professional dispositions and alignment with our university’s doctrinal statement

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

weeded out by hiring manager; evaluated by internal committee; phone interview; then background check

What is the most common reason for disqualifying an applicant without an interview?

Credentials and experience

Do you (or does your library) give candidates feedback about applications or interview performance?

√ No

What is the most important thing for a job hunter to do in order to improve his/her/their hirability?

Personable and demonstration of professionalism

I want to hire someone who is

personable.

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 50-100

How many permanent, full time librarian (or other professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ 3-4

How many permanent, full time para-professional (or other non-professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ 7 or more

Can you tell us how the number of permanent, full-time librarian positions at your workplace has changed over the past decade?

√ There are more positions

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with part-time or hourly workers over the past decade?

√ No

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with para-professional workers over the past decade?

√ No

Does your workplace require experience for entry-level professional positions? If so, is it an official requirement or just what happens in practice?

No experience for entry level positions

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

We are in the information age and librarians are the ones who help to manage it and teach others how to evaluate, select, and use the vast amount of information available in a variety of formats.

Do you hire librarians?  Take this survey: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibjobmarketsurvey or take other Hiring Librarians surveys.

For some context, look at the most recent summary of responses.

Leave a comment

Filed under Academic, Southern US, State of the Job Market 2015, Suburban area

I did not meet certain qualifications (though these were not originally in the job posting)

City, Public Library, 1956This anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field), has been hired within the last two months, and has been looking for a new position for More than 18 months. This person is looking in Academic libraries, Archives, Public libraries, and Special libraries, at the following levels: Entry level. This new grad/entry level applicant has internship/volunteering experience:

I interned for six months at an archives/special collections that was part of an academic library. I have about 2 weeks of experience as a library clerk.

This job hunter is in a suburban area, in the  Northeastern US, and is willing to move within the East Coast.

What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?

Good work environment/friendly co-workers
Close to home

Where do you look for open positions?

QC Listserv, INALJ, ALA Joblist, Metro, LILRC, Indeed.com

Do you expect to see salary range listed in a job ad?

√ No (even if I might think it *should* be)

What’s your routine for preparing an application packet? How much time do you spend on it?

I have a resume and a cover letter written. I will adjust the cover letter depending on the job description. I can spend between 20 minutes to an hour on it.

Have you ever stretched the truth, exaggerated, or lied on your resume, or at some other point during the hiring process?

√ No

When would you like employers to contact you?

√ To acknowledge my application
√ To tell me if I have or have not been selected to move on to the interview stage
√ To follow-up after an interview
√ Once the position has been filled, even if it’s not me

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Email

Which events during the interview/visit are most important to your assessment of the position (i.e. deciding if you want the job)?

√ Tour of facility
√ Meeting department members/potential co-workers

What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?

Accurately describe the position in the ad. I have applied to several jobs I felt qualified for only to receive an email stating that I did not meet certain qualifications (though these were not originally in the job posting).

What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?

Not beat around the bush about a time to meet. I have gone back and forth with several hiring commitees about dates and times. Never did they suggest a date/time and when I would make a suggestion it would be shot down and when I said I could meet a their convienence I was told to submit a date/time that worked for me.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Nepotism. Or luck. Sheer luck-I was interviewed and as I was leaving one of the librarians came after me to ask me to meet with the college President because they wanted me to start the following week.

For some context, take a look at the most recently published summary of responses.

Are you hunting for a new LIS job? Take the survey! http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibJOBHUNTERsurvey

This survey was co-authored by Naomi House from I Need A Library Job – Do you need one?  Check it out!

Leave a comment

Filed under Academic, Archives, Job hunter's survey, MLIS Students, Northeastern US, Public, Special, Suburban area

Power Point is dead and shows how behind the times you are.

Astor Market - Demonstrating CoffeeThis anonymous interview is with an public librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Adult, Teen, Youth and Cataloging Librarians.

This librarian works at a library in a rural area in the Western US.

Approximately how many people applied for the last librarian (or other professional level) job at your workplace?

√ 25 or fewer

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 25% or less

And how would you define “hirable”?

They had more than 2 years experience and had their MLS or MLIS.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

HR screens for the minimum qualification, sends the apps to the hiring committee and then usually 5-10 applicants are chosen for interviews.

What is the most common reason for disqualifying an applicant without an interview?

They do not have their MLS.

Do you (or does your library) give candidates feedback about applications or interview performance?

√ No

What is the most important thing for a job hunter to do in order to improve his/her/their hirability?

Be up on the latest technology and library trends

I want to hire someone who is

Innovative

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 10-50

How many permanent, full time librarian (or other professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ 5-6

How many permanent, full time para-professional (or other non-professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ 3-4

Can you tell us how the number of permanent, full-time librarian positions at your workplace has changed over the past decade?

√ There are more positions

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with part-time or hourly workers over the past decade?

√ No

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with para-professional workers over the past decade?

√ Yes

Does your workplace require experience for entry-level professional positions? If so, is it an official requirement or just what happens in practice?

Yes, it is a requirement.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

Younger librarians, i.e. Millennials, tend to be more technologically savvy and innovative. They aren’t afraid of change, initiating change or coming up with new programs to pull in new users. Those librarians who value continuing education will grow in their profession regardless of age and will mentor Millennials through management and coaching.

Do you have any other comments, for job hunters or about the survey?

Bring examples of your work, for example in Prezi or Animoto presentation style. Power Point is dead and shows how behind the times you are.

Do you hire librarians?  Take this survey: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibjobmarketsurvey or take other Hiring Librarians surveys.

For some context, look at the most recent summary of responses.

Leave a comment

Filed under Public, Rural area, State of the Job Market 2015, Western US

Don’t take it personally that you can’t b a finalist for each one.

Children Lined Up at the Librarian's Desk, NYPL ca. 1910This anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee . This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Reference/Instruction, branch unit heads, tech service/cataloging, web librarian, digital humanities/scholarly communication, instructional design.

This librarian works at a library with 50-100 staff members in the Northeastern US.

Do library schools teach candidates the job skills you are looking for in potential hires?

√ Depends on the school/Depends on the candidate

Should library students focus on learning theory or gaining practical skills? (Where 1 means Theory, 5 means practice, and 3 means both equally)

2

What coursework do you think all (or most) MLS/MLIS holders should take, regardless of focus?

√ Cataloging
√ Budgeting/Accounting
√ Grant Writing
√ Project Management
√ Library Management
√ Collection Management
√ Metadata
√ History of Books/Libraries
√ Research Methods
√ Reference
√ Readers’ Advisory
√ Information Behavior
√ Marketing
√ Field Work/Internships

Do you find that there are skills that are commonly lacking in MLS/MLIS holders? If so, which ones?

Project & Budget Management, Interpersonal skills, Cataloging (which amazes me that so many LIS schools now do not require it)

When deciding who to hire out of a pool of candidates, do you value skills gained through coursework and skills gained through practice differently?

√ No preference–as long as they have the skill, I don’t care how they got it

Which skills (or types of skills) do you expect a new hire to learn on the job (as opposed to at library school)?

Collection Development, ILS usage

Which of the following experiences should library students have upon graduating?

√ Library work experience
√ Internship or practicum
√ Professional organization involvement

Which library schools give candidates an edge (you prefer candidates from these schools)?

The ones that enforce a more holistic curriculum. I want to know candidates at least learned about different aspects of librarianship.

Are there any library schools whose alumni you would be reluctant to hire?

The ones that crank out graduates who then bemoan that they should have gone to trade school.

What advice do you have for students who want to make the most of their time in library school?

Learn the history & theory behind WHY things are done certain ways in the Library world. It’s a lot easier to enact change when you know the whole story. Just coming into an interview or job and saying your new theories are better… you are basically just creating antagonism.

Also, have some sort of customer service work experience, library or no.

(These both are basically people skills)

Do you have any other comments, for library schools or students, or about the survey?

We often get several hundred applicants for each job and most are of equal experience. Don’t take it personally that you can’t b a finalist for each one.

For some context, take a look at the most recently published summary of responses to this survey, or specific analysis of the responses discussing online school, the amount of coursework students should take, and preferences/reluctances for candidates from certain schools.

Do you hire librarians?  Tell us your answer to, “What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School?”: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibschoolsurvey

This survey was coauthored by Brianna Marshall from Hack Library School. Interested in progressive blogging, by, for, and about library students? Check it out!

Leave a comment

Filed under 50-100 staff members, Academic, Northeastern US, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

We do give preference to candidates who have some library experience, even if it that experience was as a volunteer

Astor Market - Demonstrating CoffeeThis anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee a human resources professional. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Reference Librarians, Children’s Librarians, Programming Librarians and Branch Managers

This librarian works at a library in a suburban area in the Southern US.

Approximately how many people applied for the last librarian (or other professional level) job at your workplace?

√ 25-75

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 25% or less

And how would you define “hirable”?

They must meet the minimum requirements for the position (education, experience, etc.).

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

It depends on the position. Usually the direct supervisor takes the first pass through the applications, and narrows down the choices, then works with their supervisor to identify 3-6 candidates to interview.

What is the most common reason for disqualifying an applicant without an interview?

They don’t meet the educational requirements for the job, which are clearly stated in the job description. I have also disqualified candidates due to excessive spelling and/or grammatical errors.

Do you (or does your library) give candidates feedback about applications or interview performance?

√ Other:  If we interview them and don’t hire them, we do send a letter thanking them for the interview and letting them know kindly that they did not get the job.

What is the most important thing for a job hunter to do in order to improve his/her/their hirability?

READ THE JOB DESCRIPTION!! Be sure that they meet the minimum requirements for the position. Double check the application for spelling and grammatical errors, and be sure to use proper capitalization and punctuation on the application. Include a cover letter introducing themselves and telling the hiring manager why they might be the best candidate for the job – it isn’t always evident from their resume and application.

I want to hire someone who is 

enthusiastic

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 50-100

How many permanent, full time librarian (or other professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ 5-6

How many permanent, full time para-professional (or other non-professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ 3-4

Can you tell us how the number of permanent, full-time librarian positions at your workplace has changed over the past decade?

√ There are the same number of positions

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with part-time or hourly workers over the past decade?

√ No

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with para-professional workers over the past decade?

√ No

Does your workplace require experience for entry-level professional positions? If so, is it an official requirement or just what happens in practice?

We don’t require experience, but we do give preference to candidates who have some library experience, even if it that experience was as a volunteer.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

Librarianship is changing, but it is not dying. The way that people access information has changed, and it is true that there is much more information easily accessible online. Our patrons need us more now than they ever have to help them navigate that wealth of information, and to understand the difference between good information and bad.

Do you hire librarians?  Take this survey: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibjobmarketsurvey

Or take other Hiring Librarians surveys.

Leave a comment

Filed under Public, Southern US, State of the Job Market 2015, Suburban area

standing desks, work that doesn’t involve a desk, flex schedules

New York Public Library Central Information, n.d.This anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field), has been hired within the last two months, and has been looking for a new position for More than 18 months. This person is looking in Academic libraries, Archives, Public libraries, Special libraries, retail, technology, museums, nonprofits at the following levels: Requiring at least two years of experience, Supervisory. This new grad/entry level applicant has internship/volunteering experience:

I worked in libraries for ten years before completing my MLIS while working full time. I have 3 years of experience in archives, 4 in reference and instruction in academic libraries, and 3 in metadata and database management. I have been programming websites and doing graphic design on the side on and off during those 10 years, and my undergraduate degree is in graphic design.

This job hunter is in an urban area, in the  Western US, and is willing to move here, or back to my hometown.

What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?

Ability to interact with and impact communities and colleagues. Opportunities to advance further. Support for physical and mental health (work life balance – standing desks, work that doesn’t involve a desk, flex schedules)

Where do you look for open positions?

Go directly to the website of the library I’m interested in. Regional job lists. Friends and colleagues.

Do you expect to see salary range listed in a job ad?

√ Only for certain kinds of employers

What’s your routine for preparing an application packet? How much time do you spend on it?

I print the description and save a pdf copy for later reference in case I lose the paper version, make notes and highlight specifics, tailor my resume to match specific terms used in the description. Research the hiring institution well enough to write a cover letter that reflects similar values and mission. Fill out application if necessary and submit materials. 3-4 hours, sometimes less if there isn’t a long application form.

Have you ever stretched the truth, exaggerated, or lied on your resume, or at some other point during the hiring process?

√ No

When would you like employers to contact you?

√ To tell me if I have or have not been selected to move on to the interview stage
√ To follow-up after an interview

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Phone for good news, email for bad news

Which events during the interview/visit are most important to your assessment of the position (i.e. deciding if you want the job)?

√ Tour of facility
√ Meeting department members/potential co-workers

What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?

I think employers are oversaturated with great candidates right now. I don’t believe that more steps in the application process is a good way to weed out candidates, though! My favorite job to date involved a group interview of 5 potential candidates together. It was a much more natural way to interact and really see everyone’s personality and ability to stay positive in a competitive group situation.

What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?

Communicate with candidates. It does not take a lot of time or effort to send a rejection email!

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Knowing people who know the hiring committee.

Do you have any comments, or are there any other questions you think we should add to this survey?

Thank you for blogging about the hiring process!!! It is always eye opening and has helped me to understand what goes on behind the scenes.

A question you might add is one that asked how many applications one has sent out (and how many interviews , rejections, radio silence / zero responses)

I am also interested in how other job hunters handle references; do they choose specific people for different positions or how do you keep your references in the loop when you are applying to so many jobs (without being a nag)?

For some context, take a look at the most recently published summary of responses.

Are you hunting for a new LIS job? Take the survey! http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibJOBHUNTERsurvey

This survey was co-authored by Naomi House from I Need A Library Job – Do you need one?  Check it out!

Leave a comment

Filed under Academic, Archives, Job hunter's survey, MLIS Students, Public, Special, Urban area, Western US

I emailed all applicants for the YA position, and included a sentence or two on why they were not chosen to be interviewed

Emily Passey
Emily Passey is the Assistant Director for
Shorewood Public Library, in Shorewood, WI (a suburb of Milwaukee). She is proud of her library’s strong relationships with community businesses and organizations and her own presentations at two library conferences in spring of 2014. When not at work, you can find her hanging out with her greyhound, Swift. She is on Twitter (although not particularly active) @emilybrarian , and you can find her on LinkedIn.
She told us a little bit about her own job hunt,

I just moved to my position, which requires me to hire circulation staff and assist with hiring librarians, in August 2014. Before that, I was the young adult librarian at Shorewood Library for about two years. To get that job I applied for 45 jobs, and interviewed for 15!

Ms. Passey has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. She hires the following types of LIS professionals:

clerks (para-professionals)
assist with hiring professional librarians in all areas of library

Approximately how many people applied for the last librarian (or other professional level) job at your workplace?

√ 25-75

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 26-50 %

And how would you define “hirable”?

Meets the job qualifications of required education and experience level.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

Applications are evaluated by me. Top applicants for librarian positions are then reviewed by the Library Director. All other hires go only through me.

What is the most common reason for disqualifying an applicant without an interview?

Experience does not match job requirements. We recently filled a Young Adult Librarian position for which at least 50% of applicants were disqualified because they lacked public library experience and/or experience working with youth in any capacity.

Do you (or does your library) give candidates feedback about applications or interview performance?

√ Yes.  – I emailed all applicants for the YA position, and included a sentence or two on why they were not chosen to be interviewed. Those we interviewed received a more detailed email on why they were not chosen for the position.

What is the most important thing for a job hunter to do in order to improve his/her/their hirability?

For librarian jobs: Get the experience you want to use to apply for the job you want. Volunteer, intern, do whatever it takes to gain relevant experience doing what you are interested in, and apply to jobs which match that experience.

I want to hire someone who is

motivated

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 10-50

How many permanent, full time librarian (or other professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ 1

How many permanent, full time para-professional (or other non-professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ 1

Can you tell us how the number of permanent, full-time librarian positions at your workplace has changed over the past decade?

√ Other: I’ve been here for just over two years. In that time, we have changed our focus to better match our perceived community needs by replacing a Technology Manager/Librarian with a Community & Adult Services Librarian. We have also added one permanent, full-time librarian (administrator) position in the form of Assistant Director, which we did two years ago when the paraprofessional Circulation Manager retired.

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with part-time or hourly workers over the past decade?

√ No

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with para-professional workers over the past decade?

√ Yes – I believe one has.

Does your workplace require experience for entry-level professional positions? If so, is it an official requirement or just what happens in practice?

For paraprofessionals (all are entry-level) and/or other hires such as shelvers: no. We do not require experience.
No librarian job is considered entry level, because we do not have multiple middle management positions into which librarians can be promoted. All librarian hires need to have relevant experience. It is an official requirement.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Do you hire librarians? Take this survey: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibjobmarketsurvey or take other Hiring Librarians surveys.

For some context, look at the most recent summary of responses.

Leave a comment

Filed under Midwestern US, Public, State of the Job Market 2015