Write a good cover letter. Be patient with the process.

Queipo Market in Little Havana - MiamiThis anonymous interview is with a librarian working in a joint-use facility 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 & subject specialist

This librarian works at a library with 50-100 staff members 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?

√ 75-100

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 26-50 %

And how would you define “hirable”?

Applicants who met the basic Job requirements

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

I will head a search committee who use a rubric

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

Do not meet basic requirements such as already have MLS or number of years required

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?

Write a good cover letter

I want to hire someone who is

Innovative

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?

√ 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 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?

No

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

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

Make sure you are qualified for the position for which you are applying. Write a good cover letter. Be patient with the process.

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.

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Filed under 50-100 staff members, Southern US, State of the Job Market 2015, Suburban area

It was never about the books – they’re just the containers!

Vegetable and flower seller and stall, Pike Place Market, Seattle, WashingtonThis 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:

Library assistants, research librarian posts, teaching librarian posts

This librarian works at a library with 0-10 staff members in an urban area in the UK.

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?

√ 26-50 %

And how would you define “hirable”?

meet the requirements of the job

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

HR and hiring manager look separately at every application at professional level.

We check how well they meet requirements in each area of the person specification, grading from 0 (none) through to 4 (exceeds requirements) and add notes where there are other particularly positive (ooh look, they’ve also done this!) or negative (they didn’t use capital letters when writing their name!) points.

We then meet to compare notes and shortlist candidates. We’ve done this twice so far and the results were remarkably similar each time.

The rubric is taken directly from the person specification in the job description, so if you’re applying for jobs in the UK make sure you highlight each one/have equivalent experience/can quickly gain those requirements!

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

Doesn’t show that they meet the requirements of the post. The threshold can vary for this – if there are a lot of qualified applicants you need to meet/exceed every point to get a look in. If it’s a rarer position /fewer likely to meet the requirements it’s definitely more worth an application because you’re more likely to get shortlist even if you’re missing a couple of requirements.

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

√ Other: On request

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

Keep up to date with key developments in the area your working in, e.g. Information literacy and educational technology for teaching roles, scholarly communication for research roles.

I want to hire someone who is

Astute

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 0-10

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

√ 2

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?

√ 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?

Our library doesn’t currently have any entry level professional positions, it’s a very small library within a larger network of libraries. In our library the lowest professional posts still require a qualification and some relevant experience.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

It was never about the books – they’re just the containers! Librarianship increases in importance the more information and data there is to navigate. The roles evolve to meet specific needs, as good ones always have.

Note:  We do correct typos, here at Hiring Librarians.  This one was really funny: In answer to the question about how applications are evaluated, respondent originally put: “HR and hiring manager lol separately at every application at professional level.”

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.

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Filed under 0-10 staff members, Academic, State of the Job Market 2015, UK, Urban area

I find that new librarians cannot function without a computer.

View of street vendors at 7th and B Streets, NW (Ca. 1880) MarketThis anonymous interview is with a 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:

Children’s and Young Adult

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in a suburban area in the Southwest 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?

√ Other: 1 out of 15

And how would you define “hirable”?

Had an MLS and some experience in public libraries either professional or non-professional

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

They are evaluated by the evaluated by the hiring manager (in this case me) I rate education, experience in public library and in this case interest in teen programming

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

Did not meet minimum requirements

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?

Show good customer service traits (pleasant, engaging, calm )

I want to hire someone who is

enthusiastic

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?

√ 2

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

√ 5-6

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?

Yes, but the experience can be as a library assistant and I also count part-time experience, internships, and student employment

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ Yes

Why or why not?

I find that new librarians cannot function without a computer. They can’t find non-fiction or do reader’s advisory without a computer. Also reference seems to becoming obsolete. Cataloging is outsourced and lots of collection development is also.

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.

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Filed under 10-50 staff members, Public, State of the Job Market 2015, Suburban area

We need to constantly change to survive.

Young boy tending freshly stocked fruit and vegetable stand at Center Market, 02181915This anonymous interview is with a 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:

Reference librarians, Children’s librarians and Librarian Specialists (a specific specialty like Art, Music and Special Collections). All managers are librarians except the circ manager and one budget manager.

This librarian works at a library with 50-100 staff members in an urban area in the Western US.

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

√ more than 100, but less than 200

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 25% or less

And how would you define “hirable”?

Met the minimum requirements.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

Sometimes the HR staff will review first to eliminate the applicants who obviously do not meet the minimum requirements then the hiring manager in the library will review the rest though they can always look at the entire group.

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

Does not meet the minimum requirements and there are plenty of applicants that do meet the requirements.

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

√ Other: The HR department will give feedback about an interview upon request. It is done in person and not in writing.

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

Be honest. Read the job description and requirements carefully.

I want to hire someone who is

forward-thinking!

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?

√ 2

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

√ Other: 0

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

√ There are fewer positions

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

√ Yes

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 and official.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

It is a never ending evolving profession. It could die if those in the profession do not want to change but I think there are enough who realize we need to constantly change to survive.

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.

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Filed under 50-100 staff members, Public, State of the Job Market 2015, Urban area, Western US

We bypassed HR because they worked too slowly and still passed through the bad applications.

Outdoor urban market sceneThis anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Subject liaisons. I’m just another librarian in the department, but I get put on a lot of search committees.

This librarian works at a library with 50-100 staff members 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”?

Having the basic requirements we asked for in the job listing.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

We bypassed HR because they worked too slowly and still passed through the bad applications. We have a search committee of the position supervisor plus a few faculty and a staff member in related positions who go through the applications and decide who to contact.

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

Lack of area expertise (we’re looking for subject librarians).

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?

Apply for jobs you’re actually qualified for. If you’re straight out of library school, make an effort in the cover letter to explain how your prior experience meets our requirements. If you can, intern in a library doing work related to the job you want.

I want to hire someone who is

competent

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?

√ 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 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 generally do prefer a bit of experience, but we’ll give a newbies a chance with an interview. They usually make a hash of it, so I can see that changing.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ Other: I’d say mutating, not dying.

Why or why not?

Finding the right information is difficult in a different way these days. We need to change our role to fit the new needs.

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

With so many people applying for every open position, you need to have something about you that makes you particularly interesting and well-suited to the job. If you blend in to the crowd, you’re not going to get anywhere in this market.

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.

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Filed under 50-100 staff members, Academic, Southern US, State of the Job Market 2015, Suburban area

Just as with any other profession, the stereotype does not meet the needs of today’s every changing work environment.

Paramaribo market scene. Woman seated with baskets of produce. 1922.This anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a hiring manager. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Reference Librarians and Catalogers

This librarian works at a library with 100-200 staff members in a suburban area in the Western US.

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

√ 75-100

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 25% or less

And how would you define “hirable”?

Combination of experience, education, and enthusiasm.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

Human Resources first to meet minimum requirements. Then vetted by department and hiring manager.

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

Not meeting minimum requirements, next would be overwhelming highly qualified candidates then disqualifying those that meet minimum requirements.

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?

Practice interviewing

I want to hire someone who is

customer service driven

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 100-200

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?

√ 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?

no, but in practice

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

Libraries keep coming up with ways to reinvent and invigorate the profession. Just as with any other profession, the stereotype does not meet the needs of today’s every changing work environment. Doctors don’t use little black bags anymore, but we still have doctors. They just now use all the wonderful tools at their disposal to provide better service, just like Librarians.

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.

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Filed under 100-200 staff members, Public, State of the Job Market 2015, Suburban area

Further Questions: What is the most productive way to spend your pre-employment unemployment?

This week we asked people who hire librarians

What can recent grads do to make themselves more appealing to employers? What is the most productive way to spend your pre-employment unemployment?

Laurie Phillips

1.       Read – read journals in your field. Keep up on what’s going on. You’ll do much better in interviews!

2.       Take the time to write excellent cover letters to address the qualifications employers are looking for. Also, do as much research on your future employers that you can so you can speak intelligently about how they work.

3.       Work – get a job in a library. Any job. Learn about working in libraries. I did a little bit of everything pre-graduation (special collections/archives, circulation, cataloging, music and art reference, computer lab assistant) and it all ended up serving me well. Even if you work in retail, you can use that to talk about your customer service philosophy.
– Laurie Phillips, Associate Dean for Technical Services, J. Edgar & Louise S. Monroe Library, Loyola University New Orleans

angelynn kingRead, read, read. Professional development doesn’t have to cost anything — there are a million sources of information out there that will enable you to keep current in the profession. Librarianship is about lifelong learning, and if you stop learning when you receive your MLS, you will not be able to impress a search committee.
-Angelynn King, Head Librarian, Delaware Technical Community College, Owens Campus

J. McRee ElrodVolunteer work to gain experience.
Study another language.
Learn to program.
 

 
 

 
– J. McRee (Mac) Elrod, Special Libraries Catalouging

 

Christine Hage - Dark backgroundLook at your job experience and see where you might be weak.

 

  • If you have never worked in a library get a volunteer position that you can list.
  • If you have web skills, offer them to a non-profit so you can provide samples of your work for future employers.
  • If you want to work in children’s services make sure you have experience working with children.  Offer free story times at a local bookstore, day care center or church.
  • If you have decent computer skills offer free training to senior citizens or children in a community center or senior housing development.
  • If you have any journalist skills write articles for your small local newspapers or newsletters.

 

I believe it is important that you are a person spreading the library word, even if you have yet to land a library job.

– Christine Hage, Director, Rochester Hills Public Library

 

Thank you as always to our contributors for their time and insight.  If you’re someone who hires librarians and are interested in participating in this feature, please email us at hiringlibrariansquestionsATgmail.com.

Thank YOU for reading!  If you liked reading, you’re going to really love COMMENTING.

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Filed under Further Questions