Further Questions: Which would draw fewer red flags, an application packet with no listed address or an address that does not match the listed work experience?

This week we asked people who hire librarians this question from a reader:

I’m applying for multiple jobs out of state and have seen on this site (and in my experience) that extra consideration is given to local applicants. I’m available to move to the locations where I’m applying at the drop of a hat, so I’m listing the addresses where I would stay (with family, my S.O., etc) until I could formally move. The problem is, I’m not currently working there, so my most recent experience isn’t there either. I mentioned this problem to a coworker, and she suggested not including an address at all, since she does that (with decent success) and insists that the hiring managers don’t need to know where you live until the negotiation phase starts. I see her point, but this seems equally problematic to me.

In short, this is my question: which would draw fewer red flags, an application packet with no listed address or an address that does not match the listed work experience?

 

Jessica OlinMy advice, based on seeing someone do this successfully, is to list the local address and explain it in the cover letter. Something like, “I am already planning to move to that area, so I was thrilled to see this opening,” should do the trick.
– Jessica Olin, Director of Parker Library, Wesley College

Celia RabinowitzThere are certainly some advantages to candidates who already live locally.  They won’t need relocation support if it is available, they already know the area which can help if there are geographic or demographic challenges (I have experienced both), and it is a lot less expensive to bring them to campus.  So a local candidate who is competitive might allow a search committee to expand an on-campus interview pool to 4 rather than the usual 3 if adding them does not add appreciably to the cost.

But – that all only applies if the candidate qualified and is competitive.  I have run searches that eliminated many applicants who lived fairly close to the institution because they were not strong candidates.  Advertising regionally or nationally should mean that all candidates are given equal consideration.

My advice is not to leave your current address off of your materials.  I think that would raise a red flag to a committee much more quickly than including your current address.  I also think it is not necessary to indicate that you are willing to move or that you have a place to stay.  If you are applying then you are ready to move.  I have seen people include such information in a cover letter when they write about why they are interested in the job – perhaps family live close by and the applicant is interested in moving closer to family which would be nice.  Perhaps it is in a part of the country the applicant wants to live in. I would just be careful not to make it seem as if those reasons are the primary ones you are interested in the job.

– Celia Rabinowitz,  Dean of Mason Library at Keene State College in Keene, NH

Definitely include an address; no address would be a concern for us. We expect that if someone is applying for a job where they do not have current experience, we would think that either that person lived in the area now or would move if offered the job.

– Kaye Grabbe, Lake Forest Library

Marleah AugustineI would imagine that an application with no listed address would draw more red flags — I don’t think it would necessarily be a dealbreaker, if the experience and qualifications were a good fit for the position, but it would definitely warrant some investigation. An address that doesn’t match the listed work experience can be easily explained if the question comes up. This is something that should be included in a cover letter as well, explaining that you’re temporarily staying in the area during the application process. However, that could lead to a sticky situation if they then want you to come on short notice for an interview if you would need to arrange time off from a current position or travel.

– Marleah Augustine, Adult Department Librarian at Hays Public Library

angelynn kingAn application without an address would seem odd. What if the prospective employer needed to send you something in the mail?
 

-Angelynn King, Head Librarian, Delaware Technical Community College, Owens Campus

 

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

The job doesn’t always go to the most experienced candidate

Queipo Market in Little Havana - MiamiThis 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:

Instruction/reference librarians
electronic resources librarians

This librarian works at a library with 0-10 staff members in a suburban area in the Midwestern 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”?

A combination of the right level of experience and prospective fit within the current team/system. The job doesn’t always go to the most experienced candidate – fit and specific skills can be important.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

Everything gets passed on to us (no HR pre-weed) and a hiring committee made up of professional library staff decides who to interview and ultimately hire.

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

We’re a smaller institution with a specific mission, so we’re often looking for people with really specific experiences and interests.

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 that gets right to the point and addresses the main job qualifications. Present a clear, strong case for why you are a good match with the skills we’re looking for.

I want to hire someone who is

dynamic

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?

√ 1

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

√ 2

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?

It’s not required, but even for the entry-level positions we usually get tons of applicants with experience.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

Shrinking and changing, but not dying. Information science is still a unique skill set that is hard to replicate or do without when it’s needed.

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, Midwestern US, State of the Job Market 2015, Suburban area

We have limited time to conduct interviews, so we usually choose the top three candidates

Vegetable and flower seller and stall, Pike Place Market, Seattle, WashingtonThis 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 librarians and library technicians

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in an urban area in Canada .

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”?

Met the basic requirements of the job description.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

Two or more librarians usually form a hiring committee.

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

Not have the basic requirements (education). We have limited time to conduct interviews, so we usually choose the top three candidates (based on to what extent they meet other criteria we have set out like years of experience, relevant experience, interests relating to the job).

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

√ Yes

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

Keep the cover letter under one page, in a normal sized font.

I want to hire someone who is

awesome

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?

We usually ask for 1-2 years experience for entry level positions, but have often hired candidates with less experience or directly out of school.

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.

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

meet 50% of the required qualifications presented on the job description

View of street vendors at 7th and B Streets, NW (Ca. 1880) 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:

We hire in areas relevant to higher education (so not children’s librarians)…but most others.

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 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?

√ 25-75

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 25% or less

And how would you define “hirable”?

meet 50% of the required qualifications presented on the job description.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

First filtered by HR, and all applications are then forwarded to the hiring manager. Usually a small group, perhaps as small as two people, than review those who we may want to bring in for interviews.

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

Lack of experience.
If a new graduate did not do some sort of externship/intership in a library and they’ve never worked in one we will usually NOT bring them in for an interview (this would be for an entry level position). We do look at other work experience. For example, someone worked in another industry for years and later in life, eg, in their 30’s, went back for their MLIS, we consider their past work experience and the internship type experience becomes moot.

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

√ Other: Only upon request, and it would be very general at best.

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

During the interview we hire primarily for personality fit. Do your research on the company, the folks that work their and look for patterned behavior (eg, LinkedIn, Twitter, eg).

The resume should be a good fit and don’t over sell–humility is valued, hubris is not. Find the balance.

I want to hire someone who is

a nice and honest person.

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?

√ Other: 15

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

√ Other: 20

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?

Professional librarians usually are required to have 2-3 years experience, but we have hired new graduates because they were a great fit (personality) with the team. The 2-3 years experience is stated on the job description but we when the process is in motion we will sometimes overlook it. We do not expect any candidate to meet 100% of the qualifications but be able to learn any skills that are needed to perform the job.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

No. Librarians and many other professionals continue to adapt to an increasingly complex and interconnected world. Those who adapt do quite nicely. Those who unable to adapt…RIP.

The skills and work of the profession continues to change, and that is true of many professions. Continuous learning and critical thinking are universal skills that if not possessed in any professional will eventually catch up with the individual. The profession is fine. How the work is define continues to evolve and has for 1000’s of years.

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

Be honest and open to learning. And be yourself. Every place I’ve worked heavily weighed personality and how the person would work with the existing team as much as skills.

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, Academic, State of the Job Market 2015, Urban area, Western US

Don’t expect to hear from me if you have a MLS and no experience at all in a library.

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:

Catalogers, reference, YA, etc.

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in an urban 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”?

A minimum combination of experience and education.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

Committee. No weeding by HR.

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

Lack of minimum level experience or education.

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

√ Yes

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

Must have some experience, be it internship or practicum work. Don’t expect to hear from me if you have a MLS and no experience at all in a library.

I want to hire someone who is

qualified.

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?

√ 3-4

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 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?

√ I don’t know

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

Official requirement

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ I don’t know

Why or why not?

It’s dependent on administrators. If they are unwilling to even fight for professional positions, then yes, it is dying.

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, Southern US, State of the Job Market 2015, Urban area

This is a stupid fear we keep telling ourselves.

At center market. 11 year old celery vender. He sold until 11 P.M. and was out again Sunday morning selling papers and gum. Has been in this country only half a year. Washington D.C., 04131912This anonymous interview is with an archives library  employee who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. When asked, “Are you a librarian?”  this person responded, “It’s complicated.” This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Archivists

This person works at a library with 10-50 staff members in a suburban area in the Northeastern 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”?

Can write a cover letter, skills listed on resume matched job description, correct degree.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

My institution is small without a lot of policies/HR involvement. I review all the applications for the positions on my team.

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

Terrible writing/cover letters.

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

√ Other: Only if they ask

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

Learn to write a cover letter.

I want to hire someone who is

curious

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?

√ There are more positions

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

√ I don’t know

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

√ I don’t know

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

Totally depends. In the past our lower-level (paraprofessional, but we don’t use that term to describe them) jobs didn’t require an advanced degree. While they still don’t officially, many people with advanced degrees have applied and are in those positions. Professional positions (asst. level) do require a degree. Minimal experience is often listed as well, but that usually can be satisfied with internships or positions held during graduate school.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

This is a stupid fear we keep telling ourselves. Relevancy is based on our ability to adapt to new circumstances, and there’s a large amount of evidence that we’ve been able to do that.

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

Thank you for making the survey interesting and conversational. I think I elaborated more than I would normally because of that!

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, Archives, Northeastern US, State of the Job Market 2015, Suburban area

There may be librarians in the future, but they will need different skill sets from the past.

Man selling artichokes at vegetable market in Stockholm 1951This anonymous interview is with an academic library employee who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

subject librarians
technical services
archives
preservation
repository

This person works at a library with 100-200 staff members in a rural area in the Midwestern 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”?

Score about 75% on our qualifications matrix.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

By a search committee using a job skill matrix based on job requirements, but required and preferred.

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

Doesn’t score high enough on our matrix.

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

√ Other: If contacted

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

Make sure resume and letter of introduction speak to the job requirements.

I want to hire someone who is

collaborative

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?

√ 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 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?

No

Is librarianship a dying profession?

Yes

Why or why not?

Technology is automating many of the traditional roles of the librarian. There may be librarians in the future, but they will need different skill sets from the past.

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, Academic, Midwestern US, Rural area, State of the Job Market 2015