She had shown so much hustle on her resume it showed how hard she is willing to work

Man selling dill at vegetable market in Stockholm 1951This anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Children’s librarians, para-professionals.

This librarian works at a library with 200+ 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?

√ 25 or fewer

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 51-75 %

And how would you define “hirable”?

Has the degree, experience, interest required for the job.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

HR makes sure all applicants have the degree required or necessary experience required.

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

No direct experience if there are more qualified applicants.

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?

Make sure to have experience–even if it as an intern, volunteer, etc. The last librarian I hired didn’t have a lot of experience as a librarian but she had shown so much hustle on her resume it showed how hard she is willing to work. Don’t have gaps in your work if possible. Even if you can’t find a full-time position in your field of choice right away, find somewhere you can work part-time or volunteer to keep your skills sharp while you look.

I want to hire someone who is

personable.

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 200+

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?

√ 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 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?

√ No

Why or why not?

Librarians have been around for thousands of years in some capacity. I think we will be around because our communities rely on us for a variety of things–literacy, technology, etc. As long as we keep ourselves as a vital part of our communities and meet their needs, we will be around.

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

Be positive! You can always train skills but you can’t change somebody’s personality. How you will fit in a department is just as important as your 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 200+ staff members, Northeastern US, Public, State of the Job Market 2015, Suburban area

Students and faculty alike usually turn to the librarian when finding relevant information is required.

M. Robertson florists, Grainger 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

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 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?

√ Other: 0

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ Other: n/a

And how would you define “hirable”?

A person who holds an MLS or is near completion of the degree and meets the other qualifications of the position.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

All applicants are evaluated by the search committee established to recommend the applicant to be hired.

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

They lack credible background or experience for the positions duties or responsibilities.

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 cover letter that identifies the skills and experience she/he has that relates to the position for which they have applied.

I want to hire someone who is

Competent

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 fewer 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

Why or why not?

Information systems are changing, but the need for information professional is increasing. Students and faculty alike usually turn to the librarian when finding relevant information is required.

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

We have hired new librarians

Man selling artichokes at vegetable market in Stockholm 1951This 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 and children’s librarians, branch managers

This librarian works at a library 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?

√ 25 or fewer

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 51-75 %

And how would you define “hirable”?

Have required education and experience.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

Interview committee of 3 people (staff who will work with new hire and branch manager) see all applications and evaluate them.

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

Applicants don’t have specific experience we are looking for.

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

√ Other: always a thank you letter. Other feedback is given if requested.

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

Be specific and complete in applications, resume and cover letter. In interviews, tell us what you can do and like to do. Give us enough information, but don’t be overly talkative. Be enthusiastic!

I want to hire someone who is

customer-oriented!

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?

√ 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 fewer 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?

Experience is preferred but not required for professional positions. We have hired new librarians.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

Librarianship doesn’t mean exactly the same thing as it did 20-30 years ago, but we still need librarians! Our knowledge base has changed, and we no longer work in a single area. We need to be more diversified.

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 Public, State of the Job Market 2015, Suburban area, Western US

I would rather hire somebody who has a ton of IT experience or has a PhD in education or who actually understands about research than a person who only has an MLIS

Paramaribo market scene. Women and men. 1922.This 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:

just librarians, plain and simple

This librarian 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?

√ 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”?

someone who met our characteristics of what we specified in the job description. We even had people apply who didn’t yet have their degrees. That job was specifically for someone with supervisory experience, and hardly anybody had that.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

HR doesn’t weed out any. They are evaluated by a committee using the position announcement.

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

They don’t have any professional library experience at all.

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

√ Other: sometimes

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

In your resume, don’t give me the generic “sat at reference desk, delivered instruction” when describing your reference & instruction experience. I already know exactly what a reference & instruction librarian does. Tell me HOW YOU MADE A DIFFERENCE.

Oh yeah, and get a crapload of IT knowledge too.

I want to hire someone who is

ambitious

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: 0

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?

Even for entry-level professional positions, we look for experience, like an internship or a grad student job in a library. We have in the past specifically advertised for “new graduates” with 5 years or less since their MLIS. But even those, we were looking for someone with a little experience.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ Yes

Why or why not?

In the sense that you need a “library degree.” That was just a hoop to jump through 25 years ago, and it’s a hoop to jump through now. I would rather hire somebody who has a ton of IT experience or has a PhD in education or who actually understands about research than a person who only has an MLIS. The MLIS is just for enculturation. There is NOTHING, and I mean nothing, unique about library knowledge. Give me a good, knowledgeable person, and I can indoctrinate them into librarianship on the job.

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

Be bold — take a chance and apply for positions that excite you

Market scene. Women and men. 1922 2This 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:

Catalogers; instruction librarians; reference librarians / subject liaisons (though a second masters in a subject specialty is not required); electronic resources librarians; digital resources librarians; special collections/archives librarians; government documents librarians

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 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 or fewer

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ Other: about half

And how would you define “hirable”?

Possessed the required MLS degree (or equivalent degree).
Had at least minimal experience being in a library, whether paid or unpaid, for instance as a volunteer, student worker, or graduate-school intern.
Able to present himself professionally in cover letter and application (used appropriate language and style, demonstrated good writing mechanics, etc.).
Demonstrated something compelling about himself as an applicant (e.g., not just “I had a job” but “I accomplished this and contributed this value to my employer”).
Ability to communicate clearly and professionally during a telephone interview (providing complete yet concise answers and not babbling incessantly).

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

Applications are submitted in an online system and visible to a committee (composed of library faculty and staff, appointed by the library director). The committee weeds out applications which lack posted requirements, such as MLS or equivalent degree, or years of experience if required for a particular position. Then the committee evaluates the remaining applications and selects the top three candidates for telephone interviews, which are scored on a rubric. Based on those telephone interviews, candidates are invited for on-site interviews (after references are checked) or else additional applicants are selected to be interviewed by phone.

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

1. No MLS or equivalent degree.
2. Signs of frequent “job-hopping” in the employment history, or unusual gaps in the employment history which are not explained in application or cover letter.
3. Extremely poor writing and presentation in cover letter and application.

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?

Ask a professional, or someone you trust and respect, to review your cover letter and application for clarity, professionalism, and a compelling presentation of your achievements and contributions. Your cover letter is your first impression, long before you get a chance to make a first impression in person, so be sure that it presents a person with whom we would be excited to have a conversation.

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?

√ 3-4

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?

Entry-level professional positions do not officially require experience. In practice, we tend to prefer candidates who have at least had “exposure” to a library via a graduate school practicum/internship or even as a volunteer. However, we do regularly hire entry-level professional librarians with no paid library experience.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

Titles may change, and daily tasks may change, but information management is becoming more essential than ever in our information-overload society. I think one important key to remaining relevant is to be able to articulate your skills in the broader terms of information management, not just in terms of traditional libraries, books, serials, etc. Remaining relevant also requires a willingness to diversify and learn new skills, especially with respect to technology.

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

Be bold — take a chance and apply for positions that excite you, even if you aren’t sure you have all the needed skills. You might be surprised how small or poorly qualified an applicant pool can sometimes be, and if your application presents you as a compelling, enthusiastic, motivated candidate, that may count for more than specific skills which can be learned.

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

Further Questions: Do employers even look at portfolios?

This week we asked people who hire librarians

What is your perspective on portfolios, especially if they are mostly comprised of class projects? Some library schools build them into coursework as a graduation requirement. Are they useful or influential in the hiring process? Do employers even look at them? If so, does format (electronic vs. print) matter?

Christine Hage - Dark backgroundNot really interested in portfolios.  Sometimes the web pages are interesting, but I haven’t seen anything super impressive.
I’m much more interested in personality.  What kind of work ethic does the person have?  What kind of customer service skills?  Do they have any library experience?  Have they worked anywhere as a volunteer?
- Christine Hage, Director, Rochester Hills Public Library

I’ve never been given a portfolio as part of an application. Resumes, yes, but portfolios, no. I’m not sure when it might be useful, unless I was advertising for a very specific job and the portfolio showcased skills needed for that position. But for the kinds positions I’ve hired-general reference or public service librarians, I can’t really think of how a portfolio could be any more helpful than a well-crafted resume and/or solid work experience.

- Margaret M. Neill, Regional Library Branch Manager, Main Library, El Paso Public Library

Julie TodaraI like it when applicants send or bring portfolios to the interview. While it is not practical to think that employers would look at it during the interview, it is great to have someone provide something to review post-interview. Also, it is my opinion that employers understand that recent grads have content from their coursework. With that in mind; however, it is important that people choose class projects that relate to the jobs they want…so if you are applying for work with me at the college and it’s for reference, a portfolio of technical services projects (or visa versa) – while helpful by design and delivery – is less helpful than a reference class project. If that’s all you have for us though…connect the dots for me…that is, indicate what about it contributed to or formed your skill sets…. the instructional design, the webpage success illustrated by metrics, etc.
I also love to get podcasts, streaming video, a CD/DVD of a body of work OR a webpage designed by the applicant. That being said, you need to have been responsible for all of it…so a LibGuide or SubjectsPlus or a teaching or IL presentation should be content ONLY from you.
So they ARE helpful or useful and can be influential (especially when the content relates to the institution you are interviewing with)…YES, we look at them and while the general format answer is “it depends” in today’s market you can prepare something in print but I would have a e-component to it.
- Julie Todaro, Dean, Library Services, Austin Community College

I have found portfolios to be very helpful, especially when hiring librarians for children’s work. And for a position in Graphics, it was essential.

- Kaye Grabb, Lake Forest 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

Be interested in the job.

Market day, KillarneyThis anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a hiring manager. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

clerks & pages.

This librarian works at a library with 0-10 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?

√ Other: Only me.

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ Other: Only me.

And how would you define “hirable”?

Had all qualifications.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

Education, experience.

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

√ Other: If the applicant requests it.

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

Be interested in the job.

I want to hire someone who is

dependable.

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?

√ 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?

Yes. Experience is preferred.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

No. It’s changing, but not 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 0-10 staff members, Midwestern US, Public, Rural area, State of the Job Market 2015