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

When you have many applicants, you do tend to prefer people with experience

Pike Place Market looking north, 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:

public library staff at all levels

This librarian works at a library with 50-100 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?

√ more than 100, but less than 200

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 26-50 %

And how would you define “hirable”?

Meet minimum qualifications – public library orientation – public service orientation

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

Yes. HR does the first cut. They use evaluation criteria that we provide.

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

Lack of minimum qualifications. Lack or experience, or experience that is not relevant.

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?

Get experience in a work environment similar to ours – volunteer or hourly is fine. We just need to know that they understand the reality of day-to-day public library work.

I want to hire someone who is

ambitious

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?

√ 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?

√ No

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

Just what happens in practice. When you have many applicants, you do tend to prefer people with experience, but it is not a requirement. Since the old-fashioned ivory tower image of what goes on in the public library is so different from reality, we hesitate to hire someone that we feel may not understand what the average public service library work day is like.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

If you can continue to change and respond to contemporary needs, the public library is still a very vital community anchor. Those libraries that can’t or won’t change and are doing the same old thing in the same old way will not survive. That goes for staff doing things in the same old way, afraid to change, or library school graduates looking for a “safe haven” , a “refuge from the world” or other completely realistic expectations of a library career.

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, Suburban area, Western US

There is nothing worse than seeing another organization’s name and job title on a cover letter.

Shulman's Market at the southeast corner of N Street and Union Street S.W., Washington, D.C., with a 1931 Chevrolet car parked in frontThis anonymous interview is with a 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:

Faculty librarians

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 or fewer

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 25% or less

And how would you define “hirable”?

Meet minimum qualifications for job as stated in job description.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

We have a very structured hiring process with all questions, rubrics, etc. approved by HR before the hiring process begins. Applications are screened to see if they meet minimum qualifications and then are ranked based on scores on how well the applicants meet the requirements and duties of the jobs. Evaluation occurs at the librarian committee level and at the Dean level.

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

Do not meet minimum qualifications.

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?

Read the job description and tailor your cover letter and resume/CV to our job. Also, proofread your materials before submission. There is nothing worse than seeing another organization’s name and job title on a cover letter.

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?

√ Other: 0, but we are about to post 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 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?

It depends on the position, but most no.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

It is a changing profession, but it isn’t dying. But you must be willing to always learn new skills and adapt to the changes in order to be competitive.

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 10-50 staff members, State of the Job Market 2015, Urban area, Western US

We haven’t hired for an entry-level position in many years.

Vegetable MArket in Stocklholm 1951This 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:

subject liaisons (reference/instruction), digital initiatives, electronic resources, archives, collection development

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?

√ 25 or fewer

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 25% or less

And how would you define “hirable”?

When I am hiring (either as chair of a search committee or as a member of a committee), I expect a successful (“hireable”) candidate to have the experience required for the position. I do read cover letters, so I expect the letters to be well written and descriptive. I am also open to interviewing candidates who might have slightly different but similar experiences and have the potential to succeed.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

All applications are reviewed by the search committee. Each member of the committee ranks each candidate’s application by yes (appears qualified), maybe (might be qualified), and no (not qualified). The committee then meets to discuss our rankings. Sometimes opinions will be changed in this meeting. If a candidate is deemed qualified by a majority of the committee members, we will proceed to the phone interview stage. If a candidate is questionable, but appears on paper to have potential, we will also proceed with a phone interview. We don’t have a specific set of rubrics that we follow.

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

The candidate does have the appropriate educational or work experience. So many people apply for positions for which they are clearly unqualified. I hate rejecting people but if you have none of the experiences that we are looking for listed on resume or mentioned in your cover letter, I am not going to take the time to talk to you.

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

√ Other: Only if asked.

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

Be flexible and take the time to wrote original cover letters for each position and have multiple versions of your resume. Also make sure that your resume contains pertinent information. Be reasonable regarding the length of your resume and cover letter.

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?

√ 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?

√ 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 haven’t hired for an entry-level position in many years. If I were to hire for an entry-level position in the near future, I would expect the candidate to have had some library work experiences as a graduate assistant, a practicum, or paraprofessional. That said, if a candidate only had classroom experience, if they demonstrated potential, I might consider hiring the candidate. Having potential to success is important to me since not everyone has had a chance to do “real” library work.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

It isn’t dying but it is evolving.

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

Good luck! And be willing to relocate.

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 10-50 staff members, Academic, Midwestern US, Rural area, State of the Job Market 2015

We’re not looking to hire someone right out of a grad program with no work experience.

The North's Leading Dog Food Specialist, Grainger MarketThis 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:

Generalists, library assistants

This librarian works at a library with 0-10 staff members in an urban 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?

√ 25% or less

And how would you define “hirable”?

Meet the minimum requirements for the job.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

HR does a first pass, usually looking for the minimum requirements (i.e. an MLS). Then, the rest of the applications come to the search committee. We individually rank our top 5-7 candidates and see who overlaps.

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

No MLS, poorly written cover letter or resume, applying from a distant state without explanation.

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?

Well-written, grammatically correct cover letter and resume that fits the job being applied for.

I want to hire someone who is

professional

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?

√ 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?

Yes, we do require experience. It can vary, and it doesn’t have to be a set number of years full-time experience, but we’re not looking to hire someone right out of a grad program with no work experience.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ I don’t know

Why or why not?

I hope not, but if it isn’t going to die, it needs to train and nurture professional managers in the field much better.

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 0-10 staff members, Academic, Northeastern US, State of the Job Market 2015, Urban area