I want to hire someone who is a team player

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:

Technical services librarians, electronic services, access services, science librarian, reference 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?

√ 25-75

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 25% or less

And how would you define “hirable”?

They met our stated qualifications in terms of education and experience, they wrote a coherent letter, and attached a readable vita.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

All applications are posted on the HR website. I have all the librarians review them and we meet to see which candidates received the most favorable response. We do phone interviews to get the top 3 candidates that we bring to campus.

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

They do not attach all the information requested in our ad. After that, it is generally not having a degree.

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

√ Other: If they contact me and ask, I will talk with them.

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

Write a letter that is free of errors and effectively shows that the candidate fits our needs. The letter should explain or highlight the areas of the resume that are important to the position.

I want to hire someone who is

a team player

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: none last year

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

√ Other: none last year

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?

Experience is preferred, but when we have a visiting one year appointment, or we have a very small pool, we take someone with no experience.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

What librarians do changes, but the end result of supplying someone with the data that they need or training someone to find information that they need, will not go away. Librarians provide a service in acquiring and vetting necessary information/resources. They train people to do research or they provide this to data to their constituents. Librarians provide a service.

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, Western US

Further Questions: Who hires librarians and what do they do?

This week we asked people who hire librarians

Who hires librarians and what do they do? Can you share with us the composition of the most recent search/hiring committees – number of committee members, their roles in the library, etc.? Are there stakeholders in the hiring process who should be involved but are not, or are only involved minimally (i.e. attending a presentation or meal with the candidate)? How is their feedback treated?

Paula HammetWhen we create a hiring committee for tenure track librarian positions, we include at least three librarians.  The hiring process (approving job descriptions and questions /criteria, accepting applications, sending out letters, etc.) is managed through our campus Faculty Affairs office.

Interviews for these type of positions typically last a very long day and include (it varies, depending on position):

  • Meet search committee chair at hotel for coffee & drive to campus.
  • Quick tour of library.
  • Setup and prepare for presentation (to all library faculty and staff, and occasionally other campus faculty).
  • Presentation (includes 20-25 min. for Q&A).
  • Discussion with Library staff (without the librarians).
  • Candidate Break.
  • Interview with Search Committee (at least 3 librarians).
  • Lunch with Library Faculty (usually 4-5 people).
  • Meeting with Director of Faculty Personnel (to answer questions about benefits, etc.).
  • Candidate leads an informal discussion with Library Faculty on a relevant topic of their choice.
  • Meeting with Library Dean.
  • Meet with search chair for followup and return to hotel.

For specialized positions (e.g., web services) we will include a meeting with staff with whom this person would be working directly.

The search committee solicits feedback from everyone and  considers it carefully. The search committee makes a recommendation to the Dean, who makes the offer to the preferred candidate.

We provide the presentation prompts and interview day schedule to the candidates a week before the interview.

Hope this is helpful in demystifying the process.

– Paula Hammett, Sonoma State University Library

Our hiring committees have a minimum of 2 people, more often it’s 3. The make-up of the committee varies depending on the job being interviewed for.

Examples off the top of my head:

  • Professional librarian (reference, public service, etc.): Branch manager or department head plus two others, usually other librarians or high-level paraprofessionals in that department/branch.
  • Department head or branch manager: Director and assistant director. Occasionally, other members of Library Administration, such as the Business Office Manager will be involved, depending on the position’s requirements.
  • Paraprofessional: Branch manager or department head plus two others, usually librarians or other paraprofessionals in the department/branch.

We don’t require presentations or take candidates out to lunch. The only people involved in the interview are the people on the search committee-they’re the ones who make the final decision. Stakeholders are directly involved in the process from start to finish.

– Margaret Neill, Regional Library Branch Manager, Main Library, El Paso Public Library

Laurie Phillips

Our search committees are generally 4-5 people. We try to keep it small to facilitate getting the work done in a timely way. Our practice is for the search committee to be made up of the primary people in the position’s area, plus one librarian from another area of the library. We have had staff on our search committees, but with our new process it’s unclear how that would work. Our whole library faculty reviews all applications with a set of guidelines (based on the requirements) and give each application a yes, no, or maybe. We then meet as a faculty to decide who will be interviewed by phone or videochat. The smaller committee then does the phone or video interviews. Committee members take notes and post them in Blackboard for all of the librarians to read. We then meet to decide who will move forward in a reference check. The committee divides up the remaining candidates and calls references. No committee member calls more than one reference for any candidate. Committee members post reference notes. The whole library faculty meets to decide, based on all of the information posted, who will be invited to interview on campus. The committee takes the candidate to dinner, but the whole library faculty participates in the candidate’s interview day, through attending the presentation, lunch, delivering the candidate to various meetings, or participating in the formal interview. The Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs, the Dean, and a group of interested staff also meet with the candidates. Some staff may be invited to lunch as well. Feedback is gathered from anyone not on the library faculty and is posted for the library faculty in Blackboard. The library faculty meets, reviews the feedback, discusses, and determines who they will recommend for hire. There are generally 2 candidates who are recommended, in priority order.

– Laurie Phillips, Associate Dean for Technical Services, J. Edgar & Louise S. Monroe Library, Loyola University New Orleans

Most of our search committees for librarians are chaired by a librarian and composed of librarians, paraprofessional library staff, and depending upon the position colleagues from outside the library (teaching faculty or administrators depending upon the position – someone the hire will have a lot of contact with).  Usually 5 members.  While we would like to have students serve on the committees, their schedules make it difficult, so instead we do everything we can to invite students to participate in the lunch meetings, presentations and other opportunities to interact with candidates.

Everyone who has contact with a candidate is asked to complete a feedback form, expressing what they think are the strengths of the candidate, any areas of concern or growth areas for the candidate, and any other observations they would like to share with the committee.  Feedback may be anonymous.  The chair of the search committee receives the feedback and shares it in aggregate with the search committee and the dean.  The search committee’s charge is to provide the following information for those candidates they feel are viable at the end of the process:  strengths and assets of each candidate, concerns or deficits for each candidate, any additional information they think is relevant to share to aid in the dean’s deliberations.

– Anonymous, from a medium-sized liberal arts college

Celia RabinowitzSearch committees I have formed for librarian searches have always included librarians (usually at least 2), one staff member from the library (often I try to rotate people so the area does not matter that much), and a faculty member from outside the library (often from a department that the new librarian would support).  I have been in two pretty small academic libraries (7 and 9 librarians including me as director/dean) so having a staff member from a specific area isn’t so important as including staff.
We ask members of our student staff to give campus tours, to have breakfast or lunch with candidates, and encourage them to attend talks or teaching sessions.  An open talk or campus session would probably be only for the director level.  Everyone has equal access to feedback forms or talks with a search committee member and I have used student feedback very seriously in helping choose among candidates.

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

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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Librarians no longer work in book storage buildings recommending favorite reads

Push cart market -- New York (LOC)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:

research, outreach, instruction professionals

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

meet basic position criteria plus

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

HR does have a rubric but we ignore it and look at all applications. Each search committee has its own rubric based on the job description with both necessary skills and preferred skills represented

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

poor application submission entries (mis-spellings, lack of matching skills)

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?

match the application to the description, re-read and edit before submitting

I want to hire someone who is

resourceful

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 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 experience required

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

Depends on your definition of librarian. Librarians no longer work in book storage buildings recommending favorite reads, but instead need cutting edge techno skills and excellent customer service 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, Midwestern US, State of the Job Market 2015, Urban area

Being in a small, rural community we consider a combination of education, library training, and related experience as our hiring pool can be limited

Paramaribo market scene. Women and men. 1922.This anonymous interview is with a public 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:

First priority is children’s, teen, and adult services.

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in a rural area in the Western US.

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

√ 25 or fewer

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 25% or less

And how would you define “hirable”?

Having the basic skills needed with potential to learn, grow, and advance in the library field.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

We are a small library so I, as director, weed out those who don’t qualify before sharing with a hiring committee. Committee members are selected from staff who will be most involved with the position available.

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

Obvious lack of necessary skills and qualifications needed for the position.

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

√ Other: Sometimes. Depends on possibility of considering for another position more suited to applicant’s skills and talents.

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

Spelling, grammar, experience. Being in a small, rural community we consider a combination of education, library training, and related experience as our hiring pool can be limited.

I want to hire someone who is

self-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?

√ Other: no openings

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

√ Other: no openings

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

√ There are more positions

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

√ No

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

√ Yes

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

Official requirement–but can be in a related field.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

With the abundance of information out there, people need library-skilled workers to find reliable sources and materials to fill the required need or want.

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

For Public Review: Job Seeker KB

Welcome to crowd-sourced resume review for LIS job hunters!

Please help the job hunter below by using the comment button to offer constructive criticism on her resume. Some guidelines for constructive feedback are here, and the ALA NMRT has brief tips for reviewing resumes here.

This 2 page resume was submitted by a job hunter who says,

This resume is being used for a part-time contract position at a public library. I am assuming it is an entry level position. I don’t have a ton of experience in an actual library but I’ve tried to play up the customer service aspects in my previous jobs to show my skills are transferrable.
The posting lists the following qualifications:
  •  Graduate degree in Library or Information Science from an accredited institution or equivalent education
  •  Understanding and appreciation of the philosophy of public service to all, in accordance with human rights legislation and the principles of equity and access in the delivery of library service
  •  Professional skills, including information services, collection development and knowledge of adult, young people’s and children’s literature
  •  Strong interpersonal, communication, organizational, and customer service skills
  •  Ability to plan, conduct and evaluate programs
  •  Flexibility.

Kathryn_Brown_Resume-1 Kathryn_Brown_Resume-2

To submit your resume or CV For Public Review,

  • send it as a Word document, PDF, PNG or JPEG to hiringlibrariansresumereviewATgmail.
  • It will be posted as-is, so please remove any information that you are not comfortable having publically available (I suggest removing your address and phone number at a minimum).
  • Please include a short statement identifying if it’s a resume or CV and
  • describing the types of positions you’re using it for (ie institution type, position level, general focus).
  • Finally, you will also need to confirm that you agree to comment on at least five other posted resumes.

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Filed under CV review, For Public Review, Resume Review

my dept. isn’t the only one that hires librarians

Market scene. Women and men. 1922 2This anonymous interview is with a librarian working at a vendor who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

cataloging librarians

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?

√ 25% or less

And how would you define “hirable”?

1. met minimum requirements of the position; and
2. cover letter & resume gave evidence of attention to detail and genuine interest in the position

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

HR weeds out those that do not meet the minimum requirements.
Hiring manager reviews and further selects from applications that pass that stage.

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

Errors in the cover letter &/or resume

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 & resume and edit carefully

I want to hire someone who is

flexible

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?

√ Other: don’t know (my dept. isn’t the only one that hires librarians)

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

√ Other: not sure (my dept. isn’t the only one that hires paraprofessionals)

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?

Not required, but desirable

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 200+ staff members, Northeastern US, State of the Job Market 2015, Suburban area

One of the most common issues is lack of experience

Market day, KillarneyThis 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:

catalogers, archivists, subject specialists, reference

This librarian works at a library with 0-10 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”?

fit at least the required qualifications in the job posting

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

by a hiring committee. there is no weeding at the HR level. Phone interviews are done with 5 top ranked candidates and 3 of those are invited for an onsite interview

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

lack of qualifications and/or low score on those qualifications in a strong pool of candidates

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

√ Other: only if requested

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

applying for the appropriate position (i.e. one that matches their qualifications). If you are after specifics- one of the most common issues is lack of experience which could be fixed by having more internship experience while in library school.

I want to hire someone who is

hardworking

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?

√ Other: none

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. we require subject expertise (officially and in practice)

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ Other: about as much as any other profession if you really think about it

Why or why not?

Librarianship changes so much and there are so many different branches… makes it very difficult to speak in generalities.

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