They have to provide documentation if they choose not to interview someone who is minimally qualified.

OUTDOOR MARKET AT HAYMARKET SQUARE. PUBLIC PROTEST KEPT THE SQUARE FROM BECOMING PART OF AN EXPRESSWAY, 051973This 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:

All required for large research institution’s library.

This librarian works at a library with 100-200 staff members in a cluster of small cities in the Northeastern US.

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

√ Other: really varies by the position, but I have heard of between 10-100 applications

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 26-50 %

And how would you define “hirable”?

Generally speaking, they have an MLS or MIS and meet most of the requirements of the job description.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

Search committee members are given access to applications through an HR software system. The first step of the search committee is to identify candidates who are minimally qualified for first round (phone) interviews. A spreadsheet is developed by HR where search committee members can check off minimum qualifications for each candidate – then all search committee members compare notes. Search committees are 3-6 people and are representative of different staff levels and include representatives from departments that the candidate would work with.

They have to provide documentation if they choose not to interview someone who is minimally qualified. They do phone interviews and recommend candidates for on-campus interviews. All candidates are asked the same questions for phone and in-person interviews, and they all meet with all the same people. Questions are developed by the search committee and approved by HR.

The only way applications are kept from the search committee is if they come in after the application deadline – then, if the search committee doesn’t identify enough qualified applicants from the first round, they can see the additional applications.

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

Doesn’t meet the most important qualifications (they are listed in declining importance).

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?

Having experience or knowing about the issues related to the job he/she is applying for.

I want to hire someone who is

willing

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 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 full-time professional experience required, but generally the best entry level candidates straight from graduate school have either specialized in school or have worked in an applicable department in library school. We have 5 ranks of librarians and generally they are ranked appropriately by how much experience the position would require.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

Some positions are no longer relevant, but it continues to evolve.

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, City/town, Northeastern US, State of the Job Market 2015

Further Questions: How do personality types play out in interviews?

This week we asked people who hire librarians

How do personality types play out in interviews? Librarians tend to be stereotyped as introverts–so what tips do you have for quiet, shy, and/or timid individuals to sell themselves and ace the interview? Are moments of silence/pauses in conversations, particularly during the more informal periods of an interview day (such as a meal) taboo? So as to not leave anyone out, feel free to provide insight into how more extroverted individuals can succeed in interviews as well.

I think personality type can be a factor in hiring decisions, but you don’t necessarily have to be an extrovert to get the job offer. You need to be thorough in your answers to interview questions and give examples that show you are passionate about the work that you do. Pauses in conversation are fine, but you may want to have a list of questions you could ask your dining companions about just in case you run out of things to say.

– Julie Leuzinger, Department Head, Library Learning Services, University of North Texas Libraries

I know that interviewing for a job can be stressful and people are often nervous, so I don’t necessarily judge them on that. When I’m interviewing, I pay attention to what they’re saying, even if they fumble it a bit. The only time I get concerned is if I have to pull an answer out of someone. A person who just says “Yes” or “No” and requires me to lead them towards a more complete answer is someone that gives me pause. You don’t have to weave an elaborate tale, but being able to follow up on questions with your relevant experience (or, if you don’t have relevant experience, admit it but talk about your strengths) is important, no matter how nervous you are. If you’re really shy, try practicing with friends and family until you’re a bit more comfortable talking about your work experience. Most interviews usually have questions along the lines of the following (in some form or another):

  • Why did you apply for this job?
  • What skills can you bring to the organization?
  • What kind of library experience do you have?
  • Where do you see librarianship going in the next ten years?
  • What kind of people do you work best with?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?

 

 

If you practice answering those questions, you’ll be more confident during the interview. Also, another tip, be sure to know the job description. Often the questions are directly related to the duties listed in the description, so you can practice answering with that in mind. Oh, and please, try to make eye contact. I know for some people it’s difficult, especially if you’re nervous, but looking down at your lap or staring at the table is not good. Try to look at your committee while you’re answering, it makes you seem more confident (even if you’re secretly quaking in your shoes!). One of the best things a mentor ever told me was to “Fake it until you make it!” Meaning, just pretend you’re confident until you feel confident. It’s worked for me!

 

If you’re chatty, pay attention to the room. Often times, if you’ve gone on for too long, if you look at your interviewers, you’ll pick up subtle hints that it’s time to move on. If people put down their pens, start shuffling papers or look like they’re trying to speak, finish your thought and let them continue. Don’t interrupt or speak over people. Be thoughtful and concise, don’t ramble.

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

Celia RabinowitzOne thing I would not recommend to either personality type is doing anything to draw attention to it such as telling people you are an introvert (or extrovert).  If you tend to be quiet try practicing with friends before the interview.  Go out to eat and just chat about anything.  Make a point to join the conversation or to ask a question.  If people around you are paying attention they may sense that you are quiet and find ways to draw you into a conversation.  But if your dinner companions and talking away and you are not contributing, don’t worry about it too much.  We know you are tired and overwhelmed and it’s OK if you just want to listen for a while.  That’s how you’ll get to know us.  So plan on a balance.  Be quiet rather than say something just for the sake of saying it.  But listen and think about ways you can participate in a conversation.

The same goes for the extrovert.  Practice answering questions in 2-3 minutes rather than 5.  Become more aware of how long you have been talking and find ways to stop so others have a chance.  Think of questions you have since asking them gives other time to talk and might lead to some good back and forth.

Stay within your comfort zone.  Don’t try too hard.  Be yourself, but be interested in the position and your colleagues for the day.

– 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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Filed under Further Questions

In fact, I was hired without any library experience

Market before PassoverThis anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a member of a hiring or search committee and a Department Chair (independently reviews candidates). This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

We hire multiple positions with varying specialties. At our institution, all librarians are subject liaisons and all of us are required to perform reference work, but beyond that we do specialize in various areas (e.g. sciences, education, instruction).

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

√ 26-50 %

And how would you define “hirable”?

There are a couple criteria: one, meeting the minimum requirements specified in the job description (we are not permitted to consider candidates who do not meet specified minimums), and two the level of “fit” to the duties of the position (in terms of previous similar experience, accomplishments in areas we’re looking for, and so forth).

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

There are a few steps in the process.

First, applications are evaluated by the search committee; we use an online application system. HR does not weed out candidates prior to the search committee review. Subsequently, the search committee conducts telephone interviews and reference checks, and finally the candidate has an interview on-site. During the interview, they meet with the search committee and several other groups, all of whom provide written evaluations using a simple rubric.

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

Failure to meet specified requirements (for example, if the job description specifies a minimum of 2 years experience in academic librarianship, that is a hard and fast rule–if the candidate can’t demonstrate that, they cannot be considered for the position at all).

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, there are two things to consider. For first-pass hirability, where I work the candidate (as mentioned) needs to meet the minimum requirements. However, that’s more or less a “yes/no” situation.

In the interviews, though, the most hirable candidates are those who can engage with the committee, provide concrete examples of their accomplishments and how they make the candidate ideal for the position. A candidate who can highlight what they have that they think no other candidate can offer is definitely a strong contender for the position.

I want to hire someone who is

adaptable

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 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?

The experience requirements vary by job; generally experience is preferred even for a position that might be considered “entry level,” but it’s not an official requirement for those just starting out (in fact, I was hired without any library experience).

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ I don’t know

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, Rural area, State of the Job Market 2015

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