No official dress code, but we tend to be conservative.

Christmas Party/Interview Outfit by Flickr user Graham BallantyneThis anonymous interview is with an Academic librarian who has been a member of a hiring or search committee. This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in an Urban area in the Midwestern US.

What Candidates Should Wear

Should the candidate wear a suit to the interview?

√ Probably, yes (but it’s ok if the candidate wears something a little less formal)

An outfit with a coordinated blazer and trousers:

√ Counts as a suit

Bare arms are inappropriate in an interview, even in the summer.

√ True

If a woman wears a skirt to an interview, should she also wear pantyhose?

√ Other: Either way-doubt I’d notice

Women should wear make-up to an interview:

√ I don’t care, as long as it’s not over-the-top

Is there anything a candidate might wear that would cause them to be instantly out of the running? If you have any funny stories about horrifying interview outfits, we’d love to hear them. 

Since only a few select candidates are ever invited to an in-person interview, we expect them to be professionally dressed. I doubt anyone would be eliminated from the pool based on outfit alone, but t-shirts, jeans, visible tattoos, multiple piercings, etc would not go over well.

Do you expect different levels of formality of dress, depending on the position you’re hiring for?

√ No

Which jewelry may candidates wear: (Please select all that are acceptable)

√ A few simple necklaces, bracelets, and/or rings
√ Earrings

Which hair colors are acceptable for candidates:

√ Natural colors (black, brown, red, blonde, gray)

The way a candidate dresses should:

√ Be fairly neutral

How does what a candidate wears affect your hiring decision?

Although we are a somewhat casual workplace, we also have a somewhat conservative culture. We would expect someone to have obviously made an effort to look professional, and fashion outside the mainstream would probably attract negative attention.

What This Library Wears

How do you dress when you are going to conduct an interview?

I would not necessarily wear a suit to conduct an interview, but depending on the season I might. I’d never be more casual than business casual.

On a scale of one (too dressed up for my workplace) to five (too casual), khakis and a polo shirt are:

3

What’s the dress code at your library/organization?

√ Casual

Are there any specific items of clothing, etc. that are forbidden by your dress code? (Please check all that apply)

√ N/A: We wear what we want!
√ Other: No official dress code, but we tend to be conservative.

Librarians at your organization wear: (Please check all that apply)

√ Badges

This survey was co-authored by Jill of Librarian Hire Fashion – submit your interview outfit to her blog!

Photo: Christmas Party/Interview Outfit by Flickr user Graham Ballantyne

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Filed under 10-50 staff members, Academic, Midwestern US, Urban area, What Should Candidates Wear?

Your classmates will be your future professional colleagues, and can do more to support your career than you may realize.

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:

reference and instruction/outreach.

This librarian works at a library with 50-100 staff members in a rural area in the Western US.

Do library schools teach candidates the job skills you are looking for in potential hires?

√ Depends on the school/Depends on the candidate

Should library students focus on learning theory or gaining practical skills? (Where 1 means Theory, 5 means practice, and 3 means both equally)

3

What coursework do you think all (or most) MLS/MLIS holders should take, regardless of focus?

√ Cataloging
√ Grant Writing
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Metadata
√ Research Methods
√ Outreach
√ Soft Skills (e.g. Communication, Interpersonal Relations)
√ Field Work/Internships

Do you find that there are skills that are commonly lacking in MLS/MLIS holders? If so, which ones?

More than anything, an inability to accurately (or even adequately) characterize their experience in job application materials, combined with an apparent unwillingness to have reviewers from inside and outside the profession give feedback.

When deciding who to hire out of a pool of candidates, do you value skills gained through coursework and skills gained through practice differently?

√ Yes–I value skills gained through a student job more highly

Which skills (or types of skills) do you expect a new hire to learn on the job (as opposed to at library school)?

It depends on the position. Instruction is one example where coursework is no substitute for practice (even though it can provide a good foundation). ILS- Specific skills are best learned on the job – there’s no real way to teach them in a classroom setting.

Which of the following experiences should library students have upon graduating?

√ Internship or practicum

Which library schools give candidates an edge (you prefer candidates from these schools)?

The school’s reputation doesn’t mean much to me. Candidates can have a prestigious degree, and still be inept or a bad fit.

Are there any library schools whose alumni you would be reluctant to hire?

Emporia’s online program.

What advice do you have for students who want to make the most of their time in library school?

First especially for online students, work hard to build your network. Your classmates will be your future professional colleagues, and can do more to support your career than you may realize. Take on anything that gives you hands-on experience, like projects, practicums, internships, or directed fieldwork. If you know what kind of librarian you want to be when you are done with school, look for opportunities to prove you can do that kind of work specifically – create them, if you have to. Take classes outside of your school/department. If you want to be an academic librarian, look for publishing opportunities early- poster sessions, reviews, etc.

This survey was coauthored by Brianna Marshallfrom Hack Library School. Interested in progressive blogging, by, for, and about library students? Check it out!

Special Note: From December 6, 2013 to October 24, 2014, the ALA will accept comments on the Draft revised Standards for Accreditation of Master’s Programs in Library and Information Studies. More information about the process of changing these standards is here. If you have opinions about what people should be learning in library school, here’s a way that you can influence change.

Do you hire librarians? Tell us, “What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School?”: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibschoolsurvey

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Filed under 50-100 staff members, Academic, Rural area, Western US, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

The only skills lacking that I see are practical ones if the candidate does not have library experience

School No.2 in Dublin New HampshireThis anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Catalogers, children’s, reference, branch managers

This librarian works at a library with 50-100 staff members in a city/town in the Northeastern US.

Do library schools teach candidates the job skills you are looking for in potential hires?

√ Depends on the school/Depends on the candidate

Should library students focus on learning theory or gaining practical skills? (Where 1 means Theory, 5 means practice, and 3 means both equally)

3

What coursework do you think all (or most) MLS/MLIS holders should take, regardless of focus?

√ Budgeting/Accounting
√ Grant Writing
√ Project Management
√ Library Management
√ Collection Management
√ Programming (Events)
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Metadata
√ Digital Collections
√ Archives
√ Research Methods
√ Reference
√ Readers’ Advisory
√ Information Behavior
√ Services to Special Populations
√ Outreach
√ Marketing
√ Instruction
√ Soft Skills (e.g. Communication, Interpersonal Relations)
√ Field Work/Internships

Do you find that there are skills that are commonly lacking in MLS/MLIS holders? If so, which ones?

The only skills lacking that I see are practical ones if the candidate does not have library experience eg. dealing with problem behaviors, community outreach, advocating for libraries

When deciding who to hire out of a pool of candidates, do you value skills gained through coursework and skills gained through practice differently?

√ No preference–as long as they have the skill, I don’t care how they got it

Which skills (or types of skills) do you expect a new hire to learn on the job (as opposed to at library school)?

Learning about the particular materials library has, learning about the community

Which of the following experiences should library students have upon graduating?

√ Internship or practicum
√ Professional organization involvement

What advice do you have for students who want to make the most of their time in library school?

Network with other students, professors, join ALA and statewide library association, internships, volunteer in libraries

This survey was coauthored by Brianna Marshall from Hack Library School. Interested in progressive blogging, by, for, and about library students? Check it out!

Special Note: From December 6, 2013 to October 24, 2014, the ALA will accept comments on the Draft revised Standards for Accreditation of Master’s Programs in Library and Information Studies. More information about the process of changing these standards is here. If you have opinions about what people should be learning in library school, here’s a way that you can influence change.

Do you hire librarians? Tell us, “What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School?”: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibschoolsurvey

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Filed under 50-100 staff members, City/town, Northeastern US, Public, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

Flaunting your faddish or cute lifestyle affectations is not appropriate in the workplace.

job interview by Flickr user quinn.anyaThis anonymous interview is with a non-librarian who has been a hiring manager. This person works at an archives with 0-10 staff members in an Urban area in the Midwestern US 

What Candidates Should Wear

Should the candidate wear a suit to the interview?

√ Probably not (but it’s ok if the candidate does wear one)

An outfit with a coordinated blazer and trousers:

√ Counts as a suit

Bare arms are inappropriate in an interview, even in the summer.

√ False

If a woman wears a skirt to an interview, should she also wear pantyhose?

√ Either pantyhose or tights. Bare legs are inappropriate

Women should wear make-up to an interview:

√ I don’t care what’s on the face, it’s what’s in the brain that counts

Is there anything a candidate might wear that would cause them to be instantly out of the running? If you have any funny stories about horrifying interview outfits, we’d love to hear them.

Visible tattoos of any type. Piercings of any type. Really low scoop neck top. A t-shirt. Flip flops. Most show disregard or disrespect.

Can you share any stories about how a candidate nailed the proper interview outfit, especially if your organization does not expect suits?

Not really. Clothing has not mattered much in our choices. Most have been business casual and entirely appropriate.

Do you expect different levels of formality of dress, depending on the position you’re hiring for?

√ Yes, the higher the position, the more formal I expect the candidate to dress

Which jewelry may candidates wear: (Please select all that are acceptable)

√ Single, simple necklace, bracelet, and/or ring
√ A few simple necklaces, bracelets, and/or rings
√ Earrings

Which hair colors are acceptable for candidates:

√ Natural colors (black, brown, red, blonde, gray)

The way a candidate dresses should:

√ Be fairly neutral

How does what a candidate wears affect your hiring decision?

It shows how much they care about what others (and that would extend to our staff and customers) think about them and how much they respect others. Flaunting your faddish or cute lifestyle affectations is not appropriate in the workplace.

What This Library Wears

How do you dress when you are going to conduct an interview?

Business casual–shirt, dress shoes, and pants.

On a scale of one (too dressed up for my workplace) to five (too casual), khakis and a polo shirt are:

2

What’s the dress code at your library/organization?

√ Business casual

Are there any specific items of clothing, etc. that are forbidden by your dress code? (Please check all that apply)

√ Jeans
√ Flip flops
√ Visible Tattoos
√ Short skirts/shorts
√ Tank tops
√ Logos/band insignia/slogans
√ Sneakers/trainers

Librarians at your organization wear: (Please check all that apply)

√ Badges

Do you have any other comments?

It should be about work ethic and respect and dignity. The organization should not be expected to indulge odd or awkward lifestyle fashion choices that will draw attention or make a statement. What you do to your body and the way you present yourself are important in the impression you make to co-workers and customers. Don’t ask for special indulgence for your goofiness–your parents were not brave enough to tell you how odd you look.

This survey was co-authored by Jill of Librarian Hire Fashion – submit your interview outfit to her blog!

Photo: job interview by Flickr user quinn.anya

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Filed under 0-10 staff members, Archives, Midwestern US, Urban area, What Should Candidates Wear?

I’ve had four interviews and lost to an internal candidate each time

Hunting party on the shore State Library and Archives of FloridaThis anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field), has not been hired within the last two months, and has been looking for a new position for more than 18 months. This person is looking in academic and special libraries, at the following levels: entry level. Here is this person’s experience with internships/volunteering:

I had a full time jobs either as a contractor for 5 years at a large government library and 4 years as a technical services and reference assistant at a large university.

This job hunter is in a rural area in the Southern US and is willing to move anywhere.

What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?

Tenure requirements, Salary, Location

Where do you look for open positions?

ALA, VLA, GOVDOC-L, MEDLIB, USAJobs, I also have set up a RSS feed from several recruiters.

Do you expect to see salary range listed in a job ad?

√ Yes, and it’s a red flag when it’s not

What’s your routine for preparing an application packet? How much time do you spend on it?

I research the library and location before I start and then I usually spend about 4-8 hours for a private sector job. Federal Government jobs take longer because they have very long surveys to fill out in addition.

Have you ever stretched the truth, exaggerated, or lied on your resume, or at some other point during the hiring process?

√ No

When would you like employers to contact you?

√ To acknowledge my application
√ To tell me if I have or have not been selected to move on to the interview stage
√ Once the position has been filled, even if it’s not me

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Phone for good news, email for bad news

Which events during the interview/visit are most important to your assessment of the position (i.e. deciding if you want the job)?

√ Tour of facility
√ Meeting department members/potential co-workers
√ Being able to present

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Location, I’ve had four interviews and lost to an internal candidate each time.

Are you hunting for a new LIS job? Take the survey! http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibJOBHUNTERsurvey

This survey was co-authored by Naomi House from I Need A Library Job – Do you need one? Check it out!

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Filed under Job hunter's survey, Rural area, Southern US

Further Questions: Is salary range included in your job postings?

This week we have a reader inspired question. I asked people who hire librarians:
Do you include a salary range in your job postings?  Why or why not?  Who makes that decision?

At my private academic institution, salary information is considered confidential, which means that we are not allowed (by HR) to post salary information in our job ads. Within those constraints, we try to be as transparent as possible. If candidates inquire about salary, the question is referred to the dean who will share the target range for the position. In addition, when a search is narrowed to finalists, those finalists are notified by the dean of the target salary range, so that if their requirements are beyond what we can pay, time isn’t wasted on a search that is bound to end in disappointment.

- Anonymous

 

Laurie Phillips We include the minimum salary, not a range.

Generally, the chair of the committee negotiates the salary range with the Dean, based on other salaries in the organization.

We always include the minimum, so nobody is making a decision to do it or not.

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

 

Marge Loch WoutersYes we do.

Nothing is more frustrating to an applicant than taking the time to get credentials and application materials ready only to find that the job does not pay enough to make the move worthwhile.

This is an administrative decision.

- Marge Loch-Wouters, Youth Services Coordinator, La Crosse (WI) Public Library

 

We do. It’s policy for all state government positions.

- Kristen Northrup, Head, Technical Services & State Document Depository, North Dakota State Library

 

Terry Ann LawlerYes.

Our salaries are negotiated through the city and with our union with occasional input from outside organizations who study salaries. All of our city salary ranges are publicly available on our city website.

A salary range is non negotiable, but you can start at mid range instead of the beginning if you have more experience than is advertised for the job.

- Terry Lawler, Assistant Manager and Children’s Librarian, Palo Verde Branch, Phoenix Public Library

 

angelynn kingOnly one of the academic libraries I’ve worked in has posted salary.

Usually HR has a standard policy, and there isn’t anything the advertising department can do.

In a public college, the salary ranges are often a matter of public record, but you have to be a librarian to find them. Oh, wait: we are librarians. Happy hunting!

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

 

We have started including a salary range in our postings so applicants can “self-screen” and not apply if their salary requirements are not a match.  We ask an applicant’s salary requirements in the screening questions we send to candidates who we might be  interested in interviewing.  Because there have been times when the gap between what we were offering and what applicants were asking  was substantial we recently moved to including a range.  It also serves as another way to shape applicants’ expectations about the level of the job.  Obviously the education and experience requirements in the job description should convey that, but those responsibilities, if filled at a larger institution than ours, might warrant a much higher pay scale.  So including a salary range gives a more complete picture.

The argument against including a range is that desirable candidates may not apply, whereas if they did and we really wanted them we might go back to our administration and negotiate for an increase and/or some way to enhance the benefits package.

We at the Library make the determination as to whether to include salary in the posting; the salary itself must be approved by our VP.

- Ann Glannon, Associate Director, Wheelock College Library, Boston, MA

 

Yes a range for salary is always included in the posting. This is pretty basic and we have a salary schedule based on the grade for each position, so there is not much flexibility, except for experience.

- Kaye Grabbe, Director, Lake Forest (Public) Library, Lake Forest, IL.

 

Jason GrubbWe do not include a salary range in our job postings because a salary range is not available.

There is no flexibility in our Library Board adopted pay scale. Each position has a set grade with steps that only increase with time in the position. In other words, each vacant position begins at an established amount that cannot be negotiated. Thus, there is no reason for us to include a salary range.

This starting salary is included in the job posting.

- Jason Grubb, Director, Sweetwater County Library System

 

Yes we do.

Our county HR does this across the board. It may be voluntary but it could also be part of the union contract. I’m glad we do it because  that information can inform whether or not a person even wishes to apply for any given position.

- Christy Davis, Library Director, Klamath County Library Service District

 

Sherle Abramson-BluhmSalary range is usually in the library postings.
I am not sure if this was a University decision or within the Library itself – although most University postings do include the information.
Generally it is the high level positions, where the salary is likely to be a negotiating point, that the information is not indicated.
I think it is only fair to post this information – it is data any applicant should know going in and diminishes the possibility of surprises, misunderstandings or disappointment down the line.
- Sherle Abramson-Bluhm, Head, Print Acquisitions, University of Michigan
Celia RabinowitzI always try to include a minimum starting salary for positions.  My institution does not usually do this for faculty positions but I have not had resistance either from the Human Resources office or from my dean when I include it in a job ad.  I feel more comfortable offering a minimum starting salary than a range.  Ultimately any negotiation involves the Dean of Faculty and establishing the ranges is tricky.  I can say that two of my last three librarian hires involved a negotiation which resulted in a higher starting salary for the candidate who got the position.  I would rather a candidate (and we) think about experience and qualifications when determining a salary rather than where they fall on a predetermined scale.  I am not sure how easy it would be to justify giving someone $48k rather than $49k but I can see offering someone $45k and then negotiating to $48.  I do usually have an upper limit that the Dean and I establish.
- Celia Rabinowitz, Director of the Library, St. Mary’s College of Maryland

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 me at hiringlibrariansATgmail.com.

Thank YOU for reading!  If you’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts, there they are all standing in a row, big ones, small ones, some as big as your comment.

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Filed under Academic, Further Questions, Other Organization or Library Type, Public

We’re researchers and you are only as secure as your least private online friend.

School Children Visit State Capitol (MSA)This anonymous interview is with someone who has been a hiring manager, a member of a hiring or search committee, and a training coordinator at a public. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

All levels and positions – from hourly pages to full time librarians — for every department in a mid-size public library system.

When asked, “Are you a librarian?”, this person chose the response, “It’s complicated.” This person works at a library with 200+ staff members in an city/town in the Western US.

Do library schools teach candidates the job skills you are looking for in potential hires?

√ Depends on the school/Depends on the candidate

Should library students focus on learning theory or gaining practical skills? (Where 1 means Theory, 5 means practice, and 3 means both equally)

4

What coursework do you think all (or most) MLS/MLIS holders should take, regardless of focus?

√ Budgeting/Accounting
√ Project Management
√ Library Management
√ Collection Management
√ Reference
√ Readers’ Advisory
√ Outreach
√ Instruction
√ Soft Skills (e.g. Communication, Interpersonal Relations)
√ Field Work/Internships

Do you find that there are skills that are commonly lacking in MLS/MLIS holders? If so, which ones?

The ability to manage — people, projects, and money.

When deciding who to hire out of a pool of candidates, do you value skills gained through coursework and skills gained through practice differently?

√ Yes–I value skills gained through a student job more highly

Which skills (or types of skills) do you expect a new hire to learn on the job (as opposed to at library school)?

The community or institution specific rules or norms.

Which of the following experiences should library students have upon graduating?

√ Library work experience
√ Internship or practicum
√ Teaching assistant/Other instructional experience

Which library schools give candidates an edge (you prefer candidates from these schools)?

UCLA and FSU. One of which is my alma mater so I might be a little partial.

Are there any library schools whose alumni you would be reluctant to hire?

No necessarily reluctant per se, but I get a lot of applications from SJSU students/graduates and have found that the quality of these candidates is very hit and miss. SJSU is viewed as a diploma mill; they’ll pretty much let anyone in and you can really see it when their 500+ graduates start flooding the market every year.

What advice do you have for students who want to make the most of their time in library school?

Get work experience in the type of library environment you hope to make a career – volunteer or intern if you can’t get a paid job! Take initiative during that experience, treat it like one big long interview. Show professionalism and display leadership. And be very, very careful with your online reputation through social media. If we like you, know that we will likely Google you before coming to a final decision on whether to bring you into our organization — we’re researchers and you are only as secure as your least private online friend.

This survey was coauthored by Brianna Marshallfrom Hack Library School. Interested in progressive blogging, by, for, and about library students? Check it out!

Special Note: From December 6, 2013 to October 24, 2014, the ALA will accept comments on the Draft revised Standards for Accreditation of Master’s Programs in Library and Information Studies. More information about the process of changing these standards is here. If you have opinions about what people should be learning in library school, here’s a way that you can influence change.

Do you hire librarians? Tell us, “What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School?”: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibschoolsurvey

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Filed under 200+ staff members, City/town, Public, Western US, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School