Tag Archives: librarians

don’t say you’ll follow up in a week or two (I’ll make the phone calls thank you)

View of street vendors at 7th and B Streets, NW (Ca. 1880) MarketThis anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a hiring manager. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Various types of front-line positions including, children’s and teen librarians, program/event planners, consumer tech specialists, etc.

This librarian works at a library with 200+ staff members in a suburban 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”?

A better word might be, “interviewable.” We’re not necessarily looking for people who have had specific library experience anymore. We need creative individuals who value customer service, intellectual freedom, and privacy.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

It depends on the position, mostly. HR doesn’t weed any applications out, but they do do a good job of highlighting applicants who meet the qualifications for the position.

If the position is at one of our branches, a branch manager will evaluate the candidates based on a handful of factors. These might include education, prior experience, and the quality of the application materials (without a resume and a good cover letter the information in the application itself rarely makes a candidate stand out).

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

For me it’s usually because the applicant hasn’t expressed why they want to work in libraries or has left it at, “I love books.” I love books too, but you have to give me more.

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

√ Other: Not really. Although I will on occasion, but it depends on the candidate.

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

Ditch the formulaic resume and cover letter. I know you heard about the position from one or more of a handful of sources, don’t parrot what’s already in your resume, and don’t say you’ll follow up in a week or two (I’ll make the phone calls thank you).

Use your cover letter as an opportunity to show us who you are. Talk about your ideal workplace culture, your accomplishments (and what you think allowed you to achieve those), your ideals, or anything but the clichéd these-skills-make-me-your-ideal-candidate canned paragraphs you find on the web.

Write a different letter for each application. It’ll take you longer, but it is worth it.

I want to hire someone who is

A creative problem solver.

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?

√ 2

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?

√ 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?

Nope.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ Other: It depends

Why or why not?

It largely will depend on librarians reactions to change. If we can’t identify what our users need from us as information professionals in today’s world, and use that knowledge to help solve problems (in a way that people find engaging and valuable), support for libraries will eventually fade.

 

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

Remember to talk about my library in your cover letter, not just about you.

Young boy tending freshly stocked fruit and vegetable stand at Center Market, 02181915This 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, reference and instruction

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 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?

√ 25 or fewer

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ more than 75 %

And how would you define “hirable”?

Either met enough of the preferred qualifications, or were able to demonstrate through their past work and educational experience that they could acquire the skills the job required.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

HR determines which applications meet minimum qualifications. Those that do are passed on to the search committee, which uses the same rubric with scoring involved to determine who moves on to the first round interviews.

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

Too low of an aggregate score on the rubric.

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?

Remember to talk about my library in your cover letter, not just about you.

I want to hire someone who is

meticulous

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?

√ 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?

No experience required for entry level, just the degree.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

Libraries matter to too many users, whether public, academic, or otherwise. The profession changes but is not dying.

 

Do you hire librarians?  Take this survey: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibjobmarketsurvey or take other Hiring Librarians surveys.

For some context, look at the most recent summary of responses.

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Filed under 10-50 staff members, Academic, State of the Job Market 2015, Suburban area, Western US

All things should change. This is a deeply saddening question.

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

collections

This librarian works at a library with 50-100 staff members in an urban areain 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”?

met the qualifications for the position.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

Some get weeded from HR before coming to chair of search committee, who then weeded further before sharing about 10 with the search committee.

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

Did not meet 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?

Have current skills, current experience.

I want to hire someone who is

Enthusiastic about academic librarianship.

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 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?

I’m not sure.  The position I hired for required experience.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

It’s a changing profession.  All things should change.  This is a deeply saddening question.

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

Further Questions: Can we talk about post-interview etiquette?

This week we asked people who hire librarians a question requested from a member of the Further Questions response panel:

 

Can you share your recommendations for post-interview etiquette in regards to thank you notes, follow ups via phone/email, providing additional information, etc.? Do you have examples, either from your own interview history or from candidates you have worked with, where conduct after the interview has influenced the hiring decision?

Jessica OlinA thank you of some kind is great, considering how much time goes into setting up interviews even for paraprofessional positions. And sharing some further reason why you think you’re a good fit is probably a good idea as well. That’s it. In my experience, candidate behavior after the interview tends to confirm opinions formed during the interview process rather than change those opinions. However, I could imagine it making a bigger difference were things neck and neck between two candidates.

– Jessica Olin, Director of Parker Library, Wesley College

MargaretUsually for us, the decision to hire happens right after the interviews are concluded, so there’s not really enough time for a candidate to impress me with their post-interview etiquette ninja skills. I have received thank you notes, but the decision had already been made, so while I appreciated them, they didn’t influence me. My advice is to always make a good first impression because while thank you notes and follow-up phone calls or e-mails are all well and good, you’re going to score the most points during the interview, not after.

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

If we require experience we don’t consider the position “entry level”.

Man selling artichokes at vegetable market in Stockholm 1951 This anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee a human resources professional. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

catalogers, subject librarians, instruction librarians,

This librarian works at a library with 50-100 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?

√ 26-50 %

And how would you define “hirable”?

Meet the minimum requirements and have the requisite skills and experience needed

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

a search Committee reviews the applications

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

first – doesn’t meet the minimum requirements and second – does not have the background or skills for the position

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?

Address each and every point in the job advertisement in their cover letter.  How does their background relate to the position to which they’ve applied?  If they don’t have direct experience, address why their related experience is still relevant

I want to hire someone who is

innovative

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 50-100

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?

√ Other: It’s fluctuated both up and down

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?

If we require experience we don’t consider the position “entry level”.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

What an interesting question!  It won’t die if we pay attention to the trends and adapt.  We need to focus on what our library users want and meet those needs.

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

One aspect of our search results and your survey:  When we open up our job advertisements to reach out to a wider population and decrease our requirements as well, we end up receiving a lot of applications from individuals that don’t seem to meet the minimum qualifications.  I wonder how unemployment within and outside of our field impacts this.  When on unemployment, people typically have to apply to a certain number of jobs per week.  Do we see increases in the number in the pool due to this?

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 50-100 staff members, Academic, Midwestern US, State of the Job Market 2015, Urban area

Conference presentations are a desired qualification.

Man selling artichokes at vegetable market in Stockholm 1951 2 This anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a hiring manager. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Reference & Instruction Librarians

This librarian works at a library with 0-10 staff members in a rural area in the Southern US.

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

√ 25 or fewer

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 25% or less

And how would you define “hirable”?

MLS or MLIS with some kind of teaching experience

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

The director and asst. director make the first pass through, eliminating all that do not meet the minimun requirements. The search committee then evaluate the remaining applications using a rubric.

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

No teaching experience 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?

Be as familiar as possible about the library and college where you are applying. READ the job requirements.

I want to hire someone who is

collegial

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?

√ 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?

We ask that entry-level librarians have some kind of teaching experience. Conference presentations are a desired qualification.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

Librarians will be needed to help folks navigate the growing and complex world of information.

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

not just an MLIS, but experience with or a firm grasp of a specialized job: preservation of digital objects, non-MARC metadata, data analysis, Chinese language skills…

Housewives league at Wash. Market This 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 librarians; paraprofessionals

This librarian works at a library with 200+ 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”?

We mostly post specialized librarian jobs these days–so it means someone with not just an MLIS, but experience with or a firm grasp of a specialized job: preservation of digital objects, non-MARC metadata, data analysis, Chinese language skills…

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

We form screening committees of around four libraries who use a rubric based on the required and preferred qualifications listed in the job posting.

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

Lack of relevant experience.

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

√ Other: Not unless they ask

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

Write a cover letter/CV that addresses all of the qualifications listed in the job description and tells us why you’re a good match. Don’t waste your time applying for jobs where you don’t meet at least the majority of the minimum qualifications.

I want to hire someone who is

capable

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?

√ 7 or more

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 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?

√ Other: Mostly with non-librarian professionals or high-level paraprofessionals

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

Yes, but just what happens in practice rather than an official requirement. Mostly, we don’t have all that many “entry-level” professional positions in the first place.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ I don’t know

Why or why not?

It’s an evolving profession. People still need information, we just aren’t the only game in town. But we are still the main groups who want to preserve information, systematically make the information findable with consistent metadata, teach people to how find information, and help people when they get stuck–and we’re also the main group that does all of this for the greater (or at least our community’s) good, not a profit.

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 200+ staff members, Academic, Southern US, State of the Job Market 2015, Urban area