This week I have another question suggested by a reader. I asked people who hire librarians:
Who has input on hiring decisions at your organization? (e.g the hiring manager, the person’s potential department members, an external committee, etc.) We often hear that it’s important to be polite to everyone you meet when going in for an interview – do you solicit feedback from non-interviewing staff members?
We have a search committee, which will generally include those librarians and staff who will work directly with the new hire. We try to keep it small – no more than 4 people. Our policy is to also include one person outside of the person’s general area. The committee has the most input and makes a recommendation to the Dean and Associate Dean, who will have met with the person and reviewed applications of top candidates. We also invite everyone in the library to attend the person’s onsite presentation and we have a small group who are not members of the search committee take the candidate to lunch. We gather feedback from everyone who had contact with the candidate, but obviously, the search committee makes the decision to recommend a candidate to the Dean for hire.
– Laurie Phillips, Associate Dean for Technical Services, J. Edgar & Louise S. Monroe Library, Loyola University New Orleans
In our system, we operate a little differently in branches as opposed to the main library. Hiring decisions for branches are made by the branch manager and the branch dept head with input from the branch services liaison and division coordinator. At the main library, senior departmental staff and the division coordinator make the decisions. It is important to be polite to everyone you meet in the interview process. It’s also important to listen in the interview.When we conclude each interview we tell the candidate that he or she will be hearing from us once we have completed interviewing all candidates. We also tell them that we may not be able to complete the process in a timely manner (through no fault of our own) and that they may need to be patient for a week or so, but we WILL get back with them. I don’t mind it when a candidate calls after a week to inquire, but I have had candidates who called every other day. I always tell candidates the first time they call what the status of the interviews is and that we will call them when we are finished. If they call me back again, I generally take them off the consideration list. If they can’t be patient, how can they help frustrated patrons?
– Emilie Smart, Division Coordinator of Reference Services & Computer Services at East Baton Rouge Parish Library
The manager in a department has primary responsibility for hiring decisions and initial selection of our interview pool. We always use a team for interviews made up primarily of other managers at our library. There may also be other staffers involved. The interview team then meets to compare notes and make a recommendation to the manager. But that person ultimately has the final say.
– Marge Loch-Wouters, Youth Services Coordinator, La Crosse (WI) Public Library
Here at Shortgrass all the hiring is done by our management team. We do all interviews as a team (of three) if possible and then make a decision together. Depending on the position we then let the manager who will be directly supervising the position be the one to extend the offer.Generally, most non-interviewing staff members don’t even meet the candidates, due to the lay-out of the building. Often the Executive Assistant will be the first one to make contact as people walk in the door and if there was anything remarkable (lack of friendliness, etc) about the candidate, I trust she would mention it to me.
– Petra Mauerhoff, CEO, Shortgrass Library System
On most academic search committees on which I’ve served and/or chaired, those who have input into the actual decision as to who is hired is somewhat restricted. The “restricted” group usually includes the members of the search committee, the Dean or other “official” of the college , and the department head of the department in which the new person will work. However, I have always solicited feedback from anyone who has been invited to interview the candidate one on one, in a small group, or a larger group as when a presentation is required. That feedback isn’t always in the final decision category. But it could be if many people provide similar, or the same, pros or cons about a candidate. In that case, I would hope that the search committee or other final decision maker would take that feedback into consideration. Being polite to everyone a candidate meets on an interview should be pro forma, whether or not the candidate thinks that the people he/she meets has input into the hiring process. If a candidate can’t be polite to everyone for one or two days, and it is noticed, that candidate should not be the one selected for the position IMO.
– Sharon Britton, Library Director, BGSU – Firelands
At my library, candidates are introduced to all of the library staff (we are a small staff) and are asked to make a presentation that includes the entire library staff as well as members of the search committee. My library director solicits feedback from all members of the library staff on their view of the candidate(s). In some cases it has confirmed whether the person should or should not be hired for the job.
– Samantha Thompson-Franklin, Associate Professor/Collections & Acquisitions Librarian, Lewis-Clark State College Library
When hiring support staff, in our library, the decision rests with the department head. When both the youth and adult departments are hiring at the same time, the two department heads sometimes interview candidates together, but the individual department head is the one who makes the final decision.
In some cases, front desk staff members will have an initial impression of a candidate, and I do take that into consideration. It’s not a dealbreaker, but it’s nice to hear what kind of interaction the candidate had and whether it was positive or negative.– Marleah Augustine, Adult Department Librarian at Hays Public Library
At our library, all librarian presentations are open to all staff and library faculty, as is the meet & greet, and the candidate spends time with various folks both in and outside their home department. We solicit feedback from everyone in our organization who was able to spend time with the candidate; that information is usually collected via a survey where folks have open-answer slots to comment on the person’s qualifications, skillset, and whether they are an acceptable candidate.– Head of Access Services & Assistant Professor at University of Tennessee Chattanooga’s Lupton Library
Thank you as always to our contributors for their time and insight. If you’re interested in participating in this feature, email me at hiringlibrariansATgmail.com.
Thank YOU for reading!
I won’t dance in a club like this. All the girls are comments and the beer tastes just like comments.