This week I asked people who hire librarians:
What and when was the last position you hired? How many applicants did you get, roughly? How many did you interview?
Last position: Collection Development Librarian. Hiring process in spring 2012. Started work on August 1, 2012.
Number of applicants:52
Interviews: We phone or Skype interviewed 12 people. That’s a lot for us, but it was really valuable and we were able to schedule them all within the same week. Faculty search processes dictate that we bring 3 candidates to campus. We can stretch that to 4 if any of them are local, but honestly, we have really tried to limit that unless we really can’t narrow down to 3. Campus interviews take a lot of our time as well, including dinners in the evening, so we want to make sure we’re only bringing in the best candidates. In this last search, we brought 3 candidates to campus.
– Laurie Phillips, Associate Dean for Technical Services, J. Edgar & Louise S. Monroe Library, Loyola University New Orleans
The last position we hired for was an hourly youth service librarian and we had 25 applicants for the one 22.5 hour a week opening. The position came with pro-rated benefits (vacation, sick, holiday, pension) and allows the employee to buy into the library’s health care and deferred compensation plans. Most of the candidate’s had skills matching the job description, at least on paper, but there are always a few that are applying for any job that might be available. As I recall we interviewed 7 people before hiring our final choice.
– Christine Hage, Director, Rochester Hills Public Library
In the last year I have hired for our part-time Librarian Assistant position twice — equivalent to clerks/pages/reference desk assistants in other places. The first time during that time period, we had over 100 applicants. The last time (a month or so ago), we had around 40 applicants. Each time we interviewed around 15 people (we were hiring to fill multiple positions – we had around 5 openings each time).
I am currently on the hiring committee for a full-time Children’s Librarian and we’ve received around 20 applications and plan to interview around 10.– Marleah Augustine, Adult Department Librarian at Hays Public Library
The last librarian position we hired was for a Circulation Services/Public Services Librarian, in the summer of 2010. I think we received around 40-50 applications. We interviewed 5 applicants by telephone and then brought 3 candidates to campus (as per our college policy).– Samantha Thompson-Franklin, Associate Professor/Collections & Acquisitions Librarian, Lewis-Clark State College Library
The last position I hired outside the system was a branch manager this past November. I think we ended up with 20 qualified applicants and interviewed two. We recently were able to promote an internal candidate to a professional position and we hope to be looking outside the system for a professional children’s librarian in early fall, new grads and seasoned hands both welcome to apply as long as they have enough paraprofessional experience.
As I mentioned we had 20 qualified applicants for our last open position and interviewed two. This is because 2 of our final candidates dropped out, one the weekend before the Tuesday interview day. The latter drop out was because the salary was not high enough for this person to come to an in-person interview. It said a lot to me that this person hadn’t noted the salary until the weekend before they came to visit. Indeed as we went through the list of qualified applicants, those who’d passed paper screening and an initial phone interview, we had many people who were not interested in the interview. You can imagine how frustrating this is to a hiring committee. Hiring is an expensive, time consuming process and we look forward to hiring new colleagues. I know it is a tough time for new graduates but please don’t apply for jobs you have no intention of taking. On the other hand, if you are interested in a job by all means apply. You don’t know how small the pool will end up being.
– Melanie Lightbody, Director of Libraries, Butte County
The last position I was involved in hiring were two full time Librarian Is. This is an entry-level classification that can cover a variety of positions, from public service to cataloging to selection. These particular openings were for Youth Services Librarians in branches. In Omaha, we have to hire from an annual list, so the recruitment was for this list. We were able to ask a series of essay questions, with applicants who were interested in Youth Services answering a couple of additional youth-oriented ones. Around 53 people applied and about 10-15 of them were internal candidates (we have a number of staff with their MLS who are working as either paraprofessionals or Clerks). Many of the applicants did not fill out the youth questions and were not in consideration for these positions. Human Resources gives us two lists to interview—one for internal and one for external candidates and we interviewed seven candidates. We ended up filling the positions with one internal and one external candidate. All in all, I am pleased with this hiring experience. It’s important to cultivate our internal staff but it’s also nice to bring in a fresh perspective from the outside. We were able, based on interviews and qualifications, hire two stellar new Librarians.
– Manya Shorr, Assistant Director, Community Programs and Services, Omaha 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 me at hiringlibrariansATgmail.com.
Thank YOU for reading! Wherever I may roam, I will return to my English comment.
*edited 6/1/2013 11:10 AM PST to add response by Manya Shorr