This week we asked people who hire librarians
What are the different hiring stages at your organization and how long does each typically take? What are the factors that can lengthen the process? Is there ever a point in time when a candidate should attempt to check the status of an application? Keeping these factors and your area of librarianship in mind, how long do think job seekers should expect to be searching for a position?
Our process is generally the following: The position will be open and advertised for a month. We then take about a week to review applications. We have a meeting at the end of that week where we decide who to interview by phone or Skype. Those interviews take place over about a week or week and a half depending on how many candidates. We generally like to speak to as many candidates as possible in that round. After that, we meet (almost immediately) to decide on a smaller group of candidates for whom we call references. This time, we left about 2 weeks to do that. We ask the references very specific questions so they can take time to set up and finish. We then are meeting with our whole library faculty at the end of the week to decide who will come to campus. Committee members have posted phone interview notes and reference notes in Blackboard so the library faculty can participate in the decision. Generally, nobody can come the first week after we invite. It takes time to set up travel and to prepare a presentation. The on-campus interviews take place over a 2-3 week period, based on availability of the committee and the Dean. After that, we meet to make a final recommendation and that must go to the Dean and the Provost’s office before an offer is made. All in all, from the first advertisement through offer, it takes about 2 ½ months. Factors that can lengthen the process are availability of committee members to meet, but we built some of that in and have done some streamlining to better share information about candidates and keep meeting time to a minimum. I took a trip to Europe that was over a week, but I was able to call references before I left and the rest of the committee completed theirs while I was gone. I think the length of time entirely depends on the type of library – academic searches just take longer. However, if you apply at the end of the advertising period, it may seem shorter. We normally don’t offer information on status – although I did have someone contact me last week. I was able to tell him where we were in the search so he knows that he is not under consideration. Absolutely do not check status before the job closes. There is nothing I can tell you.
– Laurie Phillips, Associate Dean for Technical Services, J. Edgar & Louise S. Monroe Library, Loyola University New Orleans
The factors that lengthen the process are
- If there aren’t any strong applicants – position is usually closed and reposted
- Recruitment efforts over winter break
- Search committees that aren’t efficient with their time
- Scheduling difficulties for onsite interviews
- Job offer not accepted and then have to go back to other qualified candidates
- It is the applicants who are neither eliminated from the search or selected as a top candidate who wait the longest to hear from us
Candidates are welcome to check the status of their application but it makes most sense to do so if there is an immediate need for them to know. The process for librarian/faculty positions usually takes 4+ months.
– Bonnie Smith, Assistant Program Director for Human Resources, University of Florida, George A. Smathers Libraries
After we close the search, the applications are read and rated (2 weeks). The top 20% receive a choice of essay questions to answer. These answers are rated according to a rubric (3 weeks). The 80% who did not reach this essay question level receive an email notice that they are not moving along in the process and we thank them for their interest.
The top 30% from this essay process either receive an invitation to a Skype pre-interview (if we have a large pool still) which is usually a two week component or an invitation to the final interview if the pool is at 4-5 candidates (usually three weeks to schedule and hold interviews). The 70% who wrote an essay receive notice that they are not moving along in the process when the final interview pool is set.
We make a decision within a day or two after the last interview if references contacted have been available. Then the offer acceptance is usually a day or two. At that point we inform the non-successful interview candidates that the job has been offered and accepted.
In general, I don’t recommend getting in touch along the way in the process. Our application process takes a ton of time and composing a response when we aren’t ready to say exactly where we are at is difficult. I am always appreciative when a candidate updates me that they are withdrawing from the process because they have attained another position.
We tend to end on the long side (3 months from application close to hire) but we almost always end up with exactly the person we were looking for. Other libraries that don’t have an essay component or Skype interview and smaller pools of candidates can do this process in much less time. We average 70-100 candidates for our professional openings for youth librarians.
– Marge Loch-Wouters, Youth Services Coordinator, La Crosse (WI) Public Library
We move quickly. If it is an in-house only posting we post it for one week. Interviews are conducted the following week and the hire is announced the week after that so it is a 3-week process.For postings outside of the library, we typically post for 4 weeks, evaluate the applications in week 5, interview in week 6, negotiate or make the offer in week 7, contact unsuccessful candidates in week 8.– Christine Hage, Director, Rochester Hills Public Library
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