If attention to detail is a criterion, which it is for the Library, we eliminate resumes with poor spelling and/or grammar.

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. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Generalists – those who are adept at doing anything and everything.

This librarian works at a library with 0-10 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 or fewer

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 25% or less

And how would you define “hirable”?

Met all the qualifications posted, and willing to work PT for the salary offered, with the skills we needed.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom? For example, are a certain number or type of applications weeded out by HR before they even get to you? Are there rubrics? Committees?

No – we have to weed. We have a very manual process.

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

They do not meet the posted qualifications. For us, that can mean this: If attention to detail is a criterion, which it is for the Library, we eliminate resumes with poor spelling and/or grammar.

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

√ Other: We have been advised by legal to NOT do this

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

Beyond taking care of business to GET the interview – do some homework and make sure it shows that you did, DRESS like you want a good job, and prepare questions about us.

I want to hire someone who is 


How many permanent, full time librarian (or other professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ Other: zero

How many permanent, full time para-professional (or other non-professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ Other: zero

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?

√ Yes

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

It is listed as preferred, but we have the option to hire new graduates.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ Other: certainly it is changing like journalism…

Why or why not?

Perceived value of the degree (MLS) at my institution of Higher Education is very bad, partly due to some very poor librarians who held on to their jobs for a very long time. It will take those of us who are left years to recover, if we ever do. I fear for my students most of all.

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

People need to understand that we in large institutions have
A – no control over what HR has us do with regard to posting, accepting, interviewing, etc. We feel your pain but this is the way it is and will continue as far as I can see – quit complaining.
B- We are constrained by HR and our legal advisers about what we may say and do with regard to candidates who are not selected to interview or be hired. Please don’t ask.
C- POLITENESS – send thank you notes, even electronic. It goes a long way.

Do you hire librarians?  Take this survey: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibjobmarketsurvey

Or take other Hiring Librarians surveys.



Filed under 0-10 staff members, Academic, Midwestern US, State of the Job Market 2015, Suburban area

2 responses to “If attention to detail is a criterion, which it is for the Library, we eliminate resumes with poor spelling and/or grammar.

  1. I find it unfair that job searchers are told to “quit complaining” because of things that HR sanctions. The only way things will change with how HR treats job searchers is if there is a social change of expectations- being the squeaky wheel. Also, please don’t advise job searchers to not reach out for feedback because legally your hands are tied. Job seekers are allowed to reach out and you are allowed to not answer or send an email saying that legally you cannot respond. Considering all the hoops job seekers jump through, it’s not going to kill you to deal with those requests (maybe take your own advice of politeness).


  2. Thanks, but no thanks

    So basically: We don’t have any full-time positions. Only 25% of the people who apply are willing to work part-time for a (presumably) low salary–which suggests that job ads are not providing sufficient detail for job-seekers to realize they’re applying for a part-time, low-paying job. Those people are judged on their spelling and grammar by someone who arbitrarily capitalizes “library.” But they shouldn’t complain about the hiring process.

    IMO, anyone who has been rejected by this library has dodged a bullet.


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