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?
Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with para-professional workers over the past decade?
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.
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