This anonymous interview is with a public 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:
I’m involved with the hiring of everyone in our organization. We only require a professional degree for our branch manager positions.
This librarian works at a library in a rural area of the Western US.
Approximately how many people applied for the last librarian (or other professional level) job at your workplace?
Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?
√ 26-50 %
And how would you define “hirable”?
Met the minimum education and experience requirements.
How are applications evaluated, and by whom?
We have a hiring committee that reviews the applications. We do not use a rubric. We begin with applicants that meet the minimum education and experience requirements for the job and then narrow the list down to those we want to interview. Decisions are using based upon quality of application, prior library experience or experience in a similar field, type of education. A strong cover letter without typos, spelling, or grammatical errors is always a plus.
What is the most common reason for disqualifying an applicant without an interview?
Applicants who do not receive an interview either do not meet the minimum education and experience for the position or have less education and experience than other applicants. A poor application that is full of mistakes or is difficult to understand will also disqualify an applicant.
Do you (or does your library) give candidates feedback about applications or interview performance?
What is the most important thing for a job hunter to do in order to improve his/her/their hirability?
Speak in terms of what you can offer the organization rather than what the position will offer you. As I review applications, I’m always asking myself, “What’s in it for us? How will this person help our library?” Applicants who clearly answer these questions with an application that is customized to the advertised position are usually given an interview.
I want to hire someone who is
How many staff members are at your library/organization?
How many permanent, full time librarian (or other professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?
How many permanent, full time para-professional (or other non-professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?
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?
We are looking for at least one year of library experience for our entry-level professional positions.
Is librarianship a dying profession?
√ Other: Changing more than dying
Why or why not?
Librarianship is always changing. It seems even more now than ever before. People will always be needed to turn the lights on and manage the inventory; however, much of this can be automated. Professional librarians will be needed to oversee operations, organize programs and special events, and advocate for the library in their communities. If anything, the profession is shrinking and will be more competitive as fewer and fewer position will be available. The profession will not die, but I expect it is not going to be as big as it is today.
Do you hire librarians? Take this survey: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibjobmarketsurvey or take other Hiring Librarians surveys.
For some context, look at the most recent summary of responses.