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:
Everyone, I’m the Dean of Libraries
This librarian (It’s complicated) works at a library with 200+ staff members in an urban 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”?
Had the basic qualifications we were looking for
How are applications evaluated, and by whom?
HR uses a set of rubrics for each position type. The ones that “pass” the rubric are sent on to a hiring committee.
What is the most common reason for disqualifying an applicant without an interview?
Does not meet minimum qualifications.
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?
Address the requirements as stated in the job posting. If you send us a generic application letter, you’re very unlikely to be considered.
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?
It depends on the position but, in general, yes there are experience requirements.
Is librarianship a dying profession?
Why or why not?
The profession has let too many opportunities slip by while contemplating our navels. Instead of being proactive, librarianship is extremely reactive and is now bearing the results of this. Information technology organizations have taken over large portions of work that could (and perhaps should) be done by people with formal library/information science training. But here’s the thing, WE LET THAT HAPPEN because we were too concerned about fighting against e-books and online access to material. Yes, this problem goes back more than a decade when the majority of people decided to fight against progress rather than embrace it. Now, it’s too late.
Do you have any other comments, for job hunters or about the survey?
Seriously consider how your library and information science education can be used in other fields. Your career will take many turns during your lifetime, so you should be prepared to adapt to changing conditions. 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.