HR weeded applications but I still read them all and un-weeded some.

Fruit Venders, Indianapolis Market, aug., 1908. Wit., E N Clopper. Location Indianapolis, Indiana.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:

Library Assistants

This librarian works at a library with 0-10 staff members in a suburban area in the Mid-Atlantic 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?

√ more than 75 %

And how would you define “hirable”?

Hirable candidates hold an MLS or MLIS from an accredited institution, have some customer service experience (preferaby in libraries but not required), and are familiar with the usual functions of librarians. Teaching or tutoring experience is a plus and public speaking abilities are a must. (I was hiring a Library Assistant for a very small campus library.)

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

HR weeded applications but I still read them all and un-weeded some. Candidates that were deemed qualified by myself or HR were sent an SAT-style test and a personality assessment that became part of the interview materials. Based on the resume, cover letter, and personality assessment results, I gave a list of interviewees to HR for scheduling. I ignored the SATs because I don’t think they say anything about someone’s ability to be a librarian.

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

A cover letter that is poorly written or shows that the candidate just doesn’t fit with my management/work style.

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

√ Other: upon request but only in an unofficial capacity

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

Show me that you’re flexible and don’t require micromanaging or handholding.

I want to hire someone who is


How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 0-10

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

√ 1

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

√ Other: 0

Can you tell us how the number of permanent, full-time librarian positions at your workplace has changed over the past decade?

√ There are more positions

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with part-time or hourly workers over the past decade?

√ No

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

√ No

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

The HR department keeps adding specific years of experience in job descriptions but I keep fighting to get it taken back out. If they had specified a certain number of years, I wouldn’t be qualified for my position. I always win.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

Librarianship is changing and I would say that technology mean we don’t need as many librarians, but the curation of information and the teaching of information literacy will always be necessary.

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

Do your best to show how any non-library experience is applicable to the position you’re applying for. HR departments who screen candidates will see that you spent 3 years working the counter at a bakery and not understand that you picked up skills that will help you with library patrons and make you amazing at Reader’s Advisory. Spell it out for them in your application, using words and phrases from the posting where possible.

Do you hire librarians?  Take this survey: or take other Hiring Librarians surveys.

For some context, look at the most recent summary of responses.


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

3 responses to “HR weeded applications but I still read them all and un-weeded some.

  1. Avril

    Why does your organization require library assistants to have an MLS? Is that a professional position?


  2. Pauline

    Yes, another person wondering what “library assistant” means in this context if it requires an MLIS!


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