This anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a hiring manager, a member of a hiring or search committee, a human resources professional, and a non-library organization executive. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:
This librarian works at a library with 10-50 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”?
meets the requirements outlined in the position announcement; holds appropriate degree and experience
How are applications evaluated, and by whom?
HR does not review library application – we will occasionally choose to interview persons who do not exactly meet our criteria because of past experience or training. Applications are first reviewed by the search committee chair. Those that appear to fit our needs are then shared with the entire committee. A base list of candidates is identified for telephone interviews conducted by the committee. From the phone interviews, three candidates are selected for on campus interviews. Once those are identified, the application materials are shared with the rest of the library personnel. All candidates brought to campus meet separately with the Associate University Librarian and the University Librarian.
What is the most common reason for disqualifying an applicant without an interview?
Lack of qualifications, poorly composed application ( applying for wrong position or some other institution’s position – demonstrates a lack of attention to detail).
Do you (or does your library) give candidates feedback about applications or interview performance?
√ Other: If asked, we will give general feedback; not detailed
What is the most important thing for a job hunter to do in order to improve his/her/their hirability?
Read the position announcement carefully, address the key points of the position clearly and concisely in the application letter, check spelling and grammar, provide some detail to stand out as a strong choice for the advertised position.
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 more 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 prefer experience, but frequently hire new professionals with minimal or no library experience.
Is librarianship a dying profession?
Why or why not?
Academic librarians need to serve in a teaching role, rather than a caretaker role. Incoming students may be technology users, but they are not natural researchers. Our role is to guide them through the process and equip them with the appropriate skills for the future.
For some context, look at the most recent summary of responses.