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:
Children’s librarians, Assistant directors
This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in a rural 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 required qualifications and at least some version (or explanation about why they don’t have) the preferred ones; had ANY library experience.
How are applications evaluated, and by whom?
I see every application. They are first pared down based on required qualifications and ability to follow application directions. Then the upper staff and myself look through the remaining applicants to look for skills we need and decide who to interview.
What is the most common reason for disqualifying an applicant without an interview?
It’s a three-way tie: horrible grammar mistakes, inability to follow application directions, and applications that aren’t even close to meeting required qualifications.
Do you (or does your library) give candidates feedback about applications or interview performance?
√ Other: if specifically requested
What is the most important thing for a job hunter to do in order to improve his/her/their hirability?
Be committed to an organization. We don’t have the time or money to train new replacements (on a pretty small staff) every year or so. If I see a pattern of job-hopping, I’ll be very wary of hiring that person.
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?
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?
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 work within the applicant pool to find experience with technology and customer service first; specific library training for entry level positions is highly desirable but not necessarily required.
Is librarianship a dying profession?
Why or why not?
It has undoubtedly changed drastically, but our jobs are still as important as they’ve ever been. There’s a level of professionalism and a level of education that librarians need in order to juggle the privacy, information freedom, and reference-gathering with the customer service and innovation that have taken more visible roles.
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.
One response to “If I see a pattern of job-hopping, I’ll be very wary of hiring that person.”
Define “job hopping”, please. Do you understand that there are short-term contracts and that people go from one contract to another in order to pay their bills and eat? That’s not a bad thing – that’s life! Especially for new grads.