We’ll take a student straight out of grad school if they have the right personality.

Vegetable and flower seller and stall, Pike Place Market, Seattle, WashingtonThis 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:

Reference librarians, library assistants.

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

Literally just filled all of the minimum requirements.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

Search committee chair reviews them and weeds out the applicants who don’t fit the minimum requirements (ie: an applicant who doesn’t even have a bachelor degree when an MLIS is required). Then the search committee wades through them all and comes to a decision based on a variety of things, but mostly qualifications and personality shown in cover letter.

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

Doesn’t fulfill minimum qualifications, doesn’t submit a cover letter, doesn’t have a tailored cover letter (those form cover letters are REALLY obvious).

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

√ No

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

Actually read the job posting and tailor your cover letter (and even your resume) to be relevant. If the job asks for instruction experience, tell us about your instruction experience. It’s also nice to see some evidence that the applicant is excited to work for us.

I want to hire someone who is

engaged.

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?

√ 1

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?

Nope. We’ll take a student straight out of grad school if they have the right personality.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

It’s a changing profession, I don’t think anyone would argue that. But to say it’s a dying profession is naive and misguided. Access to information is a cornerstone of a successful and vibrant community, and that really can’t be ignored.

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.

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1 Comment

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

One response to “We’ll take a student straight out of grad school if they have the right personality.

  1. I agree sometimes they have a better attitude than the more experienced ones

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