trivia skills or the ability to track down info in print resources aren’t really the focus anymore

Paramaribo market scene. Woman seated with baskets of produce. 1922.This anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Subject librarians
Discovery and Digital Initiatives librarians
Library IT staff
Catalogers
Reference librarians

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 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?

√ 75-100

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ more than 75 %

And how would you define “hirable”?

Had the minimum and preferred qualifications for the job description

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

Applicants who don’t meet certain basic requirements (have an MLIS, etc.) are weeded out by HR. Then the search committee (elected by the library faculty) reads the materials for and rates each candidate based directly on their ability to meet the requirements or preferred qualities described in the job ad. The top candidates, after all scores for each candidate have been combined, are invited to conduct a phone interview.

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

Not enough relevant experience or obvious mistakes in the application materials

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?

Take advantage of all opportunities to gain experience available to you and use specific examples from this experience to demonstrate how you stand out as a candidate.

I want to hire someone who is

eager

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 10-50

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

√ 3-4

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

√ 2

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

√ I don’t know

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

√ Yes

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

√ I don’t know

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

Experience is listed as preferred, but often makes candidates stand out and those with experience have a much higher chance of being considered.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

I don’t know why anyone would ask that, but if someone did, I would say it’s not a dying profession because there is so much expertise that librarians can offer that, while not always appreciated, is essential to the functions of academics and society. The expertise of librarians is certainly changing–trivia skills or the ability to track down info in print resources aren’t really the focus anymore–but what we offer continues to be valuable.

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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Filed under 10-50 staff members, Academic, Midwestern US, State of the Job Market 2015, Urban area

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