This anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a hiring manage. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:
Children’s and Teen Librarians
This librarian works at a library with 200+ staff members in an urban area in the Northeastern US.
Approximately how many people applied for the last librarian (or other professional level) job at your workplace?
Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?
√ 25% or less
And how would you define “hirable”?
Qualified for the position or meeting most qualifications, readable cover letter and resume without any glaring errors.
How are applications evaluated, and by whom?
HR weeds out any applications that don’t meet certain minimum qualifications. For most librarian positions in our system, they only weed out applicants who do not have an MLS. After that, the hiring librarians recommend applicants for interview. Only management positions are hired by committee.
What is the most common reason for disqualifying an applicant without an interview?
Lack of RELEVANT experience. Working as an archivist for 15 years does not make you qualified for a youth services position.
Do you (or does your library) give candidates feedback about applications or interview performance?
√ Other: if asked
What is the most important thing for a job hunter to do in order to improve his/her/their hirability?
Make the case for your past experience being genuinely relevant to the position – really spell out what specific skills can be transferred.
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?
√ 7 or more
How many permanent, full time para-professional (or other non-professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?
√ 7 or more
Can you tell us how the number of permanent, full-time librarian positions at your workplace has changed over the past decade?
√ There are fewer 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?
No, but we would prefer at least some internship or volunteer experience. I hire in youth services, and I want to see some kind of direct experience with children or teens, whether it’s in libraries or elsewhere.
Is librarianship a dying profession?
Why or why not?
People use the library. As long as we are relevant enough to keep people visiting and using our resources, we will thrive.
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 “Working as an archivist for 15 years does not make you qualified for a youth services position.”
Actually, many archivists have a lot of experience with constructing programs for youth and children, and over 15 years, that’s probably more hands-on experience serving that population than many other applicants will have. Also, the archivist may be a manager of a department and have learned to think on her feet. I think the lesson here is that an applicant’s cover letter needs to be detailed about how their work experience may be relevant, in case the hiring manager might be inclined to dismiss you too quickly.