This librarian works at a library with 100-200 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?
Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?
√ 25% or less
And how would you define “hirable”?
Skills and experience which meet the qualifications stated in the job posting. Ability to effectively communicate how those skills and experiences the applicant has could meet what the organization needs in a new hire.
How are applications evaluated, and by whom?
Our organization has very thorough and standardized procedures for evaluating applications (we are an equal opportunity employer). Each applicant’s qualifications as stated in their search materials are rated by a search committee using a detailed matrix. Each qualification stated on the job ad is a line on the rubric, and the total scores for how well the candidate meets each stated qualification are used to select a top group of candidates for interviews. It’s very objective.
What is the most common reason for disqualifying an applicant without an interview?
No hands-on experience in the skill areas we are seeking. The importance of previous employment in the field (even at the student level!) and internships/practicums cannot be understated.
Do you (or does your library) give candidates feedback about applications or interview performance?
√ Other: only whether or not they’ve obtained an interview, no specifics
What is the most important thing for a job hunter to do in order to improve his/her/their hirability?
Get some hands-on experience working in the field! Even if it is a student job or internship.
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 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?
Those candidates with experience often come out at the top of the applicant pool, simply because they have proven that they can apply the skills we are looking for. They don’t need to have experience as a “professional librarian”, just on-the-job/internship experience in a library setting related to what we’re hiring for.
Is librarianship a dying profession?
For some context, look at the most recent summary of responses.