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:
This librarian works at a library with 100-200 staff members in an urban area in the Southern US.
Approximately how many people applied for the last librarian (or other professional level) job at your workplace?
√ more than 100, but less than 200
Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?
√ 26-50 %
And how would you define “hirable”?
Meeting the minimum qualifications and telling us so in the cover letter and resume (we can’t know that a candidate is qualified in a particular area if the project where they gained the experience is neither highlighted on their cover letter nor in their resume prominently)
How are applications evaluated, and by whom?
We receive all resumes from candidates with an MLIS/impending MLIS. I believe one of our admin assistants in library administration culls the initial list to get to that point. Once all minimally qualified candidates (minimally qualified in this case just being the MLIS, not major job requirements) are screened, then the committee is directed to a list of the applications. All applications are rated by a three-person search committee through SurveyMonkey using a standard rubric we developed in-house (asking questions such as does candidate have ALA accredited MLIS, but also whether on a Likert scale they meet the major job requirements. Significant minor requirements are also sometimes included). The committee meets with the library HR person to evaluate the Survey Monkey results and the search proceeds from there.
What is the most common reason for disqualifying an applicant without an interview?
Failure to draw a clear picture between their past experience and education and the job requirements.
Do you (or does your library) give candidates feedback about applications or interview performance?
What is the most important thing for a job hunter to do in order to improve his/her/their hirability?
We will happily hire–or at least interview–new grads or librarians from other types of libraries or whatever might be perceived as a barrier *if they indicate how their education and experience have prepared them for the job in question*. So it would be fantastic if job hunters really, truly tailored their cover letters and resumes to the job in question. Really, that’s it. It’s not magic.
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?
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?
√ 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?
No, we don’t. We’re rather explicit in the job ad about how we’re open to new grads and we demonstrate that by actually hiring them (over five in my department alone this past year). Those applicants with experience, whether professional or through internships or volunteering, will rise to the top of the list but that’s not a disqualification for others who don’t have experience.
Is librarianship a dying profession?
Why or why not?
We continue, in changed and occasionally diminished form. The need hasn’t changed, though the perception and the container have.
Do you have any other comments, for job hunters or about the survey?
Please oh please take the time to clearly link your education and experience to our needs. We are busy people who do this sort of thing on top of other job duties and we receive hundreds of applications if it’s a popular job. We simply don’t have the time to connect the dots in your application–do it for us.
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.