This 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:
Collection development librarians and liaison librarians
This librarian works at a library with 50-100 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?
√ 25 or fewer
Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?
√ 25% or less
And how would you define “hirable”?
Provided all required paperwork and met all minimum requirements.
How are applications evaluated, and by whom?
By a committee of librarians, including the supervisor and librarians from within and outside of the department.
What is the most common reason for disqualifying an applicant without an interview?
Not providing required materials.
Do you (or does your library) give candidates feedback about applications or interview performance?
√ Other: Potentially we would–but only informally and only if asked
What is the most important thing for a job hunter to do in order to improve his/her/their hirability?
Read the instructions on the application system very thoroughly. Answer all required questions and provide all required materials. Call HR or reach out to the head of the search committee if you have questions about what’s required. Research very thoroughly the library’s programs, client base, community, and strategic plan *before* the interview. More generally, job seekers should be willing to reach outside of their comfort zone when it comes to job responsibilities and be willing to move.
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 more positions
Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with part-time or hourly workers over the past decade?
√ I don’t know
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, only “familiarity with” or “knowledge of” certain aspects of librarianship. I expect graduates to have had at least an internship, work-study, or graduate assistantship.
Is librarianship a dying profession?
√ Other: It is a changing profession
Why or why not?
User needs are changing, as are the way they seek to fulfill those needs. There will always be a need for someone like a librarian to teach people and help people do research and to curate and develop collections. The pace of change is rapid, but if we can be flexible and nimble, we will still have plenty of work to do.
Do you have any other comments, for job hunters or about the survey?
I hear people complaining about how they will “never” get a job and it makes me mad because we have only a few candidates for some of our job openings. Not everyone is going to get their dream job right out of school. Open your mind, be willing to move, be flexible, be patient. Also, ask a friend to be brutally honest about your resume, cover letters, and interviewing style. Simple professionalism is not as common as you think–you can easily outshine other candidates by being professional, personable, and showing some passion about the job in question.
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.