We haven’t hired for an entry-level position in many years.

Vegetable MArket in Stocklholm 1951This 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:

subject liaisons (reference/instruction), digital initiatives, electronic resources, archives, collection development

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff 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?

√ 25 or fewer

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 25% or less

And how would you define “hirable”?

When I am hiring (either as chair of a search committee or as a member of a committee), I expect a successful (“hireable”) candidate to have the experience required for the position. I do read cover letters, so I expect the letters to be well written and descriptive. I am also open to interviewing candidates who might have slightly different but similar experiences and have the potential to succeed.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

All applications are reviewed by the search committee. Each member of the committee ranks each candidate’s application by yes (appears qualified), maybe (might be qualified), and no (not qualified). The committee then meets to discuss our rankings. Sometimes opinions will be changed in this meeting. If a candidate is deemed qualified by a majority of the committee members, we will proceed to the phone interview stage. If a candidate is questionable, but appears on paper to have potential, we will also proceed with a phone interview. We don’t have a specific set of rubrics that we follow.

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

The candidate does have the appropriate educational or work experience. So many people apply for positions for which they are clearly unqualified. I hate rejecting people but if you have none of the experiences that we are looking for listed on resume or mentioned in your cover letter, I am not going to take the time to talk to you.

Do you (or does your library) give candidates feedback about applications or interview performance?

√ Other: Only if asked.

What is the most important thing for a job hunter to do in order to improve his/her/their hirability?

Be flexible and take the time to wrote original cover letters for each position and have multiple versions of your resume. Also make sure that your resume contains pertinent information. Be reasonable regarding the length of your resume and cover letter.

I want to hire someone who is


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?

√ 1

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

√ 1

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?

√ No

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

√ No

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

We haven’t hired for an entry-level position in many years. If I were to hire for an entry-level position in the near future, I would expect the candidate to have had some library work experiences as a graduate assistant, a practicum, or paraprofessional. That said, if a candidate only had classroom experience, if they demonstrated potential, I might consider hiring the candidate. Having potential to success is important to me since not everyone has had a chance to do “real” library work.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

It isn’t dying but it is evolving.

Do you have any other comments, for job hunters or about the survey?

Good luck! And be willing to relocate.

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, Rural area, State of the Job Market 2015

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