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:
Subject liaisons. I’m just another librarian in the department, but I get put on a lot of search committees.
This librarian works at a library with 50-100 staff members in a suburban area in the Southern 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”?
Having the basic requirements we asked for in the job listing.
How are applications evaluated, and by whom?
We bypassed HR because they worked too slowly and still passed through the bad applications. We have a search committee of the position supervisor plus a few faculty and a staff member in related positions who go through the applications and decide who to contact.
What is the most common reason for disqualifying an applicant without an interview?
Lack of area expertise (we’re looking for subject librarians).
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?
Apply for jobs you’re actually qualified for. If you’re straight out of library school, make an effort in the cover letter to explain how your prior experience meets our requirements. If you can, intern in a library doing work related to the job you want.
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?
√ 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 the same number of 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?
We generally do prefer a bit of experience, but we’ll give a newbies a chance with an interview. They usually make a hash of it, so I can see that changing.
Is librarianship a dying profession?
√ Other: I’d say mutating, not dying.
Why or why not?
Finding the right information is difficult in a different way these days. We need to change our role to fit the new needs.
Do you have any other comments, for job hunters or about the survey?
With so many people applying for every open position, you need to have something about you that makes you particularly interesting and well-suited to the job. If you blend in to the crowd, you’re not going to get anywhere in this market.
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.