This anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a hiring manager, a member of a hiring or search committee, and a human resources professional. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:
Adult Services, Children’s Teens, Circulation Specialists, Paraprofessionals, Clerical, Subject Specialists.
This librarian works at a library with 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?
√ 25% or less
And how would you define “hirable”?
Capable of mastering the basic skills necessary in a publicly funded customer institution in a way that would not be detrimental or embarrassing to the service as a whole.
How are applications evaluated, and by whom?
HR grades applications on a point scale based upon a committee designed legal job description
What is the most common reason for disqualifying an applicant without an interview?
Illiteracy, spotty job history, insufficient credentials, falsehoods included on document, criminal record, fake references.
Do you (or does your library) give candidates feedback about applications or interview performance?
√ Other: If they ask, I will. It is against our policy, though
What is the most important thing for a job hunter to do in order to improve his/her/their hirability?
Have someone else proofread their application. Have someone else evaluate if they are addressing the job description. Don’t lie.
I want to hire someone who is
doesn’t immediately start our professional relationship making demands or questioning our judgment
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?
√ 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 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?
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 do not. Due to the volume of hiring that we do, those with experience tend to interview better.
Is librarianship a dying profession?
Why or why not?
Librarians are killing it. LIS education is a bad joke. We need people who have good IT skills and can talk with the public. These people no longer look to librarianship as a viable career. Instead they go to management positions in IT. We get the second careerers whose first careers just didn’t work out. There’s usually a compelling reason why, and its often not what they tell us.
For some context, look at the most recent summary of responses.