Surprising how many use our online submission system and fail to submit a required document

Paramaribo market scene. Woman seated with baskets of produce. 1922.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:

reference and instruction librarians

This librarian works at a library with 100-200 staff members in an urban area in the Northeastern 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”?

meets all required qualifications; holds a desirable number of preferred qualifications; interviews well (i.e., answers questions thoughtfully, asks good questions, is personable, demonstrates presentation capabilities, etc), demonstrates intellectual curiosity, shows potential even if lacking in some skill set area.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

HR passes along all applications to the search committee.All committee members review all applications. Committee members than gather to review the candidates and identify those showing the greatest potential for the position and who will be invited to a first round phone interview.

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

lack of qualifications (do not meet requirements); fails to follow instructions (surprising how many use our online submission system and fail to submit a required document); poorly organized or errors in resume; poorly written cover letter or a glaring error (e.g., copying an old cover letter and forgetting to change the name of the library)

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

√ No

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

make sure they are qualified for the position before submitting a resume. that said i know many people who are job searching will apply for just about anything on the chance no one will be more qualified than he or she is – but this is usually not a good strategy.Submit an error free cover letter that is no more than 2 pages. Address the job qualifications in the cover letter.

I want to hire someone who is


How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 100-200

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

√ 5-6

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

√ 3-4

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?

√ 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?

experience is required for entry-level positions, although that might just be part-time or internship work. It is typically an official requirement.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

in higher education the academic library is a necessary component of the student education and faculty research process. academic administrators and faculty look to the library to provide resources and support. To avoid marginalization or obsolescence the librarians need to be proactive in demonstrating value, integrating into the curriculum and developing new services to deliver personalized learning and research support.

Do you hire librarians?  Take this survey: or take other Hiring Librarians surveys.

For some context, look at the most recent summary of responses.


1 Comment

Filed under 100-200 staff members, Academic, Northeastern US, State of the Job Market 2015, Urban area

One response to “Surprising how many use our online submission system and fail to submit a required document

  1. Amy

    I would say to this librarian: if a surprising number of people are failing to attach required documents using your online submission system, you might want to take a fresh look at that system, too. A few user errors is one thing, but if it’s happening a lot, you might have a flawed system on your hands. After a recent round of submissions, I was surprised at how many online submission systems made it very, very easy to miss things like that, and how many just made it very unclear how to proceed.

    I get that the applicant should be doing most of the legwork here, and should be vigilant about following instructions. But as an applicant, when I saw an application process that was difficult to follow or just plain confusing, I tended to think, “well, this place doesn’t seem to care much about details or user experience, so probably not a good place for me to go anyway.”


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