meet 50% of the required qualifications presented on the job description

View of street vendors at 7th and B Streets, NW (Ca. 1880) MarketThis 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:

We hire in areas relevant to higher education (so not children’s librarians)…but most others.

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in an urban area in the Western US .

Approximately how many people applied for the last librarian (or other professional level) job at your workplace?

√ 25-75

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 25% or less

And how would you define “hirable”?

meet 50% of the required qualifications presented on the job description.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

First filtered by HR, and all applications are then forwarded to the hiring manager. Usually a small group, perhaps as small as two people, than review those who we may want to bring in for interviews.

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

Lack of experience.
If a new graduate did not do some sort of externship/intership in a library and they’ve never worked in one we will usually NOT bring them in for an interview (this would be for an entry level position). We do look at other work experience. For example, someone worked in another industry for years and later in life, eg, in their 30’s, went back for their MLIS, we consider their past work experience and the internship type experience becomes moot.

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

√ Other: Only upon request, and it would be very general at best.

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

During the interview we hire primarily for personality fit. Do your research on the company, the folks that work their and look for patterned behavior (eg, LinkedIn, Twitter, eg).

The resume should be a good fit and don’t over sell–humility is valued, hubris is not. Find the balance.

I want to hire someone who is

a nice and honest person.

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?

√ Other: 15

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

√ Other: 20

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?

Professional librarians usually are required to have 2-3 years experience, but we have hired new graduates because they were a great fit (personality) with the team. The 2-3 years experience is stated on the job description but we when the process is in motion we will sometimes overlook it. We do not expect any candidate to meet 100% of the qualifications but be able to learn any skills that are needed to perform the job.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

No. Librarians and many other professionals continue to adapt to an increasingly complex and interconnected world. Those who adapt do quite nicely. Those who unable to adapt…RIP.

The skills and work of the profession continues to change, and that is true of many professions. Continuous learning and critical thinking are universal skills that if not possessed in any professional will eventually catch up with the individual. The profession is fine. How the work is define continues to evolve and has for 1000’s of years.

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

Be honest and open to learning. And be yourself. Every place I’ve worked heavily weighed personality and how the person would work with the existing team as much as skills.

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

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


Filed under 10-50 staff members, Academic, State of the Job Market 2015, Urban area, Western US

3 responses to “meet 50% of the required qualifications presented on the job description

  1. Two things that don’t make sense here: (1) hirable is that you “meet 50% of the required qualifications”: If you only need half of the requirements, are they really requirements? When I’m trying to consider requirements for librarian position ads, the question asked for each potential requirement is, “Would we hire someone without this?” If yes, it’s not a requirement. Maybe it moves down to the preferred qualifications but that list shouldn’t be too long either. And (2), I don’t understand why you wouldn’t even interview someone without work experience for an entry level position. Isn’t that what “entry level” means? If the position requires experience of some sort, then it’s not entry level.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. MLISunderstanding

    I was also confused by “meeting 50% of the required qualifications” being considered hirable. If you truly “do not expect any candidate to meet 100% of the qualifications”, then it seems that the job postings will be misleading. Having heard many times from other hiring managers that one should not apply unless one meets all of the required qualifications, I would have self-selected out of applying in order not to waste the employer’s time. My suggestion: distinguish between truly required qualifications and otherwise preferred qualifications; you can always choose the best fit based on their actual skills, experience, and willingness/ability to learn on the job.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Paulina

    Agree with both previous commenters. And also … thirties is “later life”??


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