The job doesn’t always go to the most experienced candidate

Queipo Market in Little Havana - MiamiThis 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:

Instruction/reference librarians
electronic resources librarians

This librarian works at a library with 0-10 staff members in a suburban area in the Midwestern 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”?

A combination of the right level of experience and prospective fit within the current team/system. The job doesn’t always go to the most experienced candidate – fit and specific skills can be important.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

Everything gets passed on to us (no HR pre-weed) and a hiring committee made up of professional library staff decides who to interview and ultimately hire.

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

We’re a smaller institution with a specific mission, so we’re often looking for people with really specific experiences and interests.

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?

Write a good cover letter that gets right to the point and addresses the main job qualifications. Present a clear, strong case for why you are a good match with the skills we’re looking for.

I want to hire someone who is


How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 0-10

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?

√ 2

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?

It’s not required, but even for the entry-level positions we usually get tons of applicants with experience.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

Shrinking and changing, but not dying. Information science is still a unique skill set that is hard to replicate or do without when it’s needed.

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

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

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Filed under 0-10 staff members, Academic, Midwestern US, State of the Job Market 2015, Suburban area

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