This anonymous interview is with someone working at a public library who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. When asked, “Are you a librarian?”, the respondent said “It’s complicated.” This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:
We have no requirement to hire LIS. Our budget is minimal.
This person works at a library with 0-10 staff members in a rural area in the Western 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”?
Related experience and skills, demonstrated professionalism or maturity (complete and accurate resume or cover letter, minimal spelling errors, conveying enthusiasm through language rather than emoticons), nicely presented for work (tidy, clean, work-appropriate clothing and demeanor, approachable personality). (We do not require MILS).
How are applications evaluated, and by whom?
A panel of three people–typically Director, Assistant Director and Circulation Manager or employee currently in the same position–review applications and select our first, second and third choices. We review each person’s top choices and determine our first round of interviews. We interview as a panel and each of us rates the applicant’s response to standard list of questions tailored for the job opening. Afterward, we discuss the analytical scores, as well as consider a gut reaction to determine the best candidate. This is a new process; we are still learning about its successes.
What is the most common reason for disqualifying an applicant without an interview?
Significantly over experienced for the position. Significantly unprepared for professional work as evidenced by attitudes revealed in the cover letter, or a multitude of grammar and spelling errors–lack of reviewing completed work. Unwilling to work the hours needed for the position.
Do you (or does your library) give candidates feedback about applications or interview performance?
√ Other: have not been asked.
What is the most important thing for a job hunter to do in order to improve his/her/their hirability?
Demonstrate professionalism throughout the job application process–tidy appearance, no strong odors, spellcheck, approachable personality, curiosity about the position.
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?
Can you tell us how the number of permanent, full-time librarian positions at your workplace has changed over the past decade?
√ Other: We proactively seek to create more full time positions, but it depends on funding.
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?
√ Other: We do not require MILS for any position.
Does your workplace require experience for entry-level professional positions? If so, is it an official requirement or just what happens in practice?
related experience is a plus.
Is librarianship a dying profession?
√ Other: it’s a changing one
Why or why not?
Technology is changing the required skills a person working in the library must have. Library systems are more user-friendly and do not require special educational/college training, perhaps with the exception of cataloguing. Greater needs for improved and advanced access to technology creates need for employees skilled in information technology.
For some context, look at the most recent summary of responses.