For whatever reason, we always get flooded with applications for public service positions, but find it hard to get a qualified candidate pool in tech services.

Fish 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:

People for the area I oversee: tech services/collections.

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 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”?

Somebody who fulfills all of the “required” traits listed in the ad and some of the ones listed as “desired.”

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

Everybody on the three person committee looked at all of the applications.

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

They did not meet all of the qualifications.

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?

Improve their background so that they fulfill as many of the skills/abilities that we seek as possible.

I want to hire someone who is

collaborative

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?

√ 3-4

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

√ Other: none

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?

It just happens in practice. I think that most entry level professionals have worked in a library before as a para-professional.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ I don’t know

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

While our number of professional positions have not been reduced, we have eliminated a number of para-profession positions. I do not know why you did not ask about this in the survey. Technological improvements and student employees have allowed us to eliminate multiple para-professional positions in the last decade.

Another important question you did not ask is what types of positions did we advertise for. We had three professional openings at the same time: the one I oversaw was the Coordinator of Acquisitions; Coordinator of Circulation; and Reference Librarian/ Coordinator of Instruction. The first had a dozen applicants (of which we thought 3 were qualified); the second about 75; and the third about 85. This continues a trend that we have noticed before: either people much prefer working in public services or those skills required in tech services are demonstratable (e.g., have you catalogued books in the Voyager ILS; or have you used EBSCO’s software for ordering journals; etc.). For whatever reason, we always get flooded with applications for public service positions, but find it hard to get a qualified candidate pool in tech services. And talking to other academic librarians in our area, they find this true as well. I do not understand how surveys like yours and discussions about the job market for librarians ignore this dichotomy.

Do you hire librarians?  Take this survey: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibjobmarketsurvey or take other Hiring Librarians surveys.

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

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

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