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:
(Our cataloger position is a support staff position although it requires an MLS. It is going to be open this year due to retirement and we are going through the justification for approval to fill it now.)
This librarian works at a library with 10-50 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?
Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?
√ 51-75 %
And how would you define “hirable”?
Had relevant experience = we were searching for a reference/instruction librarian (academic experience)
How are applications evaluated, and by whom?
HR used basic criteria to weed out first applicants (i.e. verification that they had an MLS). After that all application materials are sent to the committee members via an online ‘link’. Using a matrix that was completed before the process even began, the committee evaluated each application. After that, the committee met to talk about the applications and result of our criteria matrix and we decided on six people to interview.
What is the most common reason for disqualifying an applicant without an interview?
They did not have the experience or qualities on our criteria matrix for instance one criteria was ‘experience providing reference assistance.’ If the applicant did not list any reference experience, they did not meet that criteria.
Do you (or does your library) give candidates feedback about applications or interview performance?
What is the most important thing for a job hunter to do in order to improve his/her/their hirability?
Read the career advertisement carefully and be sure to address all of the aspects listed for the job in describing work experience. Read the library website information and include relevant information related to that library. Do not use a form letter changing the job information – there is always one person who has done that and does not check it carefully and has the wrong job or location in it. Make sure there are no punctuation and grammar errors on the online job application and make sure to include everything on the online job application form even if it is in your resume.
I want to hire someone who is
a team player
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?
√ There are fewer positions
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?
Does your workplace require experience for entry-level professional positions? If so, is it an official requirement or just what happens in practice?
It is not required, but preferred. The librarian that we just hired in in her very first librarian position – she worked in para-professional jobs before, but she was able to get the experience because in her case librarian positions were replaced with para-professionals.
Is librarianship a dying profession?
√ I don’t know
Why or why not?
It has been a real battle to get any library positions approved for hire by the administration at my institution.
Do you have any other comments, for job hunters or about the survey?
Job Hunters – it helps to have two master’s degrees for academic library work even if not required. Other faculty on the hiring committee look for subject knowledge beyond the MLS.
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.