This anonymous interview is with an public 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:
Technical services, reference, children’s, teen.
This librarian works at a library with 100-200 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 or fewer
Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?
√ 25% or less
And how would you define “hirable”?
That magical alchemy of experience, personality and education.
How are applications evaluated, and by whom?
HR weeds out applications. We only get the ones that meet minimum qualifications (education, experience). From those, we have to choose 5 (if there are more than 5, if there are less, we interview all). Since everyone who hits my desk meets the minimum requirements, I look at other things that I consider red flags-spelling, grammar, serial job-hopping, mysterious gaps or abrupt terminations, references, etc.
What is the most common reason for disqualifying an applicant without an interview?
For me, serial job-hopping. I’m not going to spend time on a candidate who has never stayed in a job for more than a year.
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?
Be diverse in your experience, specialization is great, but I love to see people who stretch.
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?
√ 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?
Generally, we advertise for a minumum of 1 year, and we do take into account volunteering.
Is librarianship a dying profession?
Why or why not?
The field is changing, not dying. Technology has altered the landscape, but I don’t think it’s killed the profession.
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.