Learn how to read and write.

Fruit and vegetable vendors, Pike Place Market, Seattle, WashingtonThis anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee a human resources professional. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Reference &Instruction librarians, archivists.

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in a rural area in the Northeastern 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”?

Demonstrated reading and writing ability. Attention to detail, following directions.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

The search committee ranks them individually from 1-3, we combine scores and if necessary discuss borderline candidates.

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

Poor writing skills, not addressing the qualifications specified in the job ad. Lack of relevant experience. I can not over emphasize how poorly written most cover letters are or how many applicants don’t think it is necessary to respond to the job ad.

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?

Learn how to read and write. Tailor the cover letter to the job you are applying for.

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?

√ 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?

√ Other: We are down now but still trying to hire someone but may loose funding.

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?

Experience preferred and we count library work during library school  as experience for new librarians.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

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

Read the job ad. Respond to the job ad – we don’t care about your awesome project that has nothing to do with the job you are applying for. Have someone edit your cover letter. Read the letter out loud. And looked at the library/campus website and say something about us in the letter. If you don’t tell us why you want to work for us why would we interview you?

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.

1 Comment

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

One response to “Learn how to read and write.

  1. karijo84

    I don’t know whose mistake it was, but I find humor that this anonymous librarian is very brash that young librarians don’t know how to read or write, yet used “loose” instead of “lose”. Maybe they should take their own advice?


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