When the job ad says, “effective written communication skills,” which most do, the cover letter is where hiring managers will look for evidence of that.

Fruit and vegetable vendors, Pike Place Market, Seattle, Washington 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:

research librarians, technical services librarian

This librarian works at a library with 0-10 staff members in a suburban area in the Southern US.

Approximately how many people applied for the last librarian (or other professional level) job at your workplace?

√ more than 100, but less than 200

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 26-50 %

And how would you define “hirable”?

Ours was an entry level position, so I would define “hirable” as someone who had some work experience and relevant coursework and appeared to be flexible and collaborative.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

We use search committees for librarian hires.  There are criteria that go into the job ad and in the case where we had 100+ applicants, we developed additional criteria to winnow the pool further.

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

We are limited to bringing 3-4 applicants for campus interviews, and as a matter of practicality we would do video interviews for perhaps 6-8.  Depending on the size abd quality of the applicant pool, we might not be able to interview applicants who do not have the preferred 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?

Read the job ad and remember that your cover letter is your writing sample.  Tailor it to your audience and purpose and please have someone else proofread it before you send it off.

I want to hire someone who is

adaptable

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 0-10

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

√ 2

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

√ Other: 0

Can you tell us how the number of permanent, full-time librarian positions at your workplace has changed over the past decade?

√ There are more 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?

We would give preference to entry level applicants who have some work experience in libraries.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

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

Job hunters really need to focus on that cover letter as a way to get more than a glance at the rest of their materials.  When the job ad says, “effective written communication skills,” which most do, the cover letter is where hiring managers will look for evidence of that.

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 0-10 staff members, Academic, Southern US, State of the Job Market 2015, Suburban area

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