Monthly Archives: March 2022

Our process generally follows the ACRL Guidelines for Recruiting Academic Librarians

Image of Mollie Huston Lee in the stacks of the Richard B. Harrison Library, 1968
Image: Mollie Huston Lee, Richard B. Harrison Library, 1968, Flickr user North Carolina Digital Heritage Center via CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for an:

√ Academic Library

Title: Associate Dean

Titles hired include: Records Manager, Clinical Librarian, STEM Librarian, Assessment & Analytics Librarian, Social Sciences Liaison, Business Liaison, Hospital Library Manager, Metadata Librarian, Technical Services Librarian, etc.

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ Library Administration

√ The position’s supervisor

√ A Committee or panel

Which of the following does your organization regularly require of candidates?

√ Online application

√ Cover letter

√ CV

√ References

√ Proof of degree

√ Demonstration (teaching, storytime, etc)

√ More than one round of interviews

√ A whole day of interviews

√ A meal with hiring personnel

√ Other: Meetings with non-library stakeholders

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No

Briefly describe the hiring process at your organization and your role in it:

I serve ex-officio on all librarian search committees to oversee process integrity. Our process generally follows the ACRL Guidelines for Recruiting Academic Librarians

Think about the last candidate who really wowed you, on paper, in an interview, or otherwise. Why were they so impressive?

Someone who has clearly done their homework about the institution and the clarity of responses to our questions. I prefer and brief but direct response to a question than a lot of rambling. Someone who has concrete examples for each of the qualifications in the job announcement.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Not meeting the minimum qualifications; a cover letter that is not written for our job and does not attempt to match experiences and background with our requirements

What do you wish you could know about candidates that isn’t generally revealed in the hiring process?

I think we do a very good job of learning about the experience and interpersonal skills of the candidates during our interview process. We spend a lot of time designing the interview experience for the purpose. A challenge sometimes for committees is figuring out how to weigh experience against someone who has strong interpersonal skills and may have the potential to be exceptional in the position. A well-prepared candidate can overcome this with having examples of how they demonstrated such things as collaboration or project management even if they don’t have much actual library or other work experience. On occasion, I have been surprised at how differently someone behaves on the job compared to how they responded during the interview, but fortunately this doesn’t often happen.

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Two is ok, but no more

CV: √ As many as it takes, but keep it reasonable and relevant

What is the most common mistake that people make in an interview?

Lack of preparation; not doing homework about the institution; vague responses to questions; bad-mouthing current employer

Do you conduct virtual interviews? What do job hunters need to know about shining in this setting?

That is all we have been doing for the past few years. Candidates should prepare exactly as they would for an in-person experience. Also, make the effort to make sure the technology will work and you have a private space for the interview. I always offer to do a trial run but not many people take me up on the offer. Someone who is not prepared to share a document for example using our platform will perform less well than someone who knows how to make it work.

How can candidates looking to transition from paraprofessional work, from non-library work, or between library types convince you that their experience is relevant? Or do you have other advice for folks in this kind of situation?

Make sure you can connect the dots between your experiences in a paraprofessional role and the requirements of the position. If your job has not allowed you to have certain experiences, e.g. project management or supervision, at least be prepared to describe best practices you have observed.

When does your organization *first* mention salary information?

√ Other: The minimum is posted in the job ad (not a range) but is not discussed in detail until an offer is made.

What does your organization do to reduce bias in hiring? What are the contexts in which discrimination still exists in this process?

Committee members are required to complete an implicit bias training and the university has created some best practice guidelines and oversight to ensure committee are following best practices. My role on the committee is also to help the group mitigate biases. Although each committee is constructed to have at least one member who is a person of color, the norms for the process and candidate screening are still pretty centered on whiteness and could introduce discrimination at any point. The goal at this time is awareness and mitigation.

What questions should candidates ask you? What is important for them to know about your organization and the position you are hiring for?

About priorities for the job; how will success be measured; questions about working environment; really anything that conveys an interest in our job, not just a job.

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Southeastern US

What’s your region like?

√ Urban

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Some of the time and/or in some positions

How many staff members are at your organization?

√ 101-200

Author’s note: Hey, thanks for reading! If you like reading, why not trying commenting or sharing? Or are you somebody who hires Library, Archives or other LIS workers? Please consider giving your own opinion by filling out the survey here.

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Filed under 1 A Return to Hiring Librarians Survey, 100-200 staff members, Academic, Southeastern US, Urban area

Candidates have more leverage now than previously

Photograph of Pack Horse Librarian Packing Saddle Bag
Image: Photograph of Pack Horse Librarian Packing Saddle Bag National Archives Catalog

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Academic Library

√ Archives

Title: Director

Titles hired: various flavors of Archivist and Librarian

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ Library Administration

√ Other: upon the recommendation of search committee

Which of the following does your organization regularly require of candidates?

√ Online application

√ Cover letter

√ CV

√ References

√ Demonstration (teaching, storytime, etc)

√ More than one round of interviews

√ A whole day of interviews

√ A meal with hiring personnel

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No

Briefly describe the hiring process at your organization and your role in it:

For academic searches, a committee that includes peers is appointed. They oversee the search process and select finalists. Final recommendations go to the unit administrator and dean.

Think about the last candidate who really wowed you, on paper, in an interview, or otherwise. Why were they so impressive?

Extensive hands-on experience and practiced at interviewing. Early-career.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Rudeness. Failure to research the institution or express interest in the city.

What do you wish you could know about candidates that isn’t generally revealed in the hiring process?

N/A academic library interviews are about as in-depth as it gets. It’s up to the hiring manager and committee to ask the right questions.

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Two is ok, but no more √ As many as it takes, but keep it reasonable and relevant

CV: √ As many as it takes, but keep it reasonable and relevant

What is the most common mistake that people make in an interview?

Not taking the opportunity to ask questions of us. This isn’t a dealbreaker or really factors in to how I evaluate candidates, but it is a big opportunity for a candidate to learn about the organization and unearth red flags.

Do you conduct virtual interviews? What do job hunters need to know about shining in this setting?

Yes. Practice basic Zoom if it isn’t a big part of your life. Switching to screenshare, looking at settings, etc. Practice interview questions with a friend or colleague so that you feel comfortable.

How can candidates looking to transition from paraprofessional work, from non-library work, or between library types convince you that their experience is relevant? Or do you have other advice for folks in this kind of situation?

Explain why it is relevant, and describe the connections. Don’t make the interviewers do all the work. Some will have made the jump and can readily see the connections, but others won’t and you need to spell it out for them. If you have primarily worked in a para setting, don’t just describe the tasks you did, describe the broader initiative and function (context for your role) to demonstrate that you are thinking on a macro level.

When does your organization *first* mention salary information?

√ It’s part of the job ad

What does your organization do to reduce bias in hiring? What are the contexts in which discrimination still exists in this process?

Anti-bias training for search committee members, preliminary discussions about interpreting criteria and how to apply it more inclusively

What questions should candidates ask you? What is important for them to know about your organization and the position you are hiring for?

Mission, short/long term priorities, how retention is prioritized, EDI/DEI

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Midwestern US

What’s your region like?

√ Urban

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Some of the time and/or in some positions

How many staff members are at your organization?

√ 101-200

Is there anything else you’d like to say, either to job hunters or to me, the survey author? Or are there any questions you think we should add?

LIS/archives searches are still very competitive, but candidates have more leverage now than previously. Use that leverage to ask questions and to negotiate a better offer.

Author’s note: Hey, thanks for reading! If you like reading, why not trying commenting or sharing? Or are you somebody who hires Library, Archives or other LIS workers? Please consider giving your own opinion by filling out the survey here.

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Filed under 100-200 staff members, Academic, Archives, Midwestern US, Urban area

Please wear all your clothes (pants, too!)

Librarian Marie Bracey and another woman look at a book at a circulation desk
Image: Librarian,_Marie_Bracey,_1952, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Public Library

Title: Director

Titles hired include: All of them from Page to Associate Director

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ Library Administration

√ The position’s supervisor

√ Employees at the position’s same level (on a panel or otherwise)

Which of the following does your organization regularly require of candidates?

√ Online application

√ More than one round of interviews

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No

Briefly describe the hiring process at your organization and your role in it:

I place an ad in the local paper and on indeed. From applications a pool of applicants is selected. The Manager who will be supervising the new hire and I as director meet and discuss. Interviews are set. The same questions are asked of each interviewee. Depending on the position, a second interview may be set. All candidates receive an interview or letter letting them know the status of the position. Those who were interviewed always get a call in addition whether they were hired or not.

Think about the last candidate who really wowed you, on paper, in an interview, or otherwise. Why were they so impressive?

They seemed together and organized, not desperate. They asked questions when they did not understand something. That is not to say they were not nervous. I have had extremely nervous candidates do very well in interviews.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

People who are not really interested in the job they are interviewing for.

What do you wish you could know about candidates that isn’t generally revealed in the hiring process?

Actually, part of the reason I usually have two or more people in on the interview is staff sees things I don’t or confirms what I notice. And when a manager makes a call, I let them try someone out–unless I feel very strongly to the contrary. I have a few new managers here, and they need to make supported mistakes.

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ We don’t ask for this

Resume: √ We don’t ask for this

CV: √ We don’t ask for this

What is the most common mistake that people make in an interview?

Being late or talking too much–rambling.

Do you conduct virtual interviews? What do job hunters need to know about shining in this setting?

Yes. I’m horribly not judgmental about this. However, try and look as groomed as you would in a regular face to face, please wear all your clothes (pants, too!) and have a plain wall, a potted plant, books, or something behind you. Keep the tv or radio off–housemates (and pets) out of the room. I only say thins because these are my mistakes. I have interviewed people who have rolled out of bed (literally–in their bedroom) and hired them after a second interview because we saw something valuable to the community there.

How can candidates looking to transition from paraprofessional work, from non-library work, or between library types convince you that their experience is relevant? Or do you have other advice for folks in this kind of situation?

Know your computer experience–what systems did you work with. What did they do? Did you train people on them. Did you work in retail or customer service? How did you interact with the public? Are you organized. How? Are you familiar with any filing systems? Do you use your library? How? Are you familiar with its shelving system, online catalog, e-materials, anything else it offers? Other work translates well to the library, and we need people from the public sector who understand accounting, marketing, computers, and the like. Be willing to continue your education. I have worked with pages who are now MLS YA librarians, programmers, IT specialists. Managers who have come from marketing and admin assistant positions. All very capable. Several who began as shelvers. I try and cover some of their schooling if I can. Many of them are the next library generation. I need them to be successful here, and go on if necessary to spread the good word.

When does your organization *first* mention salary information?

√ It’s part of the job ad

What does your organization do to reduce bias in hiring? What are the contexts in which discrimination still exists in this process?

We interview anyone qualified. My biggest issues in staffing are people who are retired and looking for part time work (which unfortunately has not worked out in the recent past) and those who think that a rural city is like any other, and do not enjoy living here. I’ll take all comers, they have to accept the place for what it is.

What questions should candidates ask you? What is important for them to know about your organization and the position you are hiring for?

What’s the best thing about working here? What is the work environment like? Other than specific duties and hours which are frequently discussed during the interview.

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Other: Northern Great Lakes (which sometimes feels like the end of everywhere)

What’s your region like? (Check all that apply)

√ Other: It is a Rural City. 90 miles from the next rural city, but the biggest place with a variety of big box stores (other than Walmart)

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Never or not anymore

How many staff members are at your organization?

√ 11-50

Author’s note: Hey, thanks for reading! If you like reading, why not try commenting or sharing? Or are you somebody who hires Library, Archives or other LIS workers? Please consider giving your own opinion by filling out the survey here.

2 Comments

Filed under 1 A Return to Hiring Librarians Survey, 10-50 staff members, Public, Rural area

Do you hire library workers?

Image of a checklist

Are you now or have you ever been someone who hires library workers, archives workers, or other information professionals? Please fill out the new survey!

This is the first step in creating new blog content!!!

Responses will be used to create blog posts here at hiringlibrarians.com and in related work that is primarily of interest to job hunters.

Questions relate to the respondent’s organization, the hiring process, and experience and opinions about hiring and hireability.

There are 23 questions, including multiple choice and demographic questions. It should take 10-15 minutes to complete.

No questions are required. All questions are on one page so respondents may navigate around and look at all the questions before answering any, skip backwards and forwards, edit before submitting, etc.

If respondents are interested in being featured as part of a blog post, they may provide contact information. I will work with them to make sure they approve of everything that is posted. Otherwise, all answers are anonymously recorded.

Questions, comments, and concerns welcome.

Leave a comment

Filed under 1 A Return to Hiring Librarians Survey, News and Administration

Putting the Blog Back Together?

Hi!

Remember the blog Hiring Librarians?

The basic premise was that I created a survey which could be completed anonymously (or not), by anyone who might hire a librarian, in all library types, as well as in non-library organizations that hire information professionals, and then I posted responses to that survey on the blog. You can see what that looked like here.

I stopped posting new content in 2016 because I was working full time and wanted more of my non-working hours for fun things. But now I am transitioning to consulting and have a lot more flexible time. So, I’ve been thinking about starting the blog up again. I’m currently looking at how I might revamp that original survey

So my question for you is:

If you could ask a large number of people who do library hiring some questions, what questions would you ask?

If you’re interested, the questions I asked on the original survey are:

  • Do you have any instant dealbreakers, either in the application packet or the interview process?
  • What are you tired of seeing on resumes/in cover letters?
  • Is there anything that people don’t put on their resumes that you wish they did?
  • How many pages should a cover letter be?
  • How many pages should a resume/CV be?
  • Do you have a preferred format for application documents?
  • Should a resume/CV have an Objective statement?
  • If applications are emailed, how should the cover letter be submitted?
  • What’s the best way to win you over in an interview?
  • What are some of the most common mistakes people make in an interview?
  • How has hiring changed at your organization since you’ve been in on the process?
  • Demographic info (library type, region, size, etc.)

I’m also happy to hear any other feedback you might have. Thanks!

Image: Blues Brothers Car by Antoine Taveneaux, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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Filed under News and Administration