Randall Schroeder has been a professional librarian for over 33 years. A graduate of the University of Iowa library and information science program, he has spent most of his career as an academic librarian in public service and instruction, but briefly went over to the dark side of administration. Most recently he was a director of a small, rural public library in Iowa.
His recent projects include publishing his first book and a TEDx Talk about information literacy, media, and misinformation. He currently lives in Coralville, Iowa.
Briefly describe the hiring process at your organization and your role in it:
As the library director, I was usually the chair of a hiring committee. I had a big voice, but not the sole voice.
Titles hired include: Public service librarian, information technology librarian, Library Dean
Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:
√ Library Administration
Which of the following does your organization regularly require of candidates?
√ Online application
√ Cover letter
√ Supplemental Questions
√ Demonstration (teaching, storytime, etc)
√ A whole day of interviews
√ A meal with hiring personnel
Does your organization use automated application screening?
Think about the last candidate who really wowed you, on paper, in an interview, or otherwise. Why were they so impressive?
I had one candidate who led school groups at a science museum in Indiana. I figured if she could handle middle school students, first-year college students should hold no terror.
Do you have any instant dealbreakers?
Getting the name of the organization wrong in materials. Grammar and spelling mistakes. No degree if the position says it is required, especially in academe.
What do you wish you could know about candidates that isn’t generally revealed in the hiring process?
Ability to be collegial and general people skills. Anybody can fake it for the duration of an interview.
How many pages should each of these documents be?
Cover Letter: √ Two is ok, but no more
Resume: √ Only One!
CV: √ As many as it takes, but keep it reasonable and relevant
What is the most common mistake that people make in an interview?
They are all different. Everybody is on their best behaviour. There hasn’t been any single common mistake.
Do you conduct virtual interviews? What do job hunters need to know about shining in this setting?
Be patient with technology issues and low bandwidth. Be ready for a ‘Plan B’
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?
More advice to the people doing the hiring: Don’t silo people. Everybody’s story is different and you are losing out on some great talent because they don’t fit into your square hole.
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?
Not much. I always have a dean hollering to hire more diversity, which we want, but it is excruciatingly hard to convince diversity to come to Iowa, let alone apply. I don’t know what the solution to that is.
What questions should candidates ask you? What is important for them to know about your organization and the position you are hiring for?
Have at least one question that is specific to my organization so I know they at least looked at the web site before they showed up.
What part of the world are you in?
√ Midwestern US
What’s your region like?
Is your workplace remote/virtual?
√ Never or not anymore
How many staff members are at your organization?
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