Jimmie Epling is a native of Eastern Kentucky with 40 years of experience in Kentucky, Ohio, and South Carolina public libraries. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education in History and Economics from the University of Kentucky and a Master’s degree in Library Science from the University of South Carolina.
Currently, he is in his tenth year as the Director of the Darlington County (SC) Public Library and serves as an officer in the South Carolina Library Association (SCLA).
Briefly describe the hiring process at your organization and your role in it:
Facilitator/moderator. Review applications, selection of candidates, in-person interview, task portion of the interview (if required), review of interviews, call references (if required).
Titles hired: Youth services librarian, circulation clerk, reference assistant, branch manager
Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:
√ A Committee or panel, with the final approval of the Director
Which of the following does your organization regularly require of candidates? √ Online application
√ In-person, structured interview
√ Demonstration/task (teaching, storytime, etc)
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?
Formal training and experience related to the job on paper. Passion, articulation of ideas, and examples of work offered during the in-person interview.
Do you have any instant dealbreakers?
What do you wish you could know about candidates that isn’t generally revealed in the hiring process?
The candidate’s true personality and work ethic.
How many pages should each of these documents be?
Cover Letter: √ Only one!
Resume: √ As many as it takes, but keep it reasonable and relevant
CV: √ We don’t ask for this
What is the most common mistake that people make in an interview?
Indecisiveness. Reflection before answering (for a moment) is acceptable. Lack of a strong, well conceived, or decisive answer.
Do you conduct virtual interviews? What do job hunters need to know about shining in this setting?
Appearance counts. This includes the background and setting. Also, extraneous noises or interruptions can be a problem.
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?
Decisiveness in their answer.
When does your organization *first* mention salary information?
√ It’s in the job posting and part of the information provided at the interview
What does your organization do to reduce bias in hiring? What are the contexts in which discrimination still exists in this process?
We standardize questions. The information collected for Federal statistical purposes is not shared with the interview panel. An upfront acknowledgement and commitment to diversity by the interviewers.
What questions should candidates ask you? What is important for them to know about your organization and the position you are hiring for?
If the candidate doesn’t ask, we ask “what do you expect from an organization that hires you?”
What part of the world are you in?
√ Southeastern 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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