Kathryn Levenson has been the Librarian at Piedmont High School for 6 years. Her passion as CSLA Chair for Freedom of Information is providing resources to Librarians with book challenges.
She also loves mysteries, travel and cats.
Briefly describe the hiring process at your organization and your role in it:
Update job description. Internal Posting. External Posting on EdJoin. Form hiring committee. Review applications. Interview panel. Contact references of 2 to 3 finalists. Committee members rank their choices. Some Discussion. The Librarian makes the final decision after consulting with the Principal.
Titles hired include: Library Assistant
Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:
√ Library Administration
√ The position’s supervisor
√ A Committee or panel
√ Employees at the position’s same level (on a panel or otherwise)
√ Other: Principal
Which of the following does your organization regularly require of candidates?
√ Online application
√ Oral Exam/Structured interview
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?
Our choice was between someone like me in terms of skills, but with accounting skills as well and someone totally different: more creative, great with kids, had worked as a para educator for many years at the elementary school in our district. Good at working with SPED students and already knew many students.
Do you have any instant dealbreakers?
Arrogance. Rehearsed answers.
What do you wish you could know about candidates that isn’t generally revealed in the hiring process?
Dedication. Love helping students. Creative problem solvers. Additional talents.
How many pages should each of these documents be?
Cover Letter: √ We don’t ask for this
Resume: √ Two is ok, but no more
CV: √ We don’t ask for this
What is the most common mistake that people make in an interview?
Not really listening to our questions. Saying they can fix our system. Not trying to connect with the panel.
Do you conduct virtual interviews? What do job hunters need to know about shining in this setting?
We did not pre Covid.
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?
Be flexible, caring, willing to work around each others’ schedules, and be supportive when the Librarian has last minute meetings.
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?
Be open to all kinds of people. My most recent assistant is the only male in our library system. In our oral interviews, we had 3 female and 2 male candidates, all white. We have a DEI Administrator for the District and a commitment to hiring diverse staff. I especially appreciate people continuing their education at the same time.
What questions should candidates ask you? What is important for them to know about your organization and the position you are hiring for?
How flexible are the hours? It is a 50% position but requires extra days at the start and end of the year. How often is the Library open? What kind of activities occur in the Library?
What part of the world are you in?
√ Western US
What’s your region like?
√ Other: Next to a large diverse urban area.
Is your workplace remote/virtual?
√ Never or not anymore
How many staff members are at your organization?
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