Libraries are about people so relevant customer service skills regardless of industry is highly important

African-American children line up outside of Albemarle Region bookmobile. Photographer not indicated., CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Public Library

Title: Director

Titles hired: Childrens Librarian, Teen Librarian, Library Assistant, Custodian

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ Library Administration

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

√ Cover letter

√ Resume

√ References

√ Demonstration (teaching, storytime, etc)

√ 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:

Applications are accepted via email only. Must include resume and cover letter. Applicants receive a reply notifying them that their application has been received and if they are chosen for an interview they will be notified by a certain date. Candidates are interviewed. 2nd interviews are done if necessary. If there is a qualified candidate a job offer is made. Our interview process generally includes a panel of library staff that will work with the new hire but the ultimate decision is the library directors.

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

They brought examples of the work from prior positions and explained how they would implement those programs and procedures at our library

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

If they don’t include an email address on I won’t interview because that is how I communicate with staff.

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

A bit more about their work ethic and and commitment to an organization and their need for support by administration

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Only One!

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?

Asking questions about time off scheduling et cetera before even having an offer. Or saying they like reading and that’s why they want to work at the library

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

We haven’t, but I would be open to doing so although in fairness to all candidates if one candidate needed a virtual interview I think we would virtually interview all

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?

Libraries are about people so relevant customer service skills regardless of industry is highly important to me when hiring. For desk staff I look for people with either library or retail experience.

When does your organization *first* mention salary information?

√ It’s part of the job ad

√ It’s part of the information provided at the interview

√ We only discuss after we’ve made an offer

√ Other…

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

We try to solicit diverse candidates but find it difficult and are constantly looking for ways to improve the process.

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

I assume they have reviewed our website for as much information about our organization before the interview. I would hope they would ask questions about what they see there and how the position they are filling would would interact with those goals

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Northeastern US

What’s your region like?

√ Suburban

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Never or not anymore

How many staff members are at your organization?

√ 11-50

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

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