Rachel Schmidt loves all the facets of being a librarian. In her current role, she serves as the Supervising Youth Services Librarian for the Santa Clara City Library. Growing school and local education partnerships, leading story times and providing access to learning opportunities for ages 0-18 are her main priorities.
Rachel also loves to collaborate with other librarians. Feel free to reach out!
Briefly describe the hiring process at your organization and your role in it:
1. Application submissions
2. Oral Board (Outside Panel)
3. Interview (Library Staff Panel)
4. Ref check
5. Possible 3rd Interview
Titles hired: Librarian I, Librarian II, Library Assistant, Intern Consultant
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
√ Supplemental Questions
√ Oral Exam/Structured interview
√ Demonstration (teaching, storytime, etc)
√ More than one round of interviews
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?
1. Passion and love of serving community
2. Demonstrated Problem solving and leadership
3. Excited to learn and demonstrate flexibility
Do you have any instant dealbreakers?
1. Bad story time demo
2. Not friendly
What do you wish you could know about candidates that isn’t generally revealed in the hiring process?
Their compassion for all walks of life.
How many pages should each of these documents be?
Cover Letter: √ Only One!
Resume: √ Two is ok, but no more
CV: √ Two is ok, but no more
What is the most common mistake that people make in an interview?
Not preparing. Not studying the organization. A little nod to the organiztion goes a long way. Like “ I really love how your Library uses social media to connect with your community” or “One of the main reasons that I applied for this position is that I found that EDI Is deeply embedded into the organiztions strategic plan”.
Practicing general interview strategies beforehand can really help a candidate warm up for the interview. I suggest revisiting LinkedIn for Learning or any other basic interview courses to get a reminder on the basics. When I am gearing up for an interview, I tend to practice answering questions in my car during my commute so that I can make my answers sound more succinct and I can avoid too much repetition in my experiences/statements.
Do you conduct virtual interviews? What do job hunters need to know about shining in this setting?
You need to have a strong internet connection and be able to show friendliness and professionalism. Zoom interviews are very difficult. Also, make sure to take notes and ask a few thoughtful questions after the interview to get more engagement with the panel.
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?
Great customer service is great customer service and we can learn that anywhere. Demonstrate how they go above and beyond and serve with equity. Being welcoming. Skills and job processes can be learned.
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?
Use a rubric and have multiple interviews
What questions should candidates ask you? What is important for them to know about your organization and the position you are hiring for?
Work culture. What is a regular work day like? What are your organizational goals? Strategic plan? What would you like to see accomplished in 5 years? How does your Library support professional development? How do staff have fun and bond at work?
What part of the world are you in?
√ Western US
What’s your region like?
Is your workplace remote/virtual?
√ Never or not anymore
How many staff members are at your organization?
Is there anything else you’d like to say?
You need to show a confident version of yourself! Show passion. And it’s always great to demonstrate how you have built relationships in your work with partner organizations. Always SHARE THAT YOU SPEAK ANOTHER LANGUAGE…this always gets overlooked.