lots of professional activities and a rich life outside of work

[Dorothy Porter, 6/2/70] LOC.gov

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Special Library 

Title: Director

Titles hired include: Sr Information Professional; training specialist 

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ The position’s supervisor

√ A Committee or panel

√ Employees at the position’s same level (on a panel or otherwise)

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

√ Online application

√ CV

√ References

√ Proof of degree 

√ More than one round of interviews 

√ Other: Complete background check 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ Yes 

Briefly describe the hiring process at your organization and your role in it:

Recruiter is assigned to various departments.  They screen applicants for their departments and send along CVs of interest.  We choose several and those chosen will meet with various library team members, either 1:1 or in a panel.

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

Understood our industry, was well prepared, had many mutual contacts in the field, lots of professional activities and a rich life outside of work

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

No knowledge of our industry and no attempt made to ‘bone up’ prior to the industry 

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

How they handle conflict and uncertainty

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Only One!  

Resume: √ We don’t ask for this 

CV: √ Two is ok, but no more 

What is the most common mistake that people make in an interview?

Being unprepared

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

Yes.  Stand up during the interview.  You’ll appear much stronger 

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?

Explore my industry and come up with similarities or develop use cases pertinent to me.

When does your organization *first* mention salary information?

√ It’s 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?

My small group within this huge organization is committed to diversity of all types.  Unfortunately, qualified candidates are often not as diverse as we would like 

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

How will I interact with each team member; what are my opportunities for professional growth; how does our group fit into the ‘big picture’ of the company; is this a new position or backfill

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Northeastern US 

What’s your region like?

√ Urban 

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Some of the time and/or in some positions 

How many staff members are at your organization?

√ Other: 50,000 worldwide 

Author’s note: Hey, thanks for reading! If you like reading, why not try commenting or sharing? Or are you somebody who hires Library, Archives or other LIS workers? Please consider giving your own opinion by filling out the survey here.



Filed under 1 A Return to Hiring Librarians Survey, Northeastern US, Special, Urban area

2 responses to “lots of professional activities and a rich life outside of work

  1. Victoria

    I wish respondents would say more than “being unprepared.” What does unprepared look like from the view of the hiring manager? Is the person distracted? Late to the interview? Stumbles over questions? I ask because about a month ago I interviewed for an archives internship position. I felt I had prepared extensively and assumed they would ask questions about how I learned new things and how I could work independently. But several questions were very specific on how to handle archival materials or work with specific software. I stumbled through my answers because I didn’t have much to say and hadn’t prepared for those questions. Did I appear “unprepared” for the interview? Or just that I didn’t have the experience they wanted? (I am in graduate school, which was a requirement of the internship, and have some limited volunteer experience in an archive.) 

    What does “boning up” on the industry look like? Do you want an applicant to say something like “I don’t have direct experience with that, but I was reading about X, Y and Z.” Does that look like they took initiative to read up? Or do they look clueless because they have only read about a topic? 

    After reading this blog, I know that everyone has a different take on these types of things! But specific examples would be very helpful. 


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