Energy and enthusiasm always make a lasting impression

Gregg Currie is the College Librarian at Selkirk College, a community college in the southeast corner of British Columbia. Like many Canadian librarians who graduated from library school in the 90’s, he started his librarian career working for the New York Public Library. Gregg moved from NYPL to being the evening/weekend librarian at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, then managed the circulation department at Fordham University’s Walsh Library, and has been in his current position since 2008.

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

I create a posting, submit to HR, HR & my supervisor approve posting, I form a committee.  The committee selects candidates to interview, then decides who is successful.  Committee is usually 3 Library staff.

Titles hired include: Librarian – Instructional Services and Digital Initiatives ; Casual Librarian ; Library Technician  – Public Services ; Library Technician – Serials and Administrative Support ; Director of Communications (for the college , not the library), VP Education(for the college , not the library)

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ Library Administration 

√ A Committee or panel 

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

√ Online application

√ Cover letter

√ Resume 

√ References

√ Proof of degree 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No 

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

Energy and enthusiasm always make a lasting impression, as does being prepared for the interview. Preparation not just being able to answer questions, but also having spent time to understand the position and the organization.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Submitting the wrong cover letter, or submitting a generic cover letter. 

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

 How well they will get along with their coworkers.

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Only One!  

Resume: √ Two is ok, but no more   

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

Showing no knowledge of my institution, or my library.  As in clearly they haven’t even looked at our website sort of thing.

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

Yes, much as I dislike them, we no longer have funds to bring people out. People need to be careful of their backgrounds, still need to dress up, still need to prep. 

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?

I can’t think of anything specific beyond hiring being done by a search committee and candidates must meet educational & experience requirements..

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

Questions about what working in the library is like, questions about our website, what work opportunities they might have.

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Canada 

What’s your region like?

√ Rural 

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Some of the time and/or in some positions 

How many staff members are at your organization?

√ Other: The Library has 10, the college around 400 

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.


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Filed under 1 A Return to Hiring Librarians Survey, 200+ staff members, Academic, Canada, Rural area

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