it’s hard to tell who really even would accept the job if offered.

Nella Larsen and others. NYPL Digital Collections

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Public Library 

Title: Director

Titles hired include: All of them

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ Library Administration

√ The position’s supervisor

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

√ Cover letter

√ Resume

√ References

√ Oral Exam/Structured interview

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No

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

Direct supervisors get the applications from my office, interview 3-5 candidates, decide who their top candidate is, contact references, reach out to the applicant to confirm they’re still interested, then notify my office to start the (cumbersome) new hire approval process.

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

Genuine enthusiasm

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Not getting the name of the library right on your application materials, badmouthing prior libraries (even if they deserve it, you can talk about that later)

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

How much they actually want to work here. So many are just shotgunning resumes out to every library job, it’s hard to tell who really even would accept the job if offered.

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?

Not bringing anything to write with/on. 

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

Sometimes; we don’t have a travel budget to reimburse interviewees, so out-of-state applicants we will interview virtually. It’s harder to make a strong impression via zoom/Skype, though

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?

If you have the credentials, don’t apologize or be defensive. Just explain why it’s relevant. Bad library experience can be way worse than good non-library experience

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?

Probably not enough. Unofficially, we get so few minority candidates that most of them will get an interview.

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

Whether the role is new or replacing someone, and what processes led to whichever outcome. If new, what’s our vision for it. If replacing someone, do we want a change or more of the same from the role.

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Northeastern US 

What’s your region like?

√ Suburban

√ Rural

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Some of the time and/or in some positions

How many staff members are at your organization?

√ 51-100

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, 50-100 staff members, Northeastern US, Public, Rural area, Suburban area

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