How do you plan to live on this wage?

A black and white portrait of a man with a lush beard and mustache, wearing a suit.
William George Eakins, Chief Librarian of the Law Society of Upper Canada, 1891-1913. By Flickr user Archives of the Law Society of Ontario

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Public Library 

Title: Head of Adult and Technology Services

Titles hired include: Children’s Librarian, Head of Circulation, Administrative Assistant/Library Associate, assistant circ 

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ Library Administration

√ 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

√ Cover letter

√ Resume

√ References 

√ Supplemental Questions 

√ Demonstration (teaching, storytime, etc) 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No 

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

Hiring committee assembled. Job role reviewed and put out to bid. Application submission, invite for an in-person interview, often includes demonstration or hands on skill portion, job offer. We also pick an alternate as well. We will re-advertise until we find the right candidate. 

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

They responded to the job role meaning they researched it. They knew about the organization’s history and community. They were personable, professional and had a wide breadth of experience. 

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

When application process and requirements aren’t submitted. We may still invite them for an interview, but it counts against them if we have to ask more than once for—say— a cover letter. 

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

How will you find housing here? Do you have stable year-round housing? How do you plan to live on this wage? 

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Two is ok, but no more  

Resume: √ Two is ok, but no more  

CV: √ As many as it takes, but keep it reasonable and relevant  

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


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?

Showcase your ability to multitask and learn 

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?

We have a diverse hiring committee and consider it a metric. Our community is diverse, we ask direct service related questions regarding diversity and acceptance.

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Northeastern US 

What’s your region like?

√ Rural 

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Never or not anymore 

How many staff members are at your organization?

√ 0-10 

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 0-10 staff members, 1 A Return to Hiring Librarians Survey, Northeastern US, Public, Rural area

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