No background checks provided by our HR, so we’re in the dark when it comes to criminal history.

Adam Hunter, Chief Librarian from 1904 to 1921, and women at the laying of the cornerstone for the new public library on Main Street West. August 1, 1911. By Flickr user Local History & Archives Hamilton Public Library

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Public Library 

Title: Maker Librarian (supervisor for library makerspace)

Titles hired include: Library Assistants (“Makers-in-Residence”)

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ HR

√ Library Administration

√ The position’s supervisor 

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

√ Online application 

√ Resume 

√ Other: proof of degree for management-level positions

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ Yes 

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

Applications are submitted online, admin sends applicants to hiring supervisors, supervisors (such as myself) review the applications/resumes/references and make hiring decisions, then send decision to admin and HR for finalizing process.

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

Well-rounded skillset, confidence in answering questions, asking informed questions before/during the interview, displaying knowledge of good customer service practices.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Lack of basic tech knowledge/skills. Applying for a position advertised as a specific shift, and asking to drastically change that shift’s schedule. Bringing up political/religious affiliations without appropriate context.

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

No background checks provided by our HR, so we’re in the dark when it comes to criminal history.

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Only One!  

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

CV: √ Only One!  

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

Regardless of which department they are applying for, I have a lot of interviewees spend the majority of their interview talking about their love of books and book-based programming. Obviously books are important, but working in a library is about so much more – I want to know what other services/resources our library provides that the interviewee is already aware of, and how they would help expand or supplement what we offer.

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

Virtual interviews are almost non-existent here; we conduct in-person interviews wherever possible, unless a candidate seems like they’d be a strong enough choice to warrant a phone interview.

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?

To me, the best person for the job is someone with a robust understanding of good customer service, is capable of working independently, has a love of learning and a willingness to try new things, and is up-to-date in their knowledge of computer/device usage and research skills.

When does your organization *first* mention salary information?

√ It’s part of the job ad  

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Southwestern US

What’s your region like?

√ Other: Most of the population lives in one city, where our library is located, but there are numerous nearby rural towns that depend on the city for its resources.

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Never or not anymore 

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, Public, Southwestern US

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