I haven’t had to fill an opening in 5 years so it is hard to recall details

Marilla Waite Freeman. NYPL Digital Collections

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Public Library 

Title: Head of Borrower Services 

Titles hired include: Library Associate, library assistant, shelver

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ The position’s supervisor 

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

√ References

√ Written Exam

√ Oral Exam/Structured interview

√ More than one round of interviews 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No 

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

Within my department: 

1 post opening

2 phone interview top applicants

3 schedule in person interview with myself and one of my FTE

4 written quiz to test knowledge of dewey decimal and other related skills

5 contact references 

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

I haven’t had to fill an opening in 5 years so it is hard to recall details.  She is still with us, and an excellent employee.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Short one word answers.

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

How well they can problem solve without being micromanaged.

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: √ We don’t ask for this  

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

Short answers. This should be a conversation, not a Q&A quiz.

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?

Customer service relevant.  I’m looking for candidates who can manage the stress of working with the public.  

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’m not sure.

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

Something that shows an interest in the organization, staff they’d be working with,  details of the job, etc. Asking no questions is a red flag.

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Northeastern US 

What’s your region like?

√ Suburban 

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, Northeastern US, Public, Suburban area

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