we don’t have any questions that talk about working with children although we encounter children throughout the library.

Librarians standing behind a shelf in the Reference Collection at Metropolitan State University, on September 4, 2009.
Librarians 2009 (1). By Flickr user Library and Information Services Metropolitan State University

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Public Library 

Title: Assistant Manager

Titles hired include: Youth Services Assistants (PT and FT), Adult Services Assistants (PT and FT), Circulation Assistants (PT and FT), Evening/Weekend Supervisor, Central Librarian

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ HR

√ Library Administration

√ The position’s supervisor

√ A Committee or panel 

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

√ Online application

√ Cover letter

√ Resume 

√ References 

√ More than one round of interviews 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ Yes 

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

Applicants apply online. It is screened by the HR manager and then sent to the hiring managers (my manager and me). We review applications and schedule phone interviews. We select the top 3 candidates and invite them for in person interviews. If necessary, we will conduct a second in person interview. 

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

Knowledge of library practices was a huge plus. Answered questions in a clear and understandable manner. Asked questions.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

When candidates do not understand how a public library operates. 

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

We are limited to a pool of questions that we can ask from. Sometimes these questions aren’t the best for the positions. For example, we don’t have any questions that talk about working with children although we encounter children throughout the library. 

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

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

Focusing only on one aspect of the job.

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

We conduct phone interviews. It helps if they are clear and concise with their answers. Also make sure there is good services/WiFi. 

When does your organization *first* mention salary information?

√ It’s part of the job ad  

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

I believe it should be relevant to the position they apply for. It should change per person/position. 

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Southeastern US 

What’s your region like?

√ Urban 

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Never or not anymore 

How many staff members are at your organization?

√ 101-200 

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, Public, Southeastern US, Urban area

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