We send the interview questions in advance. If a candidate doesn’t have their answers prepared, I am very unimpressed.

Returning Books to their Places. National Archives

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Academic Library 

Title: Department Director

Titles hired include: Liaison librarian (multiple), scholarly communications librarian

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ Library Administration 

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

√ Cover letter

√ CV

√ References 

√ More than one round of interviews

√ A whole day of interviews 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No 

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

We have two rounds (a phone screening then the full day interview). We usually bring 3 people in for full interviews, but it can be anywhere from 2 to 5. The search committee doesn’t include the position’s supervisor. The committee writes a report summarizing the pros and cons of each candidate. This is submitted to Admin as the hiring authority. Admin checks references, chooses the candidate and negotiates the offer. Search committee chair is responsible for all other communication with candidates.

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

They were well prepared and confident in their public presentation, and able to respond effectively to the audience’s questions. They were able to address multiple aspects of the role, and draw on their own experience.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Lack of preparation for the parts of the interview day we give advance notice of. We send the interview questions in advance. If a candidate doesn’t have their answers prepared, I am very unimpressed.

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

Our required qualifications are absolutely requirements. If you don’t show that you meet them, we can’t interview you. 

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Two is ok, but no more 

Resume: √ We don’t ask for this  

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?

Make sure you’ve shared your screen/slides before you start presenting, check in that the volume is okay. If possible, try to share a phone number or alternative contact method in case the internet drops.

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?

Don’t rely on the committee to make the connections. Draw out the relevant stories and aspects of any previous work. Paraprofessional to professional roles can be hard in a single organization (which is stupid). You might need to leave and return in order to make that transition

When does your organization *first* mention salary information?

√ Other: We just started providing ranges or minimums in ads this year

What does your organization do to reduce bias in hiring? What are the contexts in which discrimination still exists in this process?

Honestly, we do very little. We have HR telling us our targets for diverse hires, but that’s about the only formalized process

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

Why is this position available? How are decisions made in your organization? What internal communication channels exist? 

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Midwestern US 

What’s your region like?

√ Urban 

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Some of the time and/or in some positions 

How many staff members are at your organization?

√ 201+ 

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 200+ staff members, Midwestern US, Urban area, 1 A Return to Hiring Librarians Survey

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