Your questions for the committee should show that you’ve done research into the institution and that you want more detail than you can glean from the website.

Returning Books to their Places. National Archives.

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Academic Library 

Title: Instruction Librarian

Titles hired include: Instruction Librarian

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ Library Administration

√ The position’s supervisor

√ 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

√ CV

√ References 

√ Demonstration (teaching, storytime, etc)

√ More than one round of interviews

√ A whole day of interviews

√ A meal with hiring personnel 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No 

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

For our instruction librarian positions, we have a hiring committee with usually 5-6 people, including the head of the dept, 1-2 other dept members, 1-2 faculty members from the position’s liaison depts across the college, and 1-2 library staff from other depts. We conduct as many first-round Zoom interviews as we have well-qualified applicants (anywhere from 3-10 or so), before inviting 2-3 finalists for day-long campus interviews.

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

They could speak about IDE work they had done/wanted to do AND tied this back to the ACRL Framework. It showed a clear understanding of critical pedagogy within a library setting, which we’re always looking for.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Candidates who make comments disparaging students (implying that they’re all lazy, want to get away with plagiarism, etc) are an instant no. 

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Two is ok, but no more  

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?

Not having substantial, institution-specific questions for the hiring committee. It seems like this should be “interviewing 101,” but I’ve interviewed many candidates who ask a generic question (such as “what do you like about working here?”), and then  don’t have any additional questions prepared. Your questions for the committee should show that you’ve done research into the institution and that you want more detail than you can glean from the website.

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

Our first-round interviews are on Zoom. As with any interview, my main advice would be to limit distractions as much as possible — no noisy kids/pets interrupting if you can help it, make sure your Zoom background (either a virtual background or whatever is actually behind you) is clean and not visually busy, etc. If you’re not familiar with Zoom (or whatever virtual interview tech your institution is using), see if you can get any software downloaded and practice with a friend ahead of time!

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?

In the positions I’ve hired for, we look for teaching experience above all else. If you have experience with classroom teaching of ANY sort, emphasize it.

When does your organization *first* mention salary information?

√ Other: It’s a separate phone call with HR that occurs between the first and second round interviews — I hate this system, but we don’t have any say in it.

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

Required anti-bias training for search committee members.

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

Librarians at my institution are regular staff — no special “academic” or faculty status. You should ask questions to make sure you have a sense of what this means.

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Midwestern US 

What’s your region like?

√ Rural 

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Some of the time and/or in some positions 

How many staff members are at your organization?

√ 11-50

√ Other: 11-50 *library* staff, but many more staff within the university as a whole.

Is there anything else you’d like to say, either to job hunters or to me, the survey author? 

For academic positions, I think it would be helpful to include a question about librarian status within the institution — TT faculty, NTT faculty, staff, something else? — as well as the implications of that status as it relates to research/service expectations, job security, etc.

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, 10-50 staff members, Academic, Midwestern US, Rural area

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