It’s ok not to ask questions if the candidate feels they have all the info they need.

Story time at Kenilworth Branch. By Flickr user Local History & Archives Hamilton Public Library

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Public Library 

Title: Customer Experience Librarian 

Titles hired include: Home Library Librarian, Marketing Officer, Library Technician, IT Support Officer, Library Assistant, Librarian, Children’s Librarian

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ The position’s supervisor 

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

√ Online application

√ Cover letter

√ Resume 

√ References

√ Proof of degree 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No 

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

1. Online application with responses along with cover letter and resume. 

2. Interview Round – 2-3 person panel & behavioural questions, + practical exercise if it’s a children’s programs or cataloguing role.

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

Client-focused answers in interview that are recent and off the cuff rather than rehearsed examples. Written applications with persuasive writing that expresses why they want the role. Great interpersonal skills that translate to customer service during interview that are natural and not rehearsed or formal.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Poor/average interpersonal skills in interview. Candidates who aren’t current and not aware of library best practice/other libraries. Candidates that don’t express that they want the job.

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

Why exactly they want the job and how do they think it will be a good fit for them. Short term career goals – Where do they see themselves in 5yrs

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?

Not expressing how/if they want the job.  Waffling too much – not keeping focussed on the question. Not working on/ developing their interpersonal and empathy skills.

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

None so far

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?

Seek to gain a work placement, casual work or volunteer in the new library sector. 

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?

For customer service work, sometimes a written application may not be a strength for someone with English as a second language, so they may not make it to the interview round. Our panels are not required to have a mix of genders or an independent panel member from another department.

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

It’s ok not to ask questions if the candidate feels they have all the info they need. It depends on the role and what has been disclosed in the ad and interview. If there are obvious gaps in info and the candidate hasn’t probed the panel – I may think they are either nervous or not that serious about the role.

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Australia/New Zealand 

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?

√ 51-100 

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

Candidates need to be “people people” to work in libraries. Every role is client-focussed whether it’s cataloguing, IT or management. Put people at the centre of all your responses and application.  

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, Australia/New Zealand, Public, Urban area

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