I love applicants who have a strong background in customer service and can show it.

Nora Beust, from a 1925 newspaper. No photographer credited, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Please note: this is an anonymous response to an online survey; I do not have any way of contacting the respondent or verifying responses. Their answers may reflect good, bad, or middling hiring practices. I invite you to take what’s useful and leave the rest.  

This person hires for a:

√ Public Library

Title: Branch Manager

Titles hired: Shelver, Branch Assistant, Children’s Librarian, Assistant Manager, Floater

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ HR

√ The position’s supervisor

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

√ Online application

√ Resume

√ Supplemental Questions

√ Other: It depends on the position

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ Yes

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

First we write up a justification as to why the position needs filled, then the position is posted, as applications are submitted HR pushes them through so that they are available for viewing by the manager and asst manager, we begin reviewing the applicants at this time to speed up the process. Once the position closes we narrow it down to 3-5 candidates, selecting them in the software. HR calls to setup interviews. Interviews happen with manager, asst manager, and an HR rep. We discuss the candidates after each interview and rank them using the Lever software. Candidate is chosen with a day (or two), HR writes up a hiring proposal with proposed hourly rate/salary (based on experience), calls the candidate and offers the job. Once candidate accepts the other interviewees are personally called and told that they did not receive the position.

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

I love applicants who have a strong background in customer service and can show it.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Inability to be flexible

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

Personality flaws that can be hidden, passive aggressive nature and the like

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Only One! Two

Resume: √ Only One!

CV: √ We don’t ask for this

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

Not taking the time to properly answer the question

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?

Just tell me how your current work relates to the position.

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?

Nothing that I’m aware of. It might be best to have names hidden from the application reviewers.

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

How did we handle the pandemic? How does the community support the library?

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Midwestern US

What’s your region like?

√ Urban

√ Suburban

√ Rural

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Never or not anymore

How many staff members are at your organization?

√ 201+


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Filed under 1 A Return to Hiring Librarians Survey, 200+ staff members, Midwestern US, Public, Rural area, Suburban area, Urban area

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