“To say ‘I love reading’ or ‘I’ve always wanted to work in a library'”

American Library Association – Library Personnel – Library workers, Camp Grant, Rockford, Ill. National Archives and Records Administration, 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: Senior Librarian 

Titles hired include: Librarian,  Senior customer service officer, Senior library assistant, customer services assistant, library assistant 

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ A Committee or panel 

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

√ Online application 

√ References

√ Proof of degree 

√ Oral Exam/Structured interview 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No 

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

Once the closing date has passed, a list of applicants and their candidate packs are shortlisted by a team of three.  Interviews take place with a scoring system for each vacancy.  We have never needed to hold second Interviews.  Successful candidate is then contacted and all others are informed by email.   I have varying roles, sometimes I am lead interviewer, sometimes not.

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

It was for a senior library assistant position and they were enthusiastic about the role, demonstrated digital skills and knowledge that we had not thought of but would really benefit the role.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Spelling mistakes, not enough written evidence on application and clear evidence that the applicant has not read the job description 

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

If they really understand what the job entails.   Most think it’s more about date stamping books than anything else 

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ We don’t ask for this  

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?

To say ‘I love reading’ or ‘I’ve always wanted to work in a library’

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

Must ensure they have a camera and microphone on their device!!

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?

All experience is relevant if the candidate can link it to the job description – if they do their homework and investigate the role they will be able to mention transferable skills

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?

We do not ask for first names, just initial, do not ask for gender, age.  Only ask if the applicant has a disability as we are required to but they are not obliged to state what it is

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

Should ask about organisation structure- who fits where, will the post be based in the one place, ask about training on the job.

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ UK 

What’s your region like?

√ Rural 

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Never or not anymore 

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? 

Be honest from the start of the process as it will always come out if you’ve not been 

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, Public, Rural area, UK

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