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 LIS workers for an:
√ Other: NHS health library
Titles hired include: Library Administrator, Assistant Librarian, Specialist Librarian
Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:
√ A Committee or panel
Which of the following does your organization regularly require of candidates?
√ Online application
√ Demonstration (teaching, storytime, etc)
Does your organization use automated application screening?
Briefly describe the hiring process at your organization and your role in it:
Online application, anonymous shortlisting by at least two members of library staff using a scoring system, interviews by a panel (usually 3) including the original shortlisters. Lead shortlister will usually be the position’s line manager – I manage two posts within the larger team. All interviewers score each answer then compare total scores and agree on the preferred candidate. HR carries out reference and further checks.
Think about the last candidate who really wowed you, on paper, in an interview, or otherwise. Why were they so impressive?
They stood out because of an incredibly well written supporting statement which we require as part of the application form. It dealt with every element of the person specification and paid particular attention to explaining where their experience could be transferable.
Do you have any instant dealbreakers?
Someone who doesn’t meet any of the criteria in the person specification and/or doesn’t provide a supporting statement.
What do you wish you could know about candidates that isn’t generally revealed in the hiring process?
Nothing really. Would be nice to know how long they would be planning to stick around but that’s impossible!
How many pages should each of these documents be?
Cover Letter: √ We don’t ask for this
Resume: √ We don’t ask for this
CV: √ We don’t ask for this
What is the most common mistake that people make in an interview?
Not answering the question asked, being too vague, not giving specific examples.
Do you conduct virtual interviews? What do job hunters need to know about shining in this setting?
Yes. Unexpected tech failures happen to everyone sometimes and aren’t a deal-breaker, but since using video conferencing to present and teach is usually part of the job, we are looking for a level of competence and comfort with using this type of software.
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?
Do your research on the sector or role. If you can explain how your experience would benefit our specific library users, that’s ultimately what we’re looking for. Try to provide concrete examples of how something you worked on demonstrated a particular skill we’ve asked for.
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?
Anonymous shortlisting, standardized scoring system, multiple scorers. But bias does happen as shortlisters are likely to give higher scores to answers that are similar to what we would say and how we’d say it. How to score isn’t completely objective.
What questions should candidates ask you? What is important for them to know about your organization and the position you are hiring for?
Asking about the wider (large) organisation is helpful as it’s a complex context. We all work hybrid now, so it can be good to discuss that as well.
What part of the world are you in?
What’s your region like?
Is your workplace remote/virtual?
√ Some of the time and/or in some positions
How many staff members are at your organization?
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.