“I wish there was a better way to know their personality and if they actually know how to do the tasks they say.”

220 Years of the Library of Congress–cataloging for the nation (LOC). By Flickr user The Library of Congress

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: Youth Services Manager

Titles hired include: Childrens librarian, youth program specialists, seasonal staff; helped with library director, public services manager.

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ Library Administration

√ The position’s supervisor 

√ 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 

√ References 

√ Oral Exam/Structured interview

√ Demonstration (teaching, storytime, etc)

√ More than one round of interviews 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No 

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

I review incoming applications and decide who to interview and hire for the positions I supervise. I assist with interviews and give opinions on who to hire for some other FT staff at my own level and when we looked for a new director. HR handles the paperwork. 

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

When they take the time to show that they actually looked into our community and our library. When they give concrete examples of work they have done in or out of libraries (instead of generalities) and they can tie it into how that experience may relate to the current position. When they show excitement about the potential work.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

If they want the job only bc they like books. If they don’t also indicate they like people, they don’t belong working in a public library. 

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

I wish there was a better way to know their personality and if they actually know how to do the tasks they say. It seems we have hired a few people in the last few years who said all the right things but then couldn’t do basic management tasks like making a schedule or communicate with other coworkers.

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Only One!  

Resume: √ Two is ok, but no more 

CV: √ Two is ok, but no more 

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

Not having any questions for us.

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

We do offer this option. To have a professional and quiet background.

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?

If there is any way they can get their employer to let them run a special project or if they can volunteer for an event that gives them similar experience. Or if the can even verbalize the connection between what they have done and how it would translate to the requirements 

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?

The birth year isn’t shown to reduce age bias. 

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

What are the priorities for their position. What is our library culture. 

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Midwestern US 

What’s your region like?

√ Suburban 

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Never or not anymore 

How many staff members are at your organization?

√ 11-50 

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, Midwestern US, Public, Suburban area

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