Author Archives: langerholcs

A cover letter could be the difference between rejected and moved on to an interview.

Paramaribo market scene. Women and men. 1922.This anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Reference/instruction librarians, jacks of all trades.

This librarian works at a library with 0-10 staff members in an urban area in the Southern US .

Approximately how many people applied for the last librarian (or other professional level) job at your workplace?

√ 25-75

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 51-75 %

And how would you define “hirable”?

Meets all the required qualifications, as discussed in the job ad. Typically, this means MLS from an ALA-accredited college/university, some customer service experience, tech skills, and teaching experience.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

The Hiring Manager reviews all applications that are submitted. In the most recent iteration of our job search process, the 2 professional employees of the library went over each application with a rubric.

What is the most common reason for disqualifying an applicant without an interview?

No MLS, or MLS won’t be in hand by the time the job would need to start. No teaching or customer service experience. Seems like their area of librarianship is outside our scope, like in archives or children’s librarianship.

Do you (or does your library) give candidates feedback about applications or interview performance?

√ Other: If asked.

What is the most important thing for a job hunter to do in order to improve his/her/their hirability?

Tailor your resume! Make sure you know as much about the position as is possible. Show that your experience has uniquely prepared you for our opportunity. Also, even if the application does not require a cover letter, please please please add a cover letter to the beginning of your resume in the same document. I wanted to make a cover letter a requirement, but our system doesn’t allow us to. A cover letter could be the difference between rejected and moved on to an interview.

I want to hire someone who is

innovative

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 0-10

How many permanent, full time librarian (or other professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ 3-4

How many permanent, full time para-professional (or other non-professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ Other: 0

Can you tell us how the number of permanent, full-time librarian positions at your workplace has changed over the past decade?

√ There are more positions

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with part-time or hourly workers over the past decade?

√ No

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with para-professional workers over the past decade?

√ No

Does your workplace require experience for entry-level professional positions? If so, is it an official requirement or just what happens in practice?

It’s just what happens in practice. There were a few applicants without experience in the most recent pool, and they seemed perfectly qualified, but when the rest of the pool has experience you have to give them precedence. It shows evidence of what people claim in their cover letters.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

Librarianship is a changing profession. Obviously, there is more information out there than ever before. However, now as librarians we have the opportunity to help students sort through and find the right information for their need. Especially in the academic environment, librarians are more necessary than ever. Who else will sit with you for 2 hours to help you pick a topic and find sources for your paper?

 

Do you hire librarians?  Take this survey: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibjobmarketsurvey or take other Hiring Librarians surveys.

For some context, look at the most recent summary of responses.

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Filed under 0-10 staff members, Academic, Southern US, State of the Job Market 2015, Urban area

regardless of what all the tattooed spunky hipster librarians think.

Push cart market -- New York (LOC)This anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a hiring manager, a member of a hiring or search committee, and a human resources professional. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

ALA accredited only cataloguers, instruction & reference librarians, subject liaisons

This librarian works at a library with 0-10 staff members in an urban area in the UAE.

Approximately how many people applied for the last librarian (or other professional level) job at your workplace?

√ 25 or fewer

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 26-50 %

And how would you define “hirable”?

Meets or exceeds the skill sets and qualifications posted. Will fit into our work culture.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

Our software weeds the applications that meet the % of keywords we set. Then I pour through the applications. Then I send a copy to each person on the hiring team with a rubric. We meet once to compare rubrics and make the final determination on the tops candidates to invite for interviews.

What is the most common reason for disqualifying an applicant without an interview?

Does not meet the lowest qualifications. No cover letter. Spelling and grammar mistakes. Arrogance and exuding an unearned “I am awesome! entitlement attitude, while not mentioning why they are a good fit for us. Ultimately, that is what we care about- do you understand where you are applying and what position you are applying for AND what do you bring to our already stellar workplace.

Do you (or does your library) give candidates feedback about applications or interview performance?

√ Other: If asked I will give feedback informally and only verbally. Never written and never unsolicited. Ok- I have given gentle unsolicited advice to really newly librarians who were earnest and I knew it would be well received.

What is the most important thing for a job hunter to do in order to improve his/her/their hirability?

Besides the obvious: read the position description. Apply to THAT job. Follow the directions. Proofread.
And most importantly, work on their emotional intelligence and politeness. You may have all the mad skills in the world, but if you are rude to our secretary while being an ass kisser to me- I will never hire you.
I need to know you can pick up on social cues, that you can be professional to people you may not like, that you can handle yourself. I can teach you how to do the technical reference interview- I cannot teach you how to handle a grieving parent looking for headstones, or a mentally ill person looking for the nearest homeless shelter.

I want to hire someone who is

astute

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 0-10

How many permanent, full time librarian (or other professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ 2

How many permanent, full time para-professional (or other non-professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ 2

Can you tell us how the number of permanent, full-time librarian positions at your workplace has changed over the past decade?

√ There are fewer positions

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with part-time or hourly workers over the past decade?

√ No

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with para-professional workers over the past decade?

√ No

Does your workplace require experience for entry-level professional positions? If so, is it an official requirement or just what happens in practice?

No, but it happens in practice.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ Yes

Why or why not?

The actual “work’ of librarians is being done by techs. Ref desk, cataloguers, systems librarians: all of these positions can be filled by people with BA’s in computer science, communications, and even English degrees.
Librarians without a subject specialty MA- even in public libraries will go by the wayside. You have to specialize to be recognized and even then the admin will expect you to be able to run the circ desk, hold story time, man the ref hours, and do online assistance.
I have no belief that Librarianship as a profession will be able to hold on. regardless of what all the tattooed spunky hipster librarians think.
We are all replaceable because we have no identity and once the ALA accepts the ridiculous Threshold Concepts- we won’t even be able to hold a conversation in academia without looking like the morons we allowed ourselves to become.

Do you hire librarians?  Take this survey: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibjobmarketsurvey or take other Hiring Librarians surveys.

For some context, look at the most recent summary of responses.

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Filed under 0-10 staff members, Academic, State of the Job Market 2015, Urban area

We recognize and accept volunteer experience when evaluating aptitude, but generally not coursework.

Queipo Market in Little Havana - MiamiThis anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Catalogers, acquisitions, general technical services

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in an urban area in the Northeastern US.

Approximately how many people applied for the last librarian (or other professional level) job at your workplace?

√ 25-75

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 25% or less

And how would you define “hirable”?

Qualified for the specific job advertised (not an archivist applying for a cataloging position)

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

HR does not prescreen applicants.
We use hiring committees.
The committees use rubrics based on the job description and desired traits.

What is the most common reason for disqualifying an applicant without an interview?

No MLIS or no work experience in the specialty.

Do you (or does your library) give candidates feedback about applications or interview performance?

√ No

What is the most important thing for a job hunter to do in order to improve his/her/their hirability?

Get some experience in the specialty. We recognize and accept volunteer experience when evaluating aptitude, but generally not coursework.

Check your application materials for errors. Make sure that you address key points in the job description, since that is what the hiring rubric is based on.

I want to hire someone who is

adaptable

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 10-50

How many permanent, full time librarian (or other professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ 2

How many permanent, full time para-professional (or other non-professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ 3-4

Can you tell us how the number of permanent, full-time librarian positions at your workplace has changed over the past decade?

√ There are the same number of positions

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with part-time or hourly workers over the past decade?

√ Yes

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with para-professional workers over the past decade?

√ Yes

Does your workplace require experience for entry-level professional positions? If so, is it an official requirement or just what happens in practice?

It depends on the position: some require library experience, some don’t.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ I don’t know

 

 

Do you hire librarians?  Take this survey: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibjobmarketsurvey or take other Hiring Librarians surveys.

For some context, look at the most recent summary of responses.

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Filed under 10-50 staff members, Academic, Northeastern US, State of the Job Market 2015, Urban area

Have people read your cover letter/resume! Multiple people!

Vegetable and flower seller and stall, Pike Place Market, Seattle, WashingtonThis anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

General librarians.

This librarian works at a library with 200+ staff members in a suburban area in the Northeastern US.

Approximately how many people applied for the last librarian (or other professional level) job at your workplace?

√ 25 or fewer

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 51-75 %

And how would you define “hirable”?

Matching the qualifications outlined in the job posting.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

HR checks them first to weed out any unqualified candidates. The applications are then forwarded to the hiring librarians on the panel, who choose the candidates to interview.

What is the most common reason for disqualifying an applicant without an interview?

Poor writing skills.

Do you (or does your library) give candidates feedback about applications or interview performance?

√ No

What is the most important thing for a job hunter to do in order to improve his/her/their hirability?

Have people read your cover letter/resume! Multiple people! And make sure you outline how you meet the job requirements.

I want to hire someone who is

teachable

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 200+

How many permanent, full time librarian (or other professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ 7 or more

How many permanent, full time para-professional (or other non-professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ Other: All of our paraprofessionals are part time.

Can you tell us how the number of permanent, full-time librarian positions at your workplace has changed over the past decade?

√ There are more positions

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with part-time or hourly workers over the past decade?

√ Yes

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with para-professional workers over the past decade?

√ Yes

Does your workplace require experience for entry-level professional positions? If so, is it an official requirement or just what happens in practice?

MLS (or equivalent) within two years of date of hire.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

 

Do you hire librarians?  Take this survey: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibjobmarketsurvey or take other Hiring Librarians surveys.

For some context, look at the most recent summary of responses.

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Filed under 200+ staff members, Northeastern US, Public, State of the Job Market 2015, Suburban area

don’t say you’ll follow up in a week or two (I’ll make the phone calls thank you)

View of street vendors at 7th and B Streets, NW (Ca. 1880) MarketThis anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a hiring manager. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Various types of front-line positions including, children’s and teen librarians, program/event planners, consumer tech specialists, etc.

This librarian works at a library with 200+ staff members in a suburban area in the Midwestern US.

Approximately how many people applied for the last librarian (or other professional level) job at your workplace?

√ 25-75

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 25% or less

And how would you define “hirable”?

A better word might be, “interviewable.” We’re not necessarily looking for people who have had specific library experience anymore. We need creative individuals who value customer service, intellectual freedom, and privacy.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

It depends on the position, mostly. HR doesn’t weed any applications out, but they do do a good job of highlighting applicants who meet the qualifications for the position.

If the position is at one of our branches, a branch manager will evaluate the candidates based on a handful of factors. These might include education, prior experience, and the quality of the application materials (without a resume and a good cover letter the information in the application itself rarely makes a candidate stand out).

What is the most common reason for disqualifying an applicant without an interview?

For me it’s usually because the applicant hasn’t expressed why they want to work in libraries or has left it at, “I love books.” I love books too, but you have to give me more.

Do you (or does your library) give candidates feedback about applications or interview performance?

√ Other: Not really. Although I will on occasion, but it depends on the candidate.

What is the most important thing for a job hunter to do in order to improve his/her/their hirability?

Ditch the formulaic resume and cover letter. I know you heard about the position from one or more of a handful of sources, don’t parrot what’s already in your resume, and don’t say you’ll follow up in a week or two (I’ll make the phone calls thank you).

Use your cover letter as an opportunity to show us who you are. Talk about your ideal workplace culture, your accomplishments (and what you think allowed you to achieve those), your ideals, or anything but the clichéd these-skills-make-me-your-ideal-candidate canned paragraphs you find on the web.

Write a different letter for each application. It’ll take you longer, but it is worth it.

I want to hire someone who is

A creative problem solver.

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 200+

How many permanent, full time librarian (or other professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ 2

How many permanent, full time para-professional (or other non-professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ 3-4

Can you tell us how the number of permanent, full-time librarian positions at your workplace has changed over the past decade?

√ There are fewer positions

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with part-time or hourly workers over the past decade?

√ Yes

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with para-professional workers over the past decade?

√ No

Does your workplace require experience for entry-level professional positions? If so, is it an official requirement or just what happens in practice?

Nope.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ Other: It depends

Why or why not?

It largely will depend on librarians reactions to change. If we can’t identify what our users need from us as information professionals in today’s world, and use that knowledge to help solve problems (in a way that people find engaging and valuable), support for libraries will eventually fade.

 

Do you hire librarians?  Take this survey: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibjobmarketsurvey or take other Hiring Librarians surveys.

For some context, look at the most recent summary of responses.

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Filed under 200+ staff members, Midwestern US, Public, State of the Job Market 2015, Suburban area

Remember to talk about my library in your cover letter, not just about you.

Young boy tending freshly stocked fruit and vegetable stand at Center Market, 02181915This anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

catalogers, reference and instruction

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in a suburban area in the Western US .

Approximately how many people applied for the last librarian (or other professional level) job at your workplace?

√ 25 or fewer

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ more than 75 %

And how would you define “hirable”?

Either met enough of the preferred qualifications, or were able to demonstrate through their past work and educational experience that they could acquire the skills the job required.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

HR determines which applications meet minimum qualifications. Those that do are passed on to the search committee, which uses the same rubric with scoring involved to determine who moves on to the first round interviews.

What is the most common reason for disqualifying an applicant without an interview?

Too low of an aggregate score on the rubric.

Do you (or does your library) give candidates feedback about applications or interview performance?

√ No

What is the most important thing for a job hunter to do in order to improve his/her/their hirability?

Remember to talk about my library in your cover letter, not just about you.

I want to hire someone who is

meticulous

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 10-50

How many permanent, full time librarian (or other professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ 1

How many permanent, full time para-professional (or other non-professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ 2

Can you tell us how the number of permanent, full-time librarian positions at your workplace has changed over the past decade?

√ There are the same number of positions

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with part-time or hourly workers over the past decade?

√ No

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with para-professional workers over the past decade?

√ No

Does your workplace require experience for entry-level professional positions? If so, is it an official requirement or just what happens in practice?

No experience required for entry level, just the degree.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

Libraries matter to too many users, whether public, academic, or otherwise. The profession changes but is not dying.

 

Do you hire librarians?  Take this survey: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibjobmarketsurvey or take other Hiring Librarians surveys.

For some context, look at the most recent summary of responses.

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Filed under 10-50 staff members, Academic, State of the Job Market 2015, Suburban area, Western US

Because they have worked in our system, we know who the top performers are

Fruit Venders, Indianapolis Market, aug., 1908. Wit., E N Clopper. Location Indianapolis, Indiana.This anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

catalogers, adult and children’s librarians, department heads, outreach librarians

This librarian works at a library with 200+ staff members in an urban area in the Southern US.

Approximately how many people applied for the last librarian (or other professional level) job at your workplace?

√ 25 or fewer

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 26-50 %

And how would you define “hirable”?

My library system tries to promote from within whenever possible. We tend to have lots of underemployed professionals and volunteers who are professionals to choose from. Because they have worked in our system, we know who the top performers are. This method works out well for the library system, but I’m sorry to see that so many degreed librarians are willing to take any job they can get at a library. Sometimes job candidates are employees who have earned their MLIS while working in paraprofessional positions.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

We receive all applications from qualified candidates. HR determines which are qualified. There are no rubrics. There are committees for all job openings, no matter what position is open.

What is the most common reason for disqualifying an applicant without an interview?

Clear lack of experience/education requirements stated in the job posting.

Do you (or does your library) give candidates feedback about applications or interview performance?

√ Other: only if asked

What is the most important thing for a job hunter to do in order to improve his/her/their hirability?

Since we nearly always hire from within, a great track record in their current position is absolutely essential.

I want to hire someone who is

people-oriented

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 200+

How many permanent, full time librarian (or other professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ 3-4

How many permanent, full time para-professional (or other non-professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ 1

Can you tell us how the number of permanent, full-time librarian positions at your workplace has changed over the past decade?

√ There are fewer positions

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with part-time or hourly workers over the past decade?

√ Yes

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with para-professional workers over the past decade?

√ Yes

Does your workplace require experience for entry-level professional positions? If so, is it an official requirement or just what happens in practice?

Because we hire almost exclusively from within, all candidates will have library experience. Their experience might be as a paraprofessional.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ Yes

Why or why not?

I am hoping that as economic times get better, libraries will be better funded resulted in better staffing. Like almost any other profession, constant change is required to stay ahead of customer needs/desires.

 

Do you hire librarians?  Take this survey: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibjobmarketsurvey or take other Hiring Librarians surveys.

For some context, look at the most recent summary of responses.

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Filed under 200+ staff members, Public, Southern US, State of the Job Market 2015, Urban area