Category Archives: 0-10 staff members

You need the hands on practical experience to compliment your studies, it makes your education that much more meaningful and solidifies what you are learning.

Civic library, Newcastle, 1957, Hood collectionThis anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a hiring manager (you are hiring people that you will directly or indirectly supervise).  This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Interns, secondary school librarians and librarian assistants, teacher librarians, catalogers

This librarian works at a School Library with 0-10 staff members in an Urban area in Asia.

Do library schools teach candidates the job skills you are looking for in potential hires?

√ Depends on the school/Depends on the candidate

Should library students focus on learning theory or gaining practical skills? (Where 1 means Theory, 5 means practice, and 3 means both equally)

3

What coursework do you think all (or most) MLS/MLIS holders should take, regardless of focus?

√ Cataloging

√ Budgeting/Accounting

√ Grant Writing
√ Project Management
√ Collection Management
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Research Methods
√ Readers’ Advisory
√ Marketing
√ Soft Skills (e.g. Communication, Interpersonal Relations)

Do you find that there are skills that are commonly lacking in MLS/MLIS holders? If so, which ones?

Policy writing and the legal aspects of careers in libraries. It’s so important to protect yourself, your staff and patrons from legal situations that can be prevented with proper policies being written up.

When deciding who to hire out of a pool of candidates, do you value skills gained through coursework and skills gained through practice differently?

√ Yes–I value skills gained through a student job more highly

Which skills (or types of skills) do you expect a new hire to learn on the job (as opposed to at library school)?

Practical skills related to tasks can be learned on the job, such as book repair, book processing (i.e. new books, donations), office and desk organization and management (essential when working with a team), specific software skills (there are so many new types of software coming out it is not reasonable to expect this to be taught in library school).

Which of the following experiences should library students have upon graduating?

√ Library work experience

√ Professional organization involvement

√ Teaching assistant/Other instructional experience

Which library schools give candidates an edge (you prefer candidates from these schools)?

ALA accredited institutions, they have high standards. Library Schools from Europe, North America, or Australia. I would have to research certificates or degrees coming from lesser known institutions in Asia, Africa or South America.

Are there any library schools whose alumni you would be reluctant to hire?

Chinese institutions – Sadly, I have a hard time trusting that the standards of skills are a good fit for what I want candidates to be able to do in a North American style library. Many of the websites are in Chinese with no English option so I cannot verify what skills candidates have been taught, nor can I guarantee that the certificate is genuine.

What advice do you have for students who want to make the most of their time in library school?

Work or volunteer in a library at the same time! If you can’t get a library job, at least volunteer in one. You need the hands on practical experience to compliment your studies, it makes your education that much more meaningful and solidifies what you are learning.

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Filed under 0-10 staff members, School, Urban area, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

Eye Contact, Confidence, and exceptional knowledge and understanding of the task at hand.

Librarian working at the Pointe Coupee Parish Parish library in New Roads Louisiana in 1936This anonymous interview is not with a librarian who has been a Recruiter. This person works at a Government Organization with 0-10 staff members.
What are the top three things you look for in a candidate?
A Master’s Degree in Library Science, Cataloging experience, and experience in an Academic or Federal Government environment.
Do you have any instant dealbreakers, either in the application packet or the interview process?
The Master’s Degree in this particular instance is a deal breaker.
What are you tired of seeing on resumes/in cover letters?
Hobbies.

Is there anything that people don’t put on their resumes that you wish they did?

 People often times leave off the “Skills” section of a resume. This can be used to easily showcase skills or experience that are relevant to each position. It’s a way to quickly tailor a resume.

How many pages should a cover letter be?

  • Only one!

How many pages should a resume/CV be?

  • As many as it takes, but keep it short and sweet

Do you have a preferred format for application documents?

  •  .doc

Should a resume/CV have an Objective statement?

  • No

If applications are emailed, how should the cover letter be submitted?

  • In the body of the email only
What’s the best way to win you over in an interview?
Eye Contact, Confidence, and exceptional knowledge and understanding of the task at hand.
What are some of the most common mistakes people make in an interview?
I think nerves often times come across as attitude or disinterest.
How has hiring changed at your organization since you’ve been in on the process?
Degrees are of much more importance than they once were.

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Filed under 0-10 staff members, Original Survey

I have a form that I follow to ensure fairness to candidates by checking off various aspects

 Interior of Townsville library, ca. 1948 This anonymous interview is with a librarian who has been a hiring manager (you are hiring people that you will directly or indirectly supervise). This person works at a a school library with 0-10 staff members.
What are the top three things you look for in a candidate?
1) Positive Attitude – a candidate that will be a pleasure to work with, one that won’t spread negativity around the workplace, things happen that we can’t prevent and having a positive attitude helps everyone work together to solve it
2) Life Long Learners – I want to hire someone that I feel is going to want to be challenged and not stagnate. Today’s world is changing rapidly, new technologies are emerging, the economy is changing. Libraries are always at risk of budget cuts, therefore I want a team that is going to strive to adapt to these changes, stay current with trends and ensure the survival of our library. Working with people who do not feel the desire to learn more, in my experience can be crippling. They tend to resist change and be satisfied with the library staying the exact same for decades. This is not what I’m interested in at all. I want a team that wants challenge.
3) Experience – This may be in the form of an educational background, volunteering, working, etc. whatever the case may be I don’t automatically dismiss candidates if they do not meet the educational requirements of a job. I want to look at the whole picture, what workshops, professional developments, webinars, and experiences do they bring? There are many free options available online that can help develop library and information resource skills. Formal education is an asset and definitely is something that I would consider absolutely essential for starter positions. Candidates may be in the process of completing their degree, so I know that they will bring the newest information to the job and that they are hard-workers if they’re tackling a new job as well as formal education. This is something I would definitely consider and look for in candidates.
Do you have any instant dealbreakers, either in the application packet or the interview process?
 Late to the interview, messy and disorganized looking, poor English language skills, swearing, etc. I think all the usual warning signs that this candidate isn’t going to be a good fit for a customer oriented position. Additionally, candidates that haven’t updated any of the skills in a long time. There are so many free resources online to learn about what’s new out there, to me, it’s inexcusable to not participate in any of these learning opportunities. Libraries are constantly under threats of budget cuts, and becoming obsolete. I don’t want to hire a staff member that is going to contribute to that.
What are you tired of seeing on resumes/in cover letters?
Listing your required tasks and duties on resumes – list your achievements and highlight the unique or challenging aspects of your previous jobs and volunteer experiences
Is there anything that people don’t put on their resumes that you wish they did?
I wish people would put more information about what latest technology and software they are experienced at using i.e. library management software, newest apps, educational resources, etc.

How many pages should a cover letter be?

  • Only one!

How many pages should a resume/CV be?

  •  As many as it takes, but keep it short and sweet

Do you have a preferred format for application documents?

  • .docx

Should a resume/CV have an Objective statement?

  • Yes

If applications are emailed, how should the cover letter be submitted?

  •  I don’t care
What’s the best way to win you over in an interview?
Do your homework – know about what’s going on at our library Be personable and genuine – it’s going to lead to trouble sooner or later if a candidate is being dishonest about qualifications, skills or competencies

What are some of the most common mistakes people make in an interview?

Being dishonest – Don’t tell me about skills you have or places that you have worked that aren’t true. I network constantly with librarians and educators in my field. It doesn’t take much effort for me to pick up the phone or send off an email to verify if what a candidate is saying is true. I’ve sadly caught candidates being dishonest about work experience, and qualifications this way. This will black list candidates in my books forever, how can I ever trust that person in the future?
How has hiring changed at your organization since you’ve been in on the process?
Extensively – I am the only one who does the hiring Previously there was no formal process for making candidate selections. Now I have a form that I follow to ensure fairness to candidates by checking off various aspects that we want to have covered
Anything else you’d like to let job-seekers know?
Be on time, be professional looking (overdressing is MUCH better than underdressing), share what exciting projects or tasks you’re working on currently (even if it’s not directly related to the job). I want to see your energy, what makes you excited and want to work hard.
Are there any other questions you think we should add to this survey?
Perhaps a question about the future of the library could be added, such as: Do you ask the candidate any questions related to what they see the library achieving in the future? I just think it’s so important to hire staff members that share goals with what your library is working towards accomplishing.

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Filed under 0-10 staff members, Original Survey

We are a Federal government GSA Contractor.

Librarian by Flickr user Super Furry LibrarianThis anonymous interview is with a hiring manager. This person works at a Federal Government Library with 0-10 staff members.

What are the top three things you look for in a candidate?

Experience, experience, experience

Do you have any instant dealbreakers, either in the application packet or the interview process?

No.

What are you tired of seeing on resumes/in cover letters?

NA

Is there anything that people don’t put on their resumes that you wish they did?

NA

How many pages should a cover letter be?

√ Only one!

How many pages should a resume/CV be?

√Preferably two, but no more than three and only when absolutely necessary.

Do you have a preferred format for application documents?

√.pdf

Should a resume/CV have an Objective statement?

√I don’t care

If applications are emailed, how should the cover letter be submitted?

√I don’t care

What’s the best way to win you over in an interview?

NA

What are some of the most common mistakes people make in an interview?

NA

How has hiring changed at your organization since you’ve been in on the process?

NA

Anything else you’d like to let job-seekers know?

We are a Federal government GSA Contractor.

For some context, take a look at the most recently published summary of responses to this survey.

If you’re someone who has participated in hiring library workers, take this survey and share your viewpoint.

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Filed under 0-10 staff members, Original Survey

Experience is always required.

Paramaribo market scene. Woman seated with baskets of produce. 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:

Public Services Librarian, Technical Services/Electronic Resources Librarian, Serials Librarian

This librarian works at a library with 0-10 staff members in an 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”?

Met the minimum qualifications.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

By the Director of Library Services.

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

Didn’t meet the minimum qualifications.

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

√ Yes

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

Apply for jobs for which you qualify.

I want to hire someone who is

appropriate

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?

√ 1

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 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?

Experience is always required.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

It’s a rapidly changing profession.

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, Midwestern US, State of the Job Market 2015, Suburban area

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