Category Archives: 10-50 staff members

Your questions for the committee should show that you’ve done research into the institution and that you want more detail than you can glean from the website.

Returning Books to their Places. National Archives.

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Academic Library 

Title: Instruction Librarian

Titles hired include: Instruction Librarian

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ Library Administration

√ The position’s supervisor

√ A Committee or panel

√ 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

√ Cover letter

√ Resume

√ CV

√ References 

√ Demonstration (teaching, storytime, etc)

√ More than one round of interviews

√ A whole day of interviews

√ A meal with hiring personnel 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No 

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

For our instruction librarian positions, we have a hiring committee with usually 5-6 people, including the head of the dept, 1-2 other dept members, 1-2 faculty members from the position’s liaison depts across the college, and 1-2 library staff from other depts. We conduct as many first-round Zoom interviews as we have well-qualified applicants (anywhere from 3-10 or so), before inviting 2-3 finalists for day-long campus interviews.

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

They could speak about IDE work they had done/wanted to do AND tied this back to the ACRL Framework. It showed a clear understanding of critical pedagogy within a library setting, which we’re always looking for.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Candidates who make comments disparaging students (implying that they’re all lazy, want to get away with plagiarism, etc) are an instant no. 

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Two is ok, but no more  

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?

Not having substantial, institution-specific questions for the hiring committee. It seems like this should be “interviewing 101,” but I’ve interviewed many candidates who ask a generic question (such as “what do you like about working here?”), and then  don’t have any additional questions prepared. Your questions for the committee should show that you’ve done research into the institution and that you want more detail than you can glean from the website.

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

Our first-round interviews are on Zoom. As with any interview, my main advice would be to limit distractions as much as possible — no noisy kids/pets interrupting if you can help it, make sure your Zoom background (either a virtual background or whatever is actually behind you) is clean and not visually busy, etc. If you’re not familiar with Zoom (or whatever virtual interview tech your institution is using), see if you can get any software downloaded and practice with a friend ahead of time!

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?

In the positions I’ve hired for, we look for teaching experience above all else. If you have experience with classroom teaching of ANY sort, emphasize it.

When does your organization *first* mention salary information?

√ Other: It’s a separate phone call with HR that occurs between the first and second round interviews — I hate this system, but we don’t have any say in it.

What does your organization do to reduce bias in hiring? What are the contexts in which discrimination still exists in this process?

Required anti-bias training for search committee members.

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

Librarians at my institution are regular staff — no special “academic” or faculty status. You should ask questions to make sure you have a sense of what this means.

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Midwestern US 

What’s your region like?

√ Rural 

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Some of the time and/or in some positions 

How many staff members are at your organization?

√ 11-50

√ Other: 11-50 *library* staff, but many more staff within the university as a whole.

Is there anything else you’d like to say, either to job hunters or to me, the survey author? 

For academic positions, I think it would be helpful to include a question about librarian status within the institution — TT faculty, NTT faculty, staff, something else? — as well as the implications of that status as it relates to research/service expectations, job security, etc.

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Filed under 1 A Return to Hiring Librarians Survey, 10-50 staff members, Academic, Midwestern US, Rural area

Positive energy, evidence of commitment to diversity and inclusiveness, competent about programs and services.

Reader, Reading Room, Mitchell Building. By Flickr user State Library of New South Wales

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Public Library 

Title: Library Services Supervisor

Titles hired include: Librarian I-III, Library Assistant

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ Library Administration 

√ A Committee or panel 

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

√ Online application 

√ Resume 

√ References

√ Proof of degree 

√ Oral Exam/Structured interview

√ Demonstration (teaching, storytime, etc) 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No 

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

Review applications, select candidates for interviews, conduct interviews, rate candidates, make hiring decision, notify candidates.  

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

Positive energy, evidence of commitment to diversity and inclusiveness, competent about programs and services. Smile, eye contact. 

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Negativity or hostility. Disparaging colleagues, patrons, or negative comments about people with mental illness or experiencing homelessness. Blaming others in teamwork scenarios.  

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Only One! 

Resume: √ Two is ok, but no more 

CV: √ We don’t ask for this  

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

Not making any effort to research the organization or read and understand the job description.

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

No

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?

Evidence of professional development and training. Be able to communicate relevant experience in an interview setting, for instance, customer service in other settings is relevant in the library. Improving processes is, too. Developing programs in one setting may have similar components in planning, marketing, and implementation.

When does your organization *first* mention salary information?

√ It’s part of the job ad  

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

What is a typical day like, what sorts of tasks would be involved, what is the schedule like, what is workplace culture. How does the position fit in the company organization chart. 

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Western 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 

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Filed under 1 A Return to Hiring Librarians Survey, 10-50 staff members, Public, Suburban area, Western US

Don’t be afraid to ask questions that address your concerns.

Jean Blackwell Hutson, Curator of the Schomburg Collection, and writer Langston Hughes at the Schomburg Collection in Harlem. NYPL Digital Collections

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Public Library 

Title: Youth Services Manager

Titles hired include: Youth assistant, youth specialist 

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ Employees at the position’s same level (on a panel or otherwise) 

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

√ Cover letter

√ Resume

√ References 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No 

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

We grid the applicants by a standard list of criteria that match the qualifications listed on the job description and bring in the top candidates to interview.

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

Energetic, lots of enthusiasm, organized, excellent with children and families

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Not enough experience and needing a schedule that does not work with our staffing needs

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

What inspires them 

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Only One!  

Resume: √ Two is ok, but no more 

CV: √ We don’t ask for this  

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

Talking too much

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

No

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?

Relate what they have done in other industries to the library and the tasks outlined in the job description 

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?

N/A

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

Ask about the culture and why the last person left (if applicable)

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Southeastern 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 

Is there anything else you’d like to say, either to job hunters or to me, the survey author? 

Don’t be afraid to ask questions that address your concerns. 

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Filed under 1 A Return to Hiring Librarians Survey, 10-50 staff members, Public, Southeastern US, Suburban area

I am rarely wowed, honestly.

Ascension Community High School librarian, Suanne Gordon reshelves books that have been in storage while the school was being renovated. National Archives.

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Academic Library 

Title: Director of Library Services

Titles hired include: Librarian, Library Associate

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ Library Administration

√ The position’s supervisor 

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

√ Online application

√ Cover letter

√ Resume 

√ References 

√ 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 (director) chose the hiring committee. We review resumes, choose candidates for interview, refer finalists to college admin, and I consult with them re: the hire.

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

Articulated experience and how it applied to the goals of our library and college. I am rarely wowed, honestly. 

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

When people put their foot in their mouth re: why they want to work there or how they feel about diversity initiatives. 

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

Why they want to leave their current position.

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Only One!  

Resume: √ We don’t ask for this 

CV: √ As many as it takes, but keep it reasonable and relevant 

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

Not researching the college or what’s happening in the field. Like if you’re interviewing for an instruction librarian and you can’t speak meaningfully about the ACRL Framework, then you aren’t prepared for the interview.

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

Yes. Make sure you can be heard/have a good connection! 

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?

Give examples of how they partnered with librarians on “professional work” and what they learned from it. Give examples of what they’ve read about or conference presentations/webinars they have attended and what excites them/what they would like to do. I am happy to train people, but they have to show me that they’re willing to learn. 

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?

Our HR requires a search committee that is diverse in race and gender. We post job ads to lists like REFORMA. I’m sure there are still some unconscious “fit” issues but we’re working hard to be aware of that kind of thinking.

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

I want to know that they are excited about what we have going on. I want them to ask about the work day and expectations so I know that they will like their new job and not want to quit! It’s as important that we are a good fit for them as it is that they are a good fit for us.

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Northeastern US 

What’s your region like?

√ Suburban 

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Other: by request, but it is uncommon

How many staff members are at your organization?

√ 11-50 

Is there anything else you’d like to say, either to job hunters or to me, the survey author? 

I post awesome jobs with great salaries and I get really unqualified applicants. Our last search yielded SEVEN qualified candidates. I don’t know how to find all of these great librarians that are out there looking for jobs! We post to all the job lists/sites.

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Filed under 1 A Return to Hiring Librarians Survey, 10-50 staff members, Academic, Northeastern US, Suburban area

We’re a public library. A library card is free. Please have a library card.

A woman in a tan suit holds a book. She wears a surgical mask and gloves.
Librarian Regina reviews books to add to the library collections – the work goes on. By Flickr user Michael Neubert

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Public Library 

Title: Youth Services Librarian

Titles hired include: Library Assistant I for YA

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ The position’s supervisor 

√ Other: If a position is of a supervisor/”librarian” level, there may be a committee of admin and/or the position’s supervisor

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

√ Online application 

√ Other: Resume is preferred for PT. Resume and Cover Letter are required for FT.

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ Yes 

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

County HR posts the position 

Applications are checked by an automated system

Approved applications are made available to Library Admin

Admin then send the applications to the manger for the open position 

Mangers review applications and then call people in for interviews 

Managers then offer the job and establish the start date

New Hires must visit county HR prior to start date to complete onboarding paperwork

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

I place more emphasis on in person interviews as so much of the jobs I’m hiring for is based on personality and how well this person will mesh with our kiddos. When it comes to in person interviews, I look for passion. If an applicant can sit there and tell me about why they love libraries, or RPGs, or books, etc. and they have a desire to share that passion and turn it into something we can use… I’m sold. 

Also, We’re a public library. A library card is free. Please have a library card. It’s not required, but if you have a card, I know you use the library, and that’s a great starting point. For people who are moving to town or new to town, this doesn’t bother me as much, but if you’ve lived here your whole life and you don’t have a card… It feels weird that you then want to work here. 

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Mentioning religion or politics in an interview. Sometimes these things pop up in a relevant fashion, such as work experience. But I’ve had applicants ask if we could pray together as part of our interview, flat out ask about my politics/religion, or mention that they see this job as a good chance to talk to kids about religion/politics.

We also see a number of applicants that think a teen center at a public library will function akin to a school setting; as this shows a serious lack of understanding about who and what we are, this is another deal breaker. 

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

It’s hypocritical of me given my response to number 9… but an applicant’s political and religious preferences or rather how vocal they will be about those beliefs. Clashing beliefs can really stress coworkers out and alienate patrons. People can hold different beliefs and still work together/with the public, but not if one party is going to be overtly religious or political. 

I’d also like a better idea of how independent and self motivated an applicant is. The positions I hire for really do need to be independent and self motivated, and if an applicant needs their hand held, or needs constant reminding/encouragement it will mess with the workflow and morale of the department. 

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Only One!  

Resume: √ Two is ok, but no more 

CV: √ We don’t ask for this 

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

Finding that balance between being professional and showing me who you are and why you’re going to be the best fit for the YA team. I’ve had some excellent, very professional interviews that have left me unsure of if the applicant would get along with my other staff, or if the applicant would be able to build a report with the kiddos; ultimately, I haven’t hired those super professional applicants. 

Ideally, the interview will start professionally, but things may become more lax, or I’ll see that spark of passion and we’ll be able to have a more natural and authentic conversation. 

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

Generally, we do not do phone or virtual interviews. I personally will not do them; I will hold off on an interview for up to a week if it means we can meet in person.

Many years ago when we were seeking a new director, the first round of interviews did include some virtual interviews, but that was an exception given the type of position that was open.

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?

This is an excellent question! And I wish I had a better answer for it…

Applicants should know the type of library they’re transitioning towards, and what those types of institutes are like. For example, if you apply to work at a teen center in a public library, you should expect to have to run/assist with after school/school break programming, and not be as focused on homework help or research papers. This advice is best for the interview stage when an applicant can really show off their relevant knowledge and 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?

Hiring Managers receive no training in avoiding hiring bias. Our online applications do not ask for age/DOB, sex, gender, or ethnicity so there’s that at least… However, there is other information which must be provided and from which assumptions can easily be made, such as name, address, and hs/college graduation dates. 

I personally do seek out training on bias reduction. Although these trainings are not focused on hiring (often customer service) I feel that some of the information can be translated into hiring bias. I also talk to minority staff about issues with our application process (which is beyond my control, but I do pass along feedback) and how the interview process went and what I as a manager can do to help them feel more comfortable. 

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

I’m not sure what questions I feel like applicants SHOULD ask. If it’s information they NEED to know, I feel like I should provide that in job description or in the interview; I’m not here to trick applicants into asking relevant questions.

But some of the BEST questions I’ve been asked: 

What does the training process look like?

Are there any opportunities for any additional (like CE) training?

What are there chances for upward movement within the department? 

What are your COVID safety policies? 

What are your safety protocols and precautions? (in relation to upset patrons)

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Southwestern US 

What’s your region like?

√ Other: We’re the only sizable city for 90miles, but everything around us is rural; it’s created a very unique environment where despite being located in a proper city, our patrons are mostly rural 

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Other: I do some virtual programming; while I could run this from home I normally run it from work as I’d rather not use up my home internet data.

How many staff members are at your organization?

√ 11-50 

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Filed under 1 A Return to Hiring Librarians Survey, 10-50 staff members, Public, Southwestern US

We are so small and get so few applications that we pretty much interview anyone that looks close

A group of about 50 librarians, in suits
Australian Institute of Librarians’ inaugural meeting at Canberra, August 20, 1937. Photographer A. Collingridge, Canberra. By Flickr user State Library of New South Wales

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Public Library 

Title: Director

Titles hired include: Library assistant, library aide, Assistant Director 

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ Library Administration 

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

√ Cover letter

√ Resume 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No 

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

I post the job, receive the applications, choose who to interview, my assistant director and I interview them, and I decide who to hire with her input 

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Not following directions in posting, resumes or cover letters clearly written for a different job posting.

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

How they work with others

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Two is ok, but no more  

Resume: √ Only One!   

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

Not asking questions of us

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

No

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?

Explaining 

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?

Nothing specific. We are so small and get so few applications that we pretty much interview anyone that looks close

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

Show interest in the library and what it does. 

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Midwestern US 

What’s your region like?

√ Rural 

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, Rural area

I really need to feel that you’ve thought through how to tackle this work and that you can do the job, or will be able to do so fairly quickly after hire

Regina Andrews (far right) and unidentified guest speakers during a Family Night at the Library program at the Washington Heights Branch of The New York Public Library. NYPL Digital Collections

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Academic Library 

Title: Coordinator of Research, Teaching & Learning

Titles hired include: Outreach Librarian; Assessment Librarian; First Year Engagement Librarian

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ Library Administration

√ The position’s supervisor

√ A Committee or panel

√ Employees at the position’s same level (on a panel or otherwise) 

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

√ Cover letter

√ Resume 

√ References 

√ Supplemental Questions 

√ Demonstration (teaching, storytime, etc)

√ More than one round of interviews

√ A whole day of interviews 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No 

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

Candidates typically submit cover letter, resume/CV and supplemental question RE: ALA-accredited degree). These are made available to a search committee of 3-5 staff usually including the position’s supervisor.  The committee identifies candidates for initial screening by HR; from this, 6-7 candidates are chosen for phone or Zoom interviews, and then 3 are brought to campus for a final interview.  Depending on the position, other campus stakeholders (ex, head of first-year program for FYE librarian) might be involved in this interview. The committee makes a recommendation for hire which is then approved by administration and passed on to HR (but I have never seen administration challenge the committee’s choice). I have served on 3 different search committees.

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

1 – Truly thoughtful responses to questions — she would usually pause for a moment, which initially came across as hesitation, but then would come back with something incredibly well-thought-out, well-explained, etc. 

2 – Incredible level of preparation — we would never expect this, but for her presentation she was prepared to demonstrate live, and had a back-up screencast and slides with screenshots in case of technical difficulties. When a technical issue occurred, she was not thrown off at all. She was also very aware of publicly-available info about our institution.  

3 – Solid questions for the committee. 

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Rudeness/condescension to department admin or student observers (or anyone else); cover letter which does not address specific position; expressing disinterest in a key component of the position

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Two is ok, but no more 

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?

Lack of preparation. Read the job responsibilities, look at our website, have questions! I never expect a candidate to have things memorized, but our business is research, so I generally expect that you will have done some ‘research’ on our library. 

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

Yes, sometimes. Seems simple, but being right on-time (or a little early) is really important for virtual interviews. Check your tech and set-up beforehand if possible — we’ve all had glitches and interruptions and I generally give a lot of grace for that, but it can put candidates at a disadvantage not least because they often get flustered and the rest of their responses suffer. Be comfortable with some silence, because we’ll be taking notes and won’t have the visual cues in most cases. 

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?

I look for candidates to demonstrate some understanding of the different work they’re walking into in the cover letter, and to attempt to connect their own skills. Ex, if coming from a job where your main duty is storytime and now you’re applying to teach info lit to college students — don’t just write a paragraph repeating your storytime duties. Tell me how you’ve employed outreach, teaching and/or presentation skills in storytime and connect it to the job you’ll be doing.  If the job is very different and I don’t get the sense that a candidate has considered how to translate skills, or that they have an interest in this kind of work, it can be a turnoff. I love to see different kinds of experience — I think it generally makes for a better librarian — but usually, when I’m hiring, we’re feeling the lack of staff. So to advocate for you, I really need to feel that you’ve thought through how to tackle this work and that you can do the job, or will be able to do so fairly quickly after hire. 

When does your organization *first* mention salary information?

√ Other: A range is usually provided during initial HR screening. 

What does your organization do to reduce bias in hiring? What are the contexts in which discrimination still exists in this process?

All candidates are asked to address their commitment to diversity in their cover letter. The head of a search committee is also typically provided with information from HR about how to conduct a fair hiring process, avoid discrimination, etc. To my knowledge, we don’t have any formal processes around this for staff hiring (I think our academic faculty do). 

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

The most important thing is that you ASK questions. So many candidates do not! Questions about workload, onboarding and/or expectations are always great and show you’ve done some thought about the day-to-day of the position. Questions about the local area or culture are also good, because it shows you’re interested in our area and have considered living there (it’s urban, but not necessarily super desirable). I am always impressed by challenging questions (like, what is your least favorite thing about the campus?) or things that I can tell might be deal-breakers for you — I *want* you to take the position, but I also want you to want it. 

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Northeastern US 

What’s your region like?

√ Urban 

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Some of the time and/or in some positions 

How many staff members are at your organization?

√ 11-50 

Is there anything else you’d like to say, either to job hunters or to me, the survey author? 

I just want to thank you for bringing this blog back. I know it must be a lot of work, but it is such a valuable resource. I read it obsessively when I was first applying to jobs at the end of my MLIS and it means a lot to be able to contribute, however minutely, from the other side of the table. 

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, Academic, Northeastern US, Urban area

Demonstrate how roles in previous positions apply directly to library setting

Singer Marian Anderson (left) and Regina Andrews, Mahopac, New York. NYPL Digital Collections

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Public Library 

Title: Director

Titles hired include: Supervisory librarian, outreach librarian

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ Library Administration

√ A Committee or panel 

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

√ Online application 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No 

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

HR posts position, screens applicants, library administration choose candidates and arranged interviews, conducts interviews, recommend candidate for conditional offer to HR, hr background checks and tests

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

Great resume, spoke well in interview

What are your instant dealbreakers?

Not responding

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

Job rigor, personalities

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Two is ok, but no more  

Resume: √ As many as it takes, but keep it reasonable and relevant  

CV: √ We don’t ask for this 

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

Underselling selves

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

Yes, test connection, do a mock interview with friend

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?

Demonstrate how roles in previous positions apply directly to library setting

When does your organization *first* mention salary information?

√ We only discuss after we’ve made an offer 

What does your organization do to reduce bias in hiring? What are the contexts in which discrimination still exists in this process?

Don’t know

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

Hierarchy, job duties, regular day scenario

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Southwestern US 

What’s your region like?

√ Suburban

√ Rural 

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, Public, Rural area, Southwestern US, Suburban area

Baristas, retail, restaurant experience is relevant to dealing with difficult behaviors

Traveling Libraries, Prince George’s County Memorial Library. National Archives

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Public Library 

Title: archivist

Titles hired include: Information Services Librarian, Reference Librarian (full time and substitutes), Assistant Director, Library Assistant, Paralibrarian

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ Library Administration 

√ A Committee or panel 

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

√ Cover letter

√ Resume

√ References

√ Demonstration (teaching, storytime, etc) 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No 

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

MLS level are by committee with the director having final say.  Paralibrarian and substitute level are done by the department head and peers.  We have asked for a live teaching demo or story time or they can submit a recorded one or link to something in a previous position.  

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

enthusiastic, innovative ideas, creative

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

people who answer why did you became a librarian  or your favorite thing about public libraries with I like to read.  People who answer questions about working with diverse populations are just about race ignoring age, gender, religion, culture, sexual identity, economics, education, family/household definitions

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

customer service, think quick on feet/in the moment, public service commitment,

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Only One!  

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?

they have not even visited the about us page on our website and know nothing about our collections

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

as a screening/first round for upper level positions and for all stages/levels during the pandemic

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?

include any and all experience related to people and customer service.  Baristas, retail, restaurant experience is relevant to dealing with difficult behaviors 

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?

our community is 75% white and we are working hard on this 

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

management style, supervision style, board and staff relationship

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Northeastern 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, Northeastern US, Public, Suburban area

Folks looking to break in, you must know how the libraries really work.

Retirement of supervising librarian Leah Lewison of 115th Street Branch. Left to right: Regina Andrews, Carolyn Trumpass, Rosa Zubilaga Montera, Leah Lewison, an unidentified woman and Tiffany (?) NYPL Digital Collections

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Public Library 

Title: Head of Childrens and Teens

Titles hired include: Library assistants, Children’s and teen librarians 

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ A Committee or panel 

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

√ Online application

√ Cover letter

√ Resume

√ References 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No 

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

Personable, chatty, had good experience. Almost finished degree. Made you feel like they would be fun to work with.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Very short answers are not enough. Please take your time and elaborate. 

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

Their work ethic; how much energy and enthusiasm they have. Whether or not they initiate projects or just wait around until they are assigned something.

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Only One!  

Resume: √ Only One!  

CV: √ We don’t ask for this  

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

When people are too brief. We want to hear you talk a bit with each response.

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

We do not conduct virtual interviews.

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?

Folks looking to break in, you must know how the libraries really work. Study up on wherever you are applying. Have good follow up questions. Run a program, volunteer with any group of people. Find a way to relate normal activities to the library world. Talk about customer service from both viewpoints.

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?

Nothing that I am aware of.

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

Ask about the most important qualities for the candidate. Ask about library climate.

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Northeastern 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.

Leave a comment

Filed under 1 A Return to Hiring Librarians Survey, 10-50 staff members, Northeastern US, Public, Suburban area