Category Archives: 10-50 staff members

It can be easily faked in an interview

Archivist Awards. National Archives

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Academic Library

√ Archives

Title: Librarian, Outreach & Instruction

Titles hired include: Instruction librarian, archivist, library specialist, circulation 

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ HR

√ Library Administration

√ The position’s supervisor

√ A Committee or panel 

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

√ Online application

√ Cover letter

√ Resume

√ References

√ Proof of degree 

√ Oral Exam/Structured interview

√ Demonstration (teaching, storytime, etc)

√ More than one round of interviews 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No 

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

Hiring manager or committee member on hiring committee 

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

Hit all points in the ad, articulate and evidence of helping students 

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Incorrect cover letter and resume- for the wrong job

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

Self starter that wants to learn. It can be easily faked in an interview 

How many pages should each of these documents be?

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

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 researching the library 

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

Yes, if possible, no distractions such as barking dogs or other loud noises 

How can candidates looking to transition from paraprofessional work, from non-library work, or between library types convince you that their experience is relevant? Or do you have other advice for folks in this kind of situation?

If looking for a job that has a large part of desk duty, customer service experience is valuable 

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?

Diverse hiring committee. 

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

In-person hours for all positions. Evenings and weekends for most

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Southeastern US 

What’s your region like?

√ Urban 

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, Academic, Archives, Southeastern US, Urban area

As of April 2022, it’s part of the job ad

[Librarian Putnam at Sesquicentennial reception, 4/24/1950] LOC.gov

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Special Library

Title: Vice President

Titles hired include:Strategic Intelligence Analyst, Strategic Intelligence Data Analyst 

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ HR

√ The position’s supervisor 

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

√ Online application

√ Cover letter

√ Resume 

√ References 

√ Oral Exam/Structured interview 

√ More than one round of interviews 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ Other: Don’t know

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

I am at a large corporation. Our department writes a job description and gives it to HR, who advertises for the position and screens applicants. The position’s supervisor interviews candidates, and if she likes them I interview them as head of the department. Once we decide who we want to hire, we let HR know and they make the job offer and handle the rest.

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

She came to the interview very prepared. She prepared a few PPT slides to share a project she had handled at a previous position, and spoke to how that would support our position.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Imperiousness, indecisiveness 

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

How interested they are in the job; are they applying for lots of positions or were they selective about ours

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?

Come unprepared 

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

Have your video camera on if possible 

When does your organization *first* mention salary information?

 √ Other: As of April 2022, it’s part of the job ad 

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Midwestern 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 

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

Showing up to the interview drunk. Yes, that has happened. Lol.

Reception at the Annual Meeting of the American Association of Law Librarians. Washington, DC. NYPL Digital Collections

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Public Library 

Title: Director 

Titles hired include: Assistant Director, programming librarians, clerks, shelters, custodians

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ Library Administration

√ The position’s supervisor

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

√ Cover letter

√ Resume

√ References 

√ Oral Exam/Structured interview 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No 

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

We ask candidates to submit a resume and cover letter, I review (with other staff help, depending on the position). I use a rubric to evaluate resumes of qualified candidates. Invite for in-person interviews, and I use a rubric to evaluate interviews. I am the director and have the final decision. I often delegate that decision to my Assistant Director for clerk and shelver positions. 

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

Quick thinker, evidence of innovative thinking and overall high level of competence and confidence. 

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Showing up to the interview drunk. Yes, that has happened. Lol. 

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

Hard to define. You don’t know a person until you work with them. 

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Two is ok, but no more  

Resume: √ Two is ok, but no more

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

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

Occasionally. The setting matters… make sure your sound/microphone works well, show that you’re comfortable with the technology. 

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?

It depends greatly on the hiring agency. We may focus on customer service skills, but another agency may focus on educational level or skills. Read the job ad and job description closely and look for their values. Focus on highlighting how you meet those priorities. 

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?

We use rubrics for comparing candidates. 

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 priorities for the position, what the job looks like in the day-to-day, how much public service time vs project time you’ll have. Show that you are interested in the details of the position and in the work, not just the paycheck. 

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Western US 

What’s your region like?

√ Suburban 

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Some of the time and/or in some positions 

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

Speaking about past experience is important, but it’s even more important to address the job you’re applying for.

Photograph of James B. Rhoads and Pavel Podlesnyy, USSR (The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) Embassy Librarian Presenting Vol. 15 USSR Foreign Policy to NARS, 7/31/1970. National Archives

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Academic Library 

Title: University Archivist

Titles hired include: Librarian, Library clerk, student employee

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ The position’s supervisor

√ A Committee or panel 

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

√ Online application

√ Resume

√ CV

√ References

√ Demonstration (teaching, storytime, etc)

√ More than one round of interviews

√ A meal with hiring personnel

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ Yes 

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

For open librarian positions the position information is sent to Academic Affairs and then approved by the Board of Governors to be filled. Then a hiring committee of two librarians and an outside faculty member is formed. This hiring committee reviews applicants and selects at least two to interview. Initial interviews are completed online. Second/third interviews are usually conducted over a full day, with separate interviews with the hiring committee, HR, Academic Affairs and potential colleagues in the library. This process includes a meal with the hiring committee and a tour of the library and parts of campus. The hiring committee then reviews the applicants with recommendations from HR and Academic Affairs. An applicant is selected and an offer is made.

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

They studied the library and our unique needs in advance! They also explained their job in their current library very well, so that the non-library faculty member understood by the end.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Not addressing the activities of the job they applied for with any competence. 

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

How knowledgeable they are about the job they applied for.

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?

They forget to ask questions about the job or about the people interviewing them.

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

Yes, I’ve done a few. Be sure you’re in a quiet location with a good background. Be passionate about the job you’re applying for.

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?

Research well in advance of your interview so that you are able to competently explain what you bring to the job you’re applying for. Speaking about past experience is important, but it’s even more important to address the job you’re applying for. With public academic libraries applicants can often get an idea of what salaries are like through the state. Researching the organization you’re applying for, is important, as is researching the library/library job you’re applying for.

When does your organization *first* mention salary information?

√ It’s part of the information provided at the interview 

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

Only the names of applicants are known until they are called for interviews. This doesn’t help with possible name discrimination, or work history discrimination.

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

What are you looking for most in an applicant for this job? How does the work in the library overlap? 

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Midwestern 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 

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

if a routine social media scan or other screening reveals a belief in conspiracy theories or misinformation, a library is not an appropriate workplace for that person.

Isabel Miller and Barbara Gittings hugging librarians. NYPL Digital Collections

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Public Library

Title: Director

Titles hired include: Program Coordinator, Library Assistant, Summer Reading Program Coordinator

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ Library Administration

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:

Post a job, schedule an interview, make a preliminary decision, check references, make an offer. I am involved at all levels.

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

Able to anticipate needs–either from a customer service perspective or a library perspective. And a strong service orientation–patrons are not “interrupting” your work they ARE your work.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

We do request a criminal record check. Also if a routine social media scan or other screening reveals a belief in conspiracy theories or misinformation, a library is not an appropriate workplace for that person.

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

How they’ll mesh with the team. Whether they’re someone who has good work follow-through or skates by on charm and personality.

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?

Honestly, not prepping at all. No evidence that they’ve looked at the library’s website, know about its services, or have opinions on how things might be done or what the library is doing well/poorly.

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

Don’t be afraid to ask follow up questions. Interest in the institution and the particular place of employment goes a long way.

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?

It really depends what skills I’m looking for. Library Assistant skills can be taught. Library values and knowledge about the library ecosystem are valuable for more senior positions since we have a small team without a lot of time/budget for getting people up to speed. In general though strong service orientation, strong technology skills, and willingness to jump into anything right away (flexibility and enthusiasm) are things that I consider to be important.

When does your organization *first* mention salary information?

√ It’s part of the information provided at the interview 

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

We try to hire to reflect our community and specifically for more diversity on staff. In terms of actual mechanisms, we have an equity statement on job ads and sometimes we post the positions with organizations that have connections in various communities, but that’s really about it. Put like that, it sounds like we should be doing more.

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

Something that makes it clear that they understand the position, know something about the library in relation to that position and that they’re interested in learning more about the library, the community, the work and have something to contribute.

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Canada 

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, Canada, Public, Rural area

I am always impressed when someone asks about disaster preparedness

Stuart Strachan, Senior Archivist, National Archives, examines files from the Prime Minister’s Department (1980). Archives New Zealand on Flickr.

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Other: Museum

Title: Archivist

Titles hired include: Assistant Archivist

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ The position’s supervisor 

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

√ 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:

The HR manager posts the Assistant Archivist position, the Archivist does an initial pass on the applicants’ resume and cover letter. The Archivist and Curator pick the top 6 candidates for phone interviews with both. Following the phone interviews, the top 3 candidates are invited for an interview via Zoom or in-person. The Curator and Archivist evaluate the final candidates with the Archivist making the final decision on who to hire

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

They worked with multiple types of collections, i.e. paper, photos, and oral histories. They showed a willingness and excitement to learn more skills and apply them.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

A disorganized resume. If the resume is not uniform and organized, it shows a lack of attention to detail that is required in this job.

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

How willing they are to speak up to say something isn’t working or if their concentration is wavering during long-term monotonous tasks. Things can always be adjusted even if it’s picking up a small task to “jump start” their concentration, but if they don’t/won’t speak up, I can’t help them.

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?

They didn’t do research on the organization or the area that they might live in.

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

Yes. They should be comfortable but not lounging. I can tell if they’re comfortable because those interviewees tend to be more engaged.

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?

Highlight applicable skills. We do a lot of cataloguing and research, tell me what you’ve done similarly. Look into remote volunteering situations to bolster your resume if you are unable to volunteer or intern in an archive.

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?

We don’t have anything in place. I try not to look at names, graduating and/or working dates, or addresses of former workplaces until after the initial pass. In our organization, local hires are always prioritized because management requests early start dates. This could rule out most candidates for the archives as there is not a large pool of local applicants.

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

For us, copyright is key, as I work in a single artist museum. Asking questions about projects coming up is always good to show planning for the future. I am always impressed when someone asks about disaster preparedness, because it shows me they have looked into the area and are looking at the protection of the collection 

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Western US 

What’s your region like?

√ Urban

√ 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, Archives, Rural area, Special, Suburban area, Urban area, Western US

I love the question “how would you measure success in this job”

Archives of Appalachia in the old Sherrod Library, presently called Nicks Hall on ETSU campus. From Wikimedia Commons.

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Archives

Title: Archivist

Titles hired include: Collections department interns and archivist interns/assistants 

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ The position’s supervisor

√ A Committee or panel 

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

√ 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:

It begins with me looking over resumes and cover letters. Once those have been combed through, a telephone interview takes place with me. For the video or in person interview it includes other department members. Typically after that a decision is made

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

They took initiative in their writing and application as well as their interview. Their creative approach to their work made me take notice! 

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Rudeness, difficult personality, and no experience

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

How they truly work collaboratively 

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Only One!  

Resume: √ Only One!  

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

They stumble through their words when not prepared for the interview questions 

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

Yes sometimes when necessary— primarily just be yourself and know your own experience as well as what our application requires 

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?

Talk about creative problem solving and organization. These skills are more difficult to teach and can come from various lines of work 

When does your organization *first* mention salary information?

√ It’s part of the job ad

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

The initial resumes and cover letters can have no personal info beyond name. Then it really comes down to the way they interview and if their experience aligns with the needs

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

I love the question “how would you measure success in this job” and they should know our mission, some of the contemporary struggles or obstacles we might face

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

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

Remember, you’re interviewing potential co-workers as well!

The ALA War Finance and War Service Committee at Chillicothe, Ohio. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Academic Library 

Title: Director of Library Services

Titles hired include: Teaching & Learning Librarian, Health Sciences Librarian, Library Operations Supervisor, Electronic Resources/Systems Librarian

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ HR

√ Library Administration

√ The position’s supervisor

√ A Committee or panel

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

√ Online application

√ Cover letter

√ Resume

√ References

√ Proof of degree

√ 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:

Applicants apply online and attach their materials. The application system notifies me (supervisor/library director) of new applications. I review applications with a search committee based on a template related to the job posting. We then forward 5-6 applications to HR for an initial phone interview. HR conducts the phone interview: they ask general questions plus a few library-specific questions supplied by the search committee. We then take HR’s notes on the phone interviews and narrow the field to 2-4 applicants for a 2nd round final interview. This final round is usually in-person and we pay for travel expenses (although due to COVID, we’ve done Microsoft Teams virtual interviews for the past 2 years). After the final round interviews, I ask the search committee to rank the applicants in order to see what the group’s consensus is. I forward our choices in order to HR who makes the offer to the job candidate.

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

They took the time to look at our library website and the services and resources we offer. They worked this into responses to our interview questions. 

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

No

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

Nothing

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?

not being inquisitive; not asking us questions (remember, you’re interviewing potential co-workers as well!)

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

Yes. Just make sure technology works and try to cut down on distractions when interviewing virtually. 

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?

Focus on promoting the skills you have that are directly transferrable. 

When does your organization *first* mention salary information?

√ Other: Our institution does not post salary information in job ads (which I cannot get them to budge on). So I provide it as soon as I reach out to schedule interviews.

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

The library does a blind review process of applications. Names, addresses, institutions, graduation dates, etc… are blacked out on applications.

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

short-term vs. long-term goals for the position, how are you evaluated in the position, what untapped areas/collaboration do you see with the position

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Midwestern US 

What’s your region like?

√ Suburban 

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Some of the time and/or in some positions

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, Midwestern US, Suburban area

Don’t check notifications during the interview

Several people look at books and documents at tables in an archives
Reading Room, National Archives, Air New Zealand Building (1985). Archives New Zealand on Flickr.

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Archives

Title: Reference Services Manager

Titles hired include: Reference Archivist, processing Archivist, outreach archivist, research analyst, archives tech 

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ HR

√ Library Administration

√ The position’s supervisor

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

√ Online application

√ Resume

√ References

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No

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

Online applications are reviewed by the supervisor and director to select the interviewees. Interviews are held with HR present. Supervisory positions will often have a second interview with the administration. Background checks are done before references are checked. 

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

The biggest wows are usually the people who don’t look as impressive on paper but interview really well. They have generally reviewed our website and general collections so were prepared to tie their experience to our situation- even things that don’t seem like they would be related. 

Cover letters are the best way to point out how your experience is relevant (especially when it isn’t traditional) and is often what puts someone ahead of another person with similar levels of experience. 

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

If they ask for way more money than is posted for the position (we are government and salaries are pretty set to that range)

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

Not sure. 

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Two is ok, but no more  

Resume: √ Two is ok, but no more  

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 being familiar with the job description or the basic information about the Institution

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

Yes – try not to have obvious distractions and mute your phone (and don’t check notifications during the interview). 

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?

Directly relate it to lines in the job description or to functions you notice on their website (collections, databases, outreach etc)

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?

I’m not sure we do anything beyond state mandated rules. We don’t have any features that eliminate anyone before they are seen by the supervisor.  Current staff are very conscious about not discriminating (in various areas) and HR might have other ways/procedures that I am not 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?

Any question that shows that they have thought about the actual position or working for the specific institution. 

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Midwestern 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

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

Include a cv and relate your experience to the job description 

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, Archives, Midwestern US, Rural area, Suburban area

Find a way to connect with the panel even in this situation during informal chat before formal interview starts

Mill Creek, Knott County, Kentucky. This young mountain wife shortly is to become the mother of his first child. The Work Projects Administration’s (WPA) Pack Horse Librarian has for months furnished her with literature on hygiene and the care of infants. She will probably go through her confinement without the aid of expert medical attention, but she will receive the attention of the WPA’s housekeeping aid, if she so desires. National Archives.

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Special Library

Title: Director

Titles hired include: Bibliometrician, Bioinformatician, Data Scientist, Informationist, E-learning Librarian

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ The position’s supervisor

√ A Committee or panel 

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

√ Online application

√ Resume

√ References

√ Proof of degree

√ Supplemental Questions

√ 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:

HR screens for qualifications and fit with job announcement.  Hiring manager identifies candidates from HR list and forms an interview panel.  Candidates interview virtually and give a 10 minute presentation related to the area for which they are being hired.  Panel gives numeric rating for key competencies covered during interview.  Regardless of panel numbers, hiring manager makes the final decision.

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

Impressive candidates are highly qualified, confident, excellent communicators, and interested in the organization.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Clear when the candidate hasn’t done any background on the organization or the position.

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

How the employee will fit with their colleagues.

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: √ We don’t ask for this  

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

Talk too long and don’t read the room.

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

Yes.  Make sure technology is tested and set up for the virtual environment (sound, lighting, background, etc). Find a way to connect with the panel even in this situation during informal chat before formal interview starts.  Even remotely people want to get a sense of your personality.

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?

Make sure your resume demonstrates impact and success doing what is required for the job being advertised.

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?

HR has EEO rules in place.  Hiring panels are diverse.

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

Ask something that shows you know about the organization and demonstrates your interest in a particular position.  What does success look like in this position?  This gives you an idea of what the expectations and vision are for the group doing the hiring.

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Northeastern US 

What’s your region like?

√ Suburban 

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? 

More and more positions in libraries require specialized skills and there may be non-MLIS graduates filling these positions.  Certificates or continued education in specialized areas are increasingly being valued.

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, Special, Suburban area