Category Archives: 100-200 staff members

And we are still hiring mostly white candidates for all positions.

Librarian Augusta Baker showing a copy of Ellen Tarry’s “Janie Belle” to a young girl at the library. From the New York Public Library

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Public Library

Title: Branch Manager

Titles hired include: Library assistant, senior library assistant, principal library assistant, librarian, branch manager

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)

√ Other: County administration, library commission (governing board)

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

√ Online application

√ References

√ Proof of degree 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No 

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

I work in a medium urban/suburban county public system. Application required. Typically one interview with a panel of three, the supervisor and two staff at same or higher titles. Successful candidate approved by library commission and county administration. Can take 4-6 weeks to notify candidates. 

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

Expressed empathy, no direct library experience (was for a library assistant job) but demonstrated strategic thinking, problem solving, ability to help patrons figure out our systems 

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

I tend to pick out a “most important question” in the interview that really gets to the heart of what’s important for this person for this role. For my branch, it’s the question about what challenges an urban library faces, and how the candidate might address them on a personal and professional level. A weak answer on that question is hard to overcome. 

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

Even though we only require an application, at least a cover letter is so helpful. Please practice responses to likely questions ahead of time. If you’re an internal candidate, pretend we don’t know you. Ask at least one good question of us, and not just “when can I expect to hear back.” 

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ We don’t ask for this  

Resume: √ We don’t ask for this  

CV: √ We don’t ask for this  

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

Their only question for us is “when will I hear back.” It’s a fair question! But we’d love to answer more.

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

Yes. Nothing really – I think we all recognize we’re all doing the best we can with this. Some colleagues expect candidates to have video on but I wish we could come to a consensus that this isn’t necessary – we shouldn’t ask about or discriminate based on internet bandwidth. 

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?

Candidates with retail and food service experience are amazing! Talking about how you provided good service in these challenging jobs is the best – please don’t hold back. 

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?

Insist we write down candidate answers word for word as much as possible. We are instructed to base hiring justifications on interview answers and applications, nothing else. I still see age related bias, on both the younger and older ends of the spectrum. The thing about insisting cameras be on for virtual interviews is no good. And we are still hiring mostly white candidates for all positions. 

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

What’s a typical day like, how are staff supported by supervisors, do you feel this is a healthy workplace. Our organization in general does its best, but due to the political climate salaries and vacation for new hires are egregiously low and we have long, long vacancies when people leave. Everyone, especially managers, are stretched very thin. 

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Northeastern US  

What’s your region like?

√ Urban

√ Suburban 

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Other: Only remote for most meetings and interviews

How many staff members are at your organization?

√ 101-200 

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Filed under 1 A Return to Hiring Librarians Survey, 100-200 staff members, Northeastern US, Public, Suburban area, Urban area

Search committee reviews all applicants using a matrix

Three tables each with people studying special collections
Image: Researchers at MSU Special Collections Library via Wikimedia Commons

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Academic Library

√ Archives

Title: Head of Special Collections

Titles hired include: University archivist, archivist, processing archivist

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ Other: Search committee makes recommendation to dean

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:

Search committee reviews all applicants using a matrix, selects first round phone interviews (8-10 people usually), selects 2-3 people for on campus interview (full day), makes hiring recommendation to dean

 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?

Not doing any research on the hiring institution, not having any questions for interviewers

When does your organization *first* mention salary information?

√ It’s part of the job ad

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Southwestern 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?

√ 101-200

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Filed under 1 A Return to Hiring Librarians Survey, 100-200 staff members, Academic, Archives, Southwestern US, Suburban area

I’ve had very good correlation between successful hires and composers of excellent cover letters

Black and white photo librarian sits at desk in an alcove under a vine, woman stands speaking to her
Image: Great Kills, Librarian and patron at desk From The New York Public Library

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Public Library

Title: Branch Manager

Titles hired: Library Assistant, Library Assistant Specialist, Youth Services Specialist, Adult Services Specialist, Branch Supervisor

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

√ Proof of degree

√ Supplemental Questions

√ Oral Exam/Structured interview

√ Demonstration (teaching, storytime, etc)

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ Other: The online application system does a very minor amount of screening, but still lets a lot of people through who don’t meet the minimum qualifications.

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

Applicants must apply online. Positions are open until filled. Interviews are scheduled after a sufficient number of promising applicants have accumulated. During COVID, Interviews were by Zoom. We are starting to move back to more in-person interviews. Interviews are with the manager (myself), the supervisor (equivalent of an asst. manager), and the HR director. The same questions are used with all interviewees for a position. Those applying for positions requiring programming are required to do a presentation. The manager makes the final selection with HR input.

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

We always ask for cover letters, but very few people actually write them. If a candidate writes a thoughtful cover letter, assuming they meet the minimum job requirements, they almost always end up at the top of my list of people to interview. I’ve had very good correlation between successful hires and composers of excellent cover letters. I’m also impressed by people who come to interviews obviously very well prepared. For example, they previously visited the library and researched our services. I had an entry level candidate who had no library experience. While interviewing, I noticed he had a notebook with the Dewey Decimal System written out in detail. He never referenced it, but I noticed his preparation and it did influence my decision to hire him.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

People who don’t use proper capitalization, punctuation or grammar in their applications. People who can’t work the required hours or meet the minimum job requirements. People who give problematic sounding reasons for leaving their previous jobs, particularly when that same reason is listed multiple times. People who are out of school, yet still have tons of job turnover (particularly yearly turnover).

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

How well they’ll work with the rest of the team. There are indicators, but in the end, its always a gamble.

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?

Revealing personal information that isn’t relevant and reflects poorly. Poorly handling questions like “What are you working to improve?”

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

More so than in the past. If you are asked to do a presentation, be prepared to screenshare. Nothing you try to hold up to the camera will look good.

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 solid examples of how your current skill set relates to the position you want. If the position you’re after is a stretch, say it requires programming skills and you’ve never programmed, make it clear to me that you’ve researched the topic and learned about professional resources that will help you grow and succeed in the position. I had a para-professional who wanted to become a youth programmer. She made an effort to get involved in anything she could that was remotely youth related. She sought advice from coworkers who were programmers. She practiced doing storytimes at home and filmed herself so she could self critique. Despite limited programming experience, she was the clear choice for the job. If a candidate keeps getting shot down for promotions, they should talk to HR and get advice. If there’s a clear problem area, they need to work on it. I’ve dealt with a person who applied for tons of jobs, but interviewed terribly. The fact that they never changed their style or seemed to learn from their experiences, made me concerned about how teachable they would be if given a promotion.

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 a numerical metric to score responses to questions. I would like to see us advertise our positions more widely.

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

Asking questions is good. It’s fine to ask about things like schedule and benefits, but also ask some thoughtful things about the job. Examples: library goals, training process, management style, etc.

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?

√ 101-200

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Filed under 1 A Return to Hiring Librarians Survey, 100-200 staff members, Midwestern US, Public, Rural area, Suburban area

I build opportunities to discuss failure into all of our interviews

Headshot of Christian Zabriskie. A kid sits on his shoulders reading a book

Christian Zabriskie is the Executive Director of the Onondaga County Public library that serves the City of Syracuse and supports 22 independent member libraries in Central NY. 

He is also the Executive Director of Urban Librarians Unite which he founded with business partner Lauren Comito in 2010. He and Lauren were Library Journal’s 2020 Librarians of the Year. 

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

We use Civil Service Lists to determine reachable candidates then interview based on resume from the list of candidates we are given.

Titles hired: Director of Communication, Programming Coordinator, Director of Operations

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:

We use Civil Service Lists to determine reachable candidates then interview based on resume from the list of candidates we are given.

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

They exuded energy, were confident yet self-deprecating, and had a deep knowledge in the area that they wanted to use on a larger canvas…and had good ideas for what that looks like.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Finding fault in colleagues, I build opportunities to discuss failure into all of our interviews. If the applicant cannot see themselves in a failure but pushes it off onto teammates out of the block then they are not a good fit for our organization.

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

Their emotional intelligence

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?

Oversharing and not seeing space for personal growth.

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

No, but I am not opposed to them. Do NOT judge people on their backgrounds! I run a large multi-million dollar library, my background through most of the crisis was a mess of reports, papers, printouts, and maps. If you looked at it without knowing my background or work habits then it would look like I was a disorganized hoarder.

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?

Speak to the work of the library at a level above the work they are doing now. Get past transactional definitions of the 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?

We work with the local office of diversity. We actively recruit as diverse a pool as is possible.

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 to move your organization forward? Referencing any 1-3 specific programs, locations, or collections that we have. I don’t care about the questions, I care about them doing the work to research our organization.

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Northeastern 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?

√ 101-200

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

Bring your brightest energy and passion to the interview. I look for “the bright spark”. I can train staff to do pretty much whatever they need to know to be successful but intellectual curiosity and an agile mind are the essential starting point. Probation is important, give us an idea of what it would be like to work with you not just in this moment but a decade from now.

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Filed under 100-200 staff members, Northeastern US, Public, Rural area, Suburban area, Urban area

Our process generally follows the ACRL Guidelines for Recruiting Academic Librarians

Image of Mollie Huston Lee in the stacks of the Richard B. Harrison Library, 1968
Image: Mollie Huston Lee, Richard B. Harrison Library, 1968, Flickr user North Carolina Digital Heritage Center via CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for an:

√ Academic Library

Title: Associate Dean

Titles hired include: Records Manager, Clinical Librarian, STEM Librarian, Assessment & Analytics Librarian, Social Sciences Liaison, Business Liaison, Hospital Library Manager, Metadata Librarian, Technical Services Librarian, etc.

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ 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

√ CV

√ References

√ Proof of degree

√ Demonstration (teaching, storytime, etc)

√ More than one round of interviews

√ A whole day of interviews

√ A meal with hiring personnel

√ Other: Meetings with non-library stakeholders

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No

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

I serve ex-officio on all librarian search committees to oversee process integrity. Our process generally follows the ACRL Guidelines for Recruiting Academic Librarians

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

Someone who has clearly done their homework about the institution and the clarity of responses to our questions. I prefer and brief but direct response to a question than a lot of rambling. Someone who has concrete examples for each of the qualifications in the job announcement.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Not meeting the minimum qualifications; a cover letter that is not written for our job and does not attempt to match experiences and background with our requirements

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

I think we do a very good job of learning about the experience and interpersonal skills of the candidates during our interview process. We spend a lot of time designing the interview experience for the purpose. A challenge sometimes for committees is figuring out how to weigh experience against someone who has strong interpersonal skills and may have the potential to be exceptional in the position. A well-prepared candidate can overcome this with having examples of how they demonstrated such things as collaboration or project management even if they don’t have much actual library or other work experience. On occasion, I have been surprised at how differently someone behaves on the job compared to how they responded during the interview, but fortunately this doesn’t often happen.

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ 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?

Lack of preparation; not doing homework about the institution; vague responses to questions; bad-mouthing current employer

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

That is all we have been doing for the past few years. Candidates should prepare exactly as they would for an in-person experience. Also, make the effort to make sure the technology will work and you have a private space for the interview. I always offer to do a trial run but not many people take me up on the offer. Someone who is not prepared to share a document for example using our platform will perform less well than someone who knows how to make it work.

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 you can connect the dots between your experiences in a paraprofessional role and the requirements of the position. If your job has not allowed you to have certain experiences, e.g. project management or supervision, at least be prepared to describe best practices you have observed.

When does your organization *first* mention salary information?

√ Other: The minimum is posted in the job ad (not a range) but is not discussed in detail until an offer is made.

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

Committee members are required to complete an implicit bias training and the university has created some best practice guidelines and oversight to ensure committee are following best practices. My role on the committee is also to help the group mitigate biases. Although each committee is constructed to have at least one member who is a person of color, the norms for the process and candidate screening are still pretty centered on whiteness and could introduce discrimination at any point. The goal at this time is awareness and mitigation.

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

About priorities for the job; how will success be measured; questions about working environment; really anything that conveys an interest in our job, not just a job.

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Southeastern 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?

√ 101-200

Author’s note: Hey, thanks for reading! If you like reading, why not trying 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, 100-200 staff members, Academic, Southeastern US, Urban area

Candidates have more leverage now than previously

Photograph of Pack Horse Librarian Packing Saddle Bag
Image: Photograph of Pack Horse Librarian Packing Saddle Bag National Archives Catalog

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Academic Library

√ Archives

Title: Director

Titles hired: various flavors of Archivist and Librarian

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ Library Administration

√ Other: upon the recommendation of search committee

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

√ Online application

√ Cover letter

√ 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 academic searches, a committee that includes peers is appointed. They oversee the search process and select finalists. Final recommendations go to the unit administrator and dean.

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

Extensive hands-on experience and practiced at interviewing. Early-career.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Rudeness. Failure to research the institution or express interest in the city.

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

N/A academic library interviews are about as in-depth as it gets. It’s up to the hiring manager and committee to ask the right questions.

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Two is ok, but no more √ 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 taking the opportunity to ask questions of us. This isn’t a dealbreaker or really factors in to how I evaluate candidates, but it is a big opportunity for a candidate to learn about the organization and unearth red flags.

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

Yes. Practice basic Zoom if it isn’t a big part of your life. Switching to screenshare, looking at settings, etc. Practice interview questions with a friend or colleague so that you feel comfortable.

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?

Explain why it is relevant, and describe the connections. Don’t make the interviewers do all the work. Some will have made the jump and can readily see the connections, but others won’t and you need to spell it out for them. If you have primarily worked in a para setting, don’t just describe the tasks you did, describe the broader initiative and function (context for your role) to demonstrate that you are thinking on a macro level.

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?

Anti-bias training for search committee members, preliminary discussions about interpreting criteria and how to apply it more inclusively

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

Mission, short/long term priorities, how retention is prioritized, EDI/DEI

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?

√ 101-200

Is there anything else you’d like to say, either to job hunters or to me, the survey author? Or are there any questions you think we should add?

LIS/archives searches are still very competitive, but candidates have more leverage now than previously. Use that leverage to ask questions and to negotiate a better offer.

Author’s note: Hey, thanks for reading! If you like reading, why not trying 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 100-200 staff members, Academic, Archives, Midwestern US, Urban area

Don’t be too specialized. But, at the same time, don’t be too generalized.

Fish Market This anonymous interview is with an public librarian who has been a hiring manager. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Reference librarians, collection development and systems librarians, children’s and teen librarians, archivists.

This librarian works at a library with 100-200 staff members in an urban area in the Southern US.

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

√ 25 or fewer

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 25% or less

And how would you define “hirable”?

Someone who has experience-either via work history or volunteer or school practicums. I’ve had several applicants fresh out of (online) library school with NO library experience whatsoever. Someone who has a steady job history, I avoid people who have job hopped a lot or have a spotty work history with no explanation (a good explanation-took time off for family or health reasons-that’s completely understandable). Someone who is articulate in both writing and conversation, someone who has reasonable expectations for the job in terms of both scheduling and salary.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

HR sends the applications to a third party company that grades the applications before we receive a final list. I’m not sure what their criteria is. I’ve gotten applications for library jobs from people who clearly don’t meet the requirements, so I can’t say for certain that they eliminate based on the minimum requirements posted for the job. It’s kind of a mystery, really. Once we get a list, we (the hiring committee) decide who to interview based on their resume.

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

Lack of experience in the area we’re hiring in. If I’m looking to fill a collection development position and the person is a librarian with no collection development experience, I’m not going to interview the person.

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

√ Other: Only upon an open records request

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

Don’t be too specialized. But, at the same time, don’t be too generalized. I realize that’s contradictory, but what I’m trying to say is that it’s important to have experience in different areas, depending on the library field you’re entering. For example, public librarians should have at least a baseline of experience in reference work, circulation, collection development and computers.

I want to hire someone who is

flexible

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 100-200

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

√ 3-4

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

√ 7 or more

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?

√ Yes

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

Both. There is a minimum number of years on the job descriptions, but I’m not sure how much HR sticks to that, given that I’ve had applicants with no experience. We tend to hire people with more experience as a practice because we’re perpetually short-staffed and need people who can hit the ground running.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

I think librarianship is evolving, not dying. The nature of our day-to-day work might be changing, but there will always be a need for someone who is an information professional, able to parse through the huge amount of information that is out in the world and make sense of it all for the public. Yes, Marian the Librarian is dead, but the profession isn’t.

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 100-200 staff members, Public, State of the Job Market 2015, Urban area

I’m not going to spend time on a candidate who has never stayed in a job for more than a year.

Crockery and S. Murray, Grainger Market This anonymous interview is with an public librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Technical services, reference, children’s, teen.

This librarian works at a library with 100-200 staff members in an urban area in the Western US.

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

√ 25 or fewer

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 25% or less

And how would you define “hirable”?

That magical alchemy of experience, personality and education.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

HR weeds out applications. We only get the ones that meet minimum qualifications (education, experience). From those, we have to choose 5 (if there are more than 5, if there are less, we interview all). Since everyone who hits my desk meets the minimum requirements, I look at other things that I consider red flags-spelling, grammar, serial job-hopping, mysterious gaps or abrupt terminations, references, etc.

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

For me, serial job-hopping. I’m not going to spend time on a candidate who has never stayed in a job for more than a year.

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

√ No

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

Be diverse in your experience, specialization is great, but I love to see people who stretch.

I want to hire someone who is

reliable

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 100-200

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

√ 5-6

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

√ 5-6

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?

√ Yes

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

Generally, we advertise for a minumum of 1 year, and we do take into account volunteering.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

The field is changing, not dying. Technology has altered the landscape, but I don’t think it’s killed the 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 100-200 staff members, Public, State of the Job Market 2015, Urban area, Western US

If the applicant doesn’t have direct experience for the job posted, and he/she is trying to use previous skills, do a better job linking what you have done to the job posting

Crockery and S. Murray, Grainger Market This anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a hiring manager. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Subject liaisons and specialist, technical services staff.

This librarian works at a library with 100-200 staff members in an urban area in the Southern US.

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

√ 25 or fewer

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 25% or less

And how would you define “hirable”?

Meeting at least 75% of the qualifications of the position.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

Search Committee

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

Lack of an ALA accredited MLS.  After that, lack of experience in the desired area.

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

√ No

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

If the applicant doesn’t have direct experience for the job posted, and he/she is trying to use previous skills, do a better job linking what you have done to the job posting.  “I am willing to learn” or “I want to know about this area” is not a good enough response to get an interview for a job that requires specific experience.

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 100-200

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?

√ 3-4

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

√ There are fewer positions

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

√ Yes

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

√ Yes

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 helps.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

Not dying, but there will be fewer opportunities in the future.

Do you have any other comments, for job hunters or about the survey?

Not sure that the people responding will be the people you need to get an accurate assessment of the workplace.

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 100-200 staff members, Academic, Southern US, State of the Job Market 2015, Urban area

We’ve stopped hiring completely since the Canadian dollar dropped

Employment Bus Interior by Flickr user Metro Transportation Library and ArchiveThis anonymous interview is with a librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring committee. This person works at an academic library with 100-200 staff members.

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

1. Does the candidate meet the qualifications listed in the job posting 2. For academic postings, is this person contributing to librarianship through scholarship, service, etc. 3. Does this person fit the dynamic of our library

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

Desperation. Listen, I’ve been desperate, I know what it’s like. I know it’s unavoidable. But it is possible to not let your desperation show. This is key. For example, if I see that you’ve applied to my library to be a project archivist, a data entry clerk, a cataloger, a liaison librarian and an Associate University Librarian, all in the span of a few months, I’m sorry but I don’t want to hire you for any of them. How am I supposed to know which of those things is actually _your_ thing, and which are the ones you’d be willing to settle for? I’ve also interviewed someone who, at the end of the interview, said she really wanted to start a job ASAP because she was running out of money. I need to know that you want to work here because the job is a good fit, not because you’ll take any library job any old where at this point.

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

Unexplained gaps in time. Typos. For student hires, I’m tired of seeing, “I’m really excited to apply to work at the campus bookstore.” The word “passion”

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

Information based on the job posting. I hire based on the posting. If the requirements stated in the posting aren’t glaringly obvious in your resume, I have to take a longer time to parse through your application package to find them. If I have a stack of 100 resumes for one position and I can’t figure out if you have an MLIS + 3 years of experience in 20 seconds or less, I’m moving on. I think people (falsely) assume that everywhere has some type of HR software that is vetting resumes. That may be true some places, but not where I work. I am literally going through every resume, and not all of them have MLISs – or have even worked in a library. I need to be able to at least tell you apart from those people.

How many pages should a cover letter be?

√ Only one!

How many pages should a resume/CV be?

√ 3 or fewer for support staff. As many as it takes for academics.

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?

Be genuine and know your stuff. I hire for technical services, and I can tell when someone doesn’t give a crap about cataloging. Give a bunch of craps. Be genuine.

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

Bringing a cup of coffee. Not dressing well. Sometimes when we ask about why a person would be a good fit for a job they really end up telling me why the job is a good fit for them. Not the same thing.

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

We’ve stopped hiring completely since the Canadian dollar dropped. NB: We’re a Canadian library.

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

Job seekers, please stop e-mailing me asking about job opportunities. When something comes up it will be posted. If it isn’t posted it doesn’t exist. I work in the public sector, I can’t not post a job when one becomes available.

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 100-200 staff members, Academic, Original Survey