Category Archives: 100-200 staff members

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

I find this an exciting time for the profession

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

subject liaisons, specialists (research data management, images, undergraduate education)

This librarian works at a library with 100-200 staff members in a rural area in the Northeastern US.

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

√ 25 or fewer

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 25% or less

And how would you define “hirable”?

Met minimum qualifications as stated in the job description

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

The search committee evaluated all applications. We developed our own rubric and scoring system. We select the top 3 or 4 candidates for on-campus interviews.

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

Doesn’t meet minimum qualifications as stated in the job description

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

√ Other: We haven’t been asked, but I think we would be willing to do so.

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

In both the cover letter and c.v. or resumé, emphasize skills and experience that are called for in the job description. Research the hiring institution! (2 things, sorry!)

I want to hire someone who is

farsighted

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?

√ 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 more positions

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

√ No

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

√ 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 often raises the applicant’s standing

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

Changing, but not dying. I find this an exciting time for the profession. By redirecting our skills and adapting them to new environments, we will be more essential than ever. Of course we need to convince others of that (including some librarians).

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, Northeastern US, Rural area, State of the Job Market 2015

Experience can include in grad school, para-professional, etc.

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

Instruction and reference librarians

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?

√ more than 100, but less than 200

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 25% or less

And how would you define “hirable”?

Met the required minimal qualifications and submitted the appropriate documentation

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

A committee with a checklist (for documents and qualifications) and then a rubric for cover letter and preferred quals

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

Does not yet have the degree required OR Does not yet have the years of experience required (it’s a tie between these two reasons)

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

√ Other: If asked after making it to an inteview

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

Read the job description and requirements and use that to develop your materials.

I want to hire someone who is

engaged

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?

√ 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 the same number of positions

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

√ No

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

√ No

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

For most entry level positions no, but it is preferred and experience can include in grad school, para-professional, etc.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

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

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

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

I would not recommend anyone start library school, unless they REALLY want to.

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

Reference, children’s, catalogers, acquisitions staff, teen librarian (singular for entire system)

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

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

√ 25 or fewer

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 26-50 %

And how would you define “hirable”?

self-motivated, approachable, detail oriented, knowledgeable

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

HR then upper management

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

lack of qualifications, poor cover letter, over-confidence, gut feeling

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?

Cover letters suck to write, but they really do provide a platform to separate you from other candidates. Make it honest, but humble.

I want to hire someone who is

self-motivated

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?

√ 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?

Not required, but experience definitely gives you a leg up.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ Yes

Why or why not?

Not necessarily dying, but definitely shrinking. I would not recommend anyone start library school, unless they REALLY want to.

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

My experience has shown that cover letters really do make the difference in selecting candidates to interview.

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, Midwestern US, Public, State of the Job Market 2015, Urban area