Category Archives: Canada

Energy and enthusiasm always make a lasting impression

Gregg Currie is the College Librarian at Selkirk College, a community college in the southeast corner of British Columbia. Like many Canadian librarians who graduated from library school in the 90’s, he started his librarian career working for the New York Public Library. Gregg moved from NYPL to being the evening/weekend librarian at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, then managed the circulation department at Fordham University’s Walsh Library, and has been in his current position since 2008.

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

I create a posting, submit to HR, HR & my supervisor approve posting, I form a committee.  The committee selects candidates to interview, then decides who is successful.  Committee is usually 3 Library staff.

Titles hired include: Librarian – Instructional Services and Digital Initiatives ; Casual Librarian ; Library Technician  – Public Services ; Library Technician – Serials and Administrative Support ; Director of Communications (for the college , not the library), VP Education(for the college , not the library)

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ Library Administration 

√ A Committee or panel 

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

√ Online application

√ Cover letter

√ Resume 

√ References

√ Proof of degree 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No 

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

Energy and enthusiasm always make a lasting impression, as does being prepared for the interview. Preparation not just being able to answer questions, but also having spent time to understand the position and the organization.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Submitting the wrong cover letter, or submitting a generic cover letter. 

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

 How well they will get along with their coworkers.

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Only One!  

Resume: √ Two is ok, but no more   

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

Showing no knowledge of my institution, or my library.  As in clearly they haven’t even looked at our website sort of thing.

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

Yes, much as I dislike them, we no longer have funds to bring people out. People need to be careful of their backgrounds, still need to dress up, still need to prep. 

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 can’t think of anything specific beyond hiring being done by a search committee and candidates must meet educational & experience requirements..

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

Questions about what working in the library is like, questions about our website, what work opportunities they might have.

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Canada 

What’s your region like?

√ Rural 

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Some of the time and/or in some positions 

How many staff members are at your organization?

√ Other: The Library has 10, the college around 400 

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Filed under 1 A Return to Hiring Librarians Survey, 200+ staff members, Academic, Canada, Rural 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 

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Filed under 1 A Return to Hiring Librarians Survey, 10-50 staff members, Canada, Public, Rural area

don’t look up stuff when answering

Elizabeth H. Bukowsky, a member of the National Archives’ Exhibits and Information staff, standing in front of a National Archives bulletin board exhibit prepared by EI [Exhibits and Information] and LI [Library] and displayed at the meeting of the Special Libraries Association at the Statler Hotel, Washington, DC, June 9-11, 1948. Photo by John Barnhill, NA photographer. National Archives.

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Special Library

Title: Manager, Facilities and Shared Services

Titles hired include: Senior Information Coordinator; Library Technician;

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ Library Administration 

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

√ Online application

√ Cover letter

√ Resume

√ References

√ Written Exam

√ More than one round of interviews

√ Other: Phone screen

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ Yes 

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

I decide someone is needed

I get approval from my manager

I contact HR

I fill out FORMS and FORMS and FORMS with justification

I fill out more FORMS to get job pay range set

HR posts position on job boards, and uses HR software to manage

Resumes are sorted by software and HR (I always ask to see ALL, not just the ones that they think are qualified)

I pick who I want to interview

HR sets up interviews

I fill out more forms to justify my pick

HR offers them the job

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

Understood questions quickly

Easy to speak with

Understood the technology

Second language

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

spelling errors in resume or cover letter

Lack of spoken English

lying

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Only One!  

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 researching the company

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

be on time

don’t read a script

don’t look up stuff when answering

turn off your phone

When does your organization *first* mention salary information?

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

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Canada 

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?

√ 201+ 

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, 200+ staff members, Canada, Special, Suburban area

Many libraries are installing men almost routinely into the highest roles, including men without even a library background or the ALA degree

Three white men, two who are in military uniform, stand by a shelf of books
ALA Camp Kearny library Left to right: J.H. Quire, Camp Librarian, Fr. Herbert Putnam, Gen’l. Director, Library War Service, I.N. Lawson, Jr. Assistant Librarian From the Library of Congress.

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Special Library 

Title: Regional Manager, Library Services

Titles hired include: Library Technician, Librarian

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

√ Resume

√ 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:

Fill out position request forms, get approval, obtain funding, post job, review resumes, convene hiring panel, interview (w. HR rep present), make offer, get salary benchmarking, formalize offer by letter, receive signed offer letter back from employee. 

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

Researched the role, even brings notes (that is fine!); could give clear structured answers to questions (Describe a situation related to question; what actions they took, or things they had to consider, and the outcomes. Demonstration of practical experience in this way is helpful, and answers matter even if they are not directly related to the field (Eg a newly graduated librarian might given an example from another job and that would be okay provided it was well structured around the process they use in a given scenario). 3 minutes long is usually okay for each question, better to be a bit longer than not detailed. 

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Short interview answers with no details. Resumes that don’t list a speficif work duty and output or outcome related to it. 

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  

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

I don’t think anyone ever intends to make mistakes, we are human, people sometimes seem overconfident, but it’s nerves; or they seem nervous, but they steadfastly answer the questions, no one is perfect and my hope is that every qualified candidate understands that sometimes they only don’t get the job because they made it to the interview as 1 of 2 or 3 highly qualified candidates. It’s not often a lack of anything, just competitive markets sometimes. 

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

Yes. Job hunters – when asked to attend a virtual interview – should ask about the process: will someone be there navigating the virtual interview, introducing each panel member, reminding folks to take breaks, or pause to listen, checking to make sure the technology is working properly etc. It is the most unstructured interview environment otherwise. Another question is, how many will be on the panel for the virtual meeting?  I once attended an academic panel interview virtually that I was dropped into from the “lobby” with 14 faces staring at me and they said “Well, in the interest of time, we will just get going, I am so and so and here’s my question.” By the 5th interviewer question, I was lost on the screen, had not had a chance to set my Zoom side to speaker view only, etc, and every time someone spoke, they shifted on the screen. As a hiring manager now, I would make sure everyone is ready, comfortable and relaxed and technologically set up for the interview first. If someone says you will be facing a 7 to 12 person panel online, consider carefully what that flow will feel like for you, and what you need as the interviewee. 

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?

My biggest problem with libraries hiring library staff is this presumption that every library is so different. They are not. Organizations all have their people, budget, facility and online pain points. Soft skills and innovative thinking, program planning, etc is all transferable. My advice here for librarians in particular is to stop talking about being relevant as a library, and start talking about the profession and it’s components – it is information technology (from relational database work to tech management to teaching IT skills), it is information classification, it is community development (which transfer to any library, special, academic or otherwise, stakeholder, community, it’s all interchangeable), it is program planning, budget management, engagement work, adult education, etc. Everyone thinks they know what a library worker does – they truly do not. 

When does your organization *first* mention salary information?

√ We only discuss after we’ve made an offer 

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

This is something that needs serious addressing and as a hiring manager, I have been advocating for changes in this area, including naming the biases when I see them. This is serious work and it requires more than just a policy to change it and personally, I do not think my organization can even see it’s extensive hiring biases. What I see happening in Canadian library job markets is this: Library headhunters, especially those tasked by boards to hire at the highest levels of college, university and public libraries in Canada particularly continue to do a terrible job of seeking out diverse candidates. Of late, in Western Canada, many libraries are installing men almost routinely into the highest roles, including men without even a library background or the ALA degree – and male librarians have never been held back from leading in libraries in the first place. For example, in 2021, Calgary Public Library hired it’s first woman librarian CEO in its 109 year tenure  – that screams bias that it took so long and sadly, I see that bias against woman leadership in libraries continuing without any critique into 2022.  I can safely say that no woman has run a library in my province without all the required qualifications and then some. We hold men and women and people from diverse backgrounds to different standards for performance and it needs to stop. 

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

Candidates may want to ask a question to assess their own fit to the organization. For example, the candidate might say “In the past, I’ve enjoyed working in collaborative teams where ideas are respected and methods to act upon ideas are in place, how do you promote collaboration, respect and new ideas and innovation in your organization?” 

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Canada

What’s your region like?

√ Rural

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Some of the time and/or in some positions

How many staff members are at your organization?

√ Other: 7000 (special library inside larger organization)

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

I applaud this survey. I am wholeheartedly disheartened as a Canadian librarian that in my 20 years of library work, the strong guard of female and diverse mentors is reverting back to the traditional male library leader with a stay at home wife or not kids. It’s troubling in a way I cannot even express and I do believe hiring firms contracted by library boards or academic institutions are truly doing a terrible job and have no idea about the issues in feminized professions and continue to have processes that favour men, mostly white men, but generally men.  

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, 200+ staff members, Canada, Rural area, Special

You could accidentally have a pet arrive in your interview, which will always be a bonus for me

Headshot of Ben Van Gorp

Ben Van Gorp still feels like a fairly new Librarian, but has spent the last 4 years on various hiring panels and committees for his suburban/rural public library system. Currently a Manager, IT & Digital Experience his portfolio includes managing early career librarians through his library’s internship programs and ideally transitioning them to full-time and meaningful work in public libraries. 

Dad of two kids under three and two cats, he is a firm proponent of flexible work and supporting those early in their careers to improve our profession.

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

A hiring manager creates and sends posting for approval and selects a second management/admin to sit on interviews. The hiring manager vets resumes alongside the second manager/admin and selects candidates to interview. Interview guide created/updated by hiring manager and collaboratively approved by second. Several questions sent to candidates in advance. Interview questions scored, alongside items like fit. Once the first choice for the position is selected, references are requested, then assuming no issues arise an offer letter is given.

Titles hired include: Library intern, IT Intern, Digital Literacy Specialist,

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ Library Administration

√ A Committee or panel

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

√ Cover letter

√ Resume

√ References

√ Other: Program outlines/pitch

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No

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

Cover letters and CVs are good to get in the door, and efforts to research what the library is doing, adding some design elements (especially if the position involves marketing), are also good, but I think the most impressive candidates wow with their prep. They know their good examples from their work history and don’t overuse them. They have their plan going in and the confidence is visible. This is particularly evident during things like program pitches where even a bit of extra research can elevate your work. Similarly, asking follow up questions, or even asking questions in advance, show you are interested in learning whether the position makes sense for you. If you are happy with the role, you are more likely to perform the role better for us.  

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Lack of awareness of what the position entails, particularly if connected to the phrase “oh I’m not really interested in that.” Lack of experience in an area isn’t always a problem especially if there is a willingness to learn, but an off handed dismissal is usually a red flag.

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

Possibly career expectations in more of a long term view. Sometimes a job is a stepping stone or a way to pay the bills and that is perfectly valid, but knowing if say a person wants to eventually be an admin, or a community librarian, or a collections manager can really give me a better idea of what they identify as interests. Knowing their long term interests match our interests in the position is a huge plus.

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?

Being afraid to ask clarifying questions or making clarifying statements. I do not expect every manager to have the same priorities as I do, and clarifying questions can sometimes provide insight into what the committee is looking for. As an example, I personally think expecting policy knowledge from applicants is unrealistic, but I’ve been on hiring committees where referring to policy was scored much higher. Candidates who asked about policies in place fared better in these cases, because they were showing a deeper interest in the question. It also has the benefit of giving you time to respond and ensure you are responding to the question in your best way.

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

We do, and I will always support it as well. However, you are missing out on in person body language, so clarity and amped up responses are sometimes required. Also you have to be comfortable and confident in asking clarifying questions, as connections fail, lag happens, and your hiring committee may have as bad a connection as we do in rural Ontario. Personally I don’t think cameras are absolutely required, but being on camera does help with communicating. Also it means you could accidentally have a pet arrive in your interview, which will always be a bonus for me as an interviewer.

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?

Disclaimer: I have not been on a hiring committee for a manager level or Librarian level position, so I will be answering for people relying on non-library work. 

I am process driven, so showing areas where processes were improved will always be valuable experience in my mind. Particularly for my system, demonstrations of initiative, like a successful idea pitch are always good experiences. Finally, for people entering public libraries any customer experience is valuable experience. More important to me is having an awareness of the duties of the chosen role and then connecting your work history. Best advice is to reach out, using mentoring programs or resources like alimb.ca to get a better idea of the expectations for this kind of position outside of just divining from the posting.

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 are a smaller library system, so there are many areas for improvement. Our biggest development here is providing some questions in advance. This really helps remove nerves and lets people plan and prepare their best response, and I will continue to push for all questions to be sent to prospective candidates. We also do rely on  seconds vet resumes with the hiring manager and having seconds score with the manager to ensure different viewpoints, but I am fully aware that still allows for institutional biases. That said, we are showing improvement in this area in the past 5 years, and hopefully we will soon see anonymizing and randomizing of candidate information. 

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

Day in the life questions are always good, as are favourite parts of the system or library, but asking about library initiatives and plans tend to be the most productive. Most of my hiring is in programming roles, so asking about upcoming programs and initiatives not only lets us brag (we do all love to brag), but gives you a window into our priorities.

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Canada

What’s your region like?

√ Suburban

√ Rural

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Some of the time and/or in some positions

How many staff members are at your organization?

√ 11-50

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

In Canada the library world is small, so making connections, even cold emails using resources like alimb.ca are incredibly valuable. More often than not people will go out of their way to support/promote you, and having your name being recognized as someone seriously looking at roles in your system will always give you a leg up.

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, 10-50 staff members, Canada, Public, Rural area, Suburban area

I prefer to work with some of the newest and latest technology available

HUNTING TRIPThis anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field), has been hired within More than 18 months. This person is looking in Academic libraries, Archives, Library vendors/service providers, Public libraries, and Special libraries, at the following level: Entry level. This new grad/entry level applicant has internship/volunteering experience

I completed a research internship doing psychological research for 4 months. I spent 4 years doing toastmasters. I founded and was president of a group that did mental health promotion and created scholarships for people with mental illness. I did job shadowing in an emergency department for 4 months. I spent 3 years doing campus late night escort and crime watch volunteering. I taught science to elementary students for 4 months. I volunteered at an art gallery for 3 years.

This job hunter is in an urban area, in the  Canada and is willing to move anywhere.

What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?

I have five, and don’t think I can really summarize it in 3.

1) Challenging/Fulfilling work environment – I get bored very easily and need to work in a job where I’m constantly challenged, engaged, presented with new tasks, and given the ability to evolve. I don’t like easy work, sounds weird, but boredom is the death of me, as is sitting around doing nothing. It would also be a positive if there is time allocated for professional development.

2) Facilities/degree of development of facilities – I prefer to work with some of the newest and latest technology available. This preference goes hand in hand with my desire for challenging and fulfilling work. I always am reading or interested in learning about new developments, and think the job should be just as much a place to engage with new developments and technology as reading about them in an academic journal. I don’t like to work in antiquated facilities.

3) People – I really need to work with people who are friendly, enthusiastic, and for lack of a better word, really top of the line at what they do. I find people who are pessimistic, don’t try at their job, or who aren’t engaged in their profession to be very frustrating. These sort of people create a culture where “getting paid to do as little as possible is revered, which I think is often grounded in the perception that what you get out of a job is completely commensurate with the proportion of work you have to do per dollar you own. I may be biased in a way, but I do not like laziness, nor do I like it when people are doing something they are uninterested in, or dislike. I am not judging these type of people, but it’s contrary to my personality and to the atmosphere I feel most comfortable with in a job setting. For that reason, I find it preferable to work with enthusiastic, friendly people.

4) Travel – I like to travel, very simply. I would prefer a job where I wouldn’t have to come to the same place every day for the whole year. This includes going to meetings, going to presentation, professional development within a city, but getting to work in a dynamic environment. Basically, I like variety.

5) Money and benefits – Very straight forward.

Where do you look for open positions?

I tend to look for jobs via group LinkedIn groups or job postings. I’ve also gone to my alma mater’s job postings on their online career services. I tend to visit government websites as well, as they generally hire for a wide variety of skills, and I’m usually qualified for a subset of those jobs. The government of Canada is another great resource. For some positions, I ask friends directly about positions in their industry. I’ll often go to professional networking events as well, including local business and young professionals networking dinners. I also enjoy going to toastmasters, as you get a chance to showcase, personally and in an intimate setting, your skills. In addition you get to personally know potential employers or partners, or investors in a personal business.

Do you expect to see salary range listed in a job ad?

√ Other: Yes, creates transparency, and lays out employer and employee expectations, so as not to effect other aspects of the hiring process.

What’s your routine for preparing an application packet? How much time do you spend on it?

When I apply for a new job, I usually spend some time reading the companies website. Some of the things I look for are what projects the company is engaged in, the various locations the company may be operating in as I’m interested in travel or working in different locations. Another important thing I do is to get different views of the company by reading some web sites of the companies subsidiaries or alternative websites geared to a different population (business partners rather than the general public.)

Have you ever stretched the truth, exaggerated, or lied on your resume, or at some other point during the hiring process?

√ Yes

When would you like employers to contact you?

√ To acknowledge my application
√ To tell me if I have or have not been selected to move on to the interview stage
√ To follow-up after an interview
√ Once the position has been filled, even if it’s not me

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Email

Which events during the interview/visit are most important to your assessment of the position (i.e. deciding if you want the job)?

√ Tour of facility
√ Being taken out to meal
√ Meeting department members/potential co-workers
√ Meeting with HR to talk about benefits/salary
√ Being able to present

What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?

Post in depth descriptions of what they are looking for. I find many job postings are far too vague; many people possess similar or tangental skills but may have a slightly different degree or background. This lack of detail makes it difficult for people to know whether to apply or not, and what experiences they should include in their cover letter. It also makes the companies endeavors more vague, as it is far easier to extrapolate company culture. From detailed job responsibilities, skill requirements, etc. While at times, difficult, it would be nice to have employee accounts of company culture, or to have a couple of employees to talk to before an interview. Clearly stating on the application website that this is standard may increase the sense of trust, and certainty of correct fit for potential applicants.

What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?

Transparency is absolutely the biggest thing. Clear job expectations, and additional skills or training required to perform the job and any further responsibilities that may arise in the shorter term trajectory of a tenure with the company.

The preferable geographic locations of the work, and if there is any flexibility both in terms of geographic location as well as directly related to the workplace, things like ability to work from home, teleconferencing, the amount of travel required. This information may be helpful for a number of reasons; for example, if you are able to work from home, you may be able to do another job, as long as it doesn’t conflict with your work performance with the job you are applying for.

An understanding of the hiring process, even superficially explained, would be nice, in order to understand the process and to make appropriate decision in relation to our knowledge of how the process is playing out in our own individual situation. This is helpful for many reasons: planning personal events during the hiring process or whether to continue other work during the process.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Putting an effort in to really understand the company. Many of the behaviors and research into knowing whether a company is right for you, in terms of logistics, financial remuneration, work/life balance, company culture, nature of the work, etc. If you put in a great deal of effort to attain this information you will not only do a favor to yourself by making sure you find a job that is the right fit for you, but you will also show potential employers that you are interested and enthusiastic about their company. While skill is certainly an advantage in any situation, life is all about adapting and continually learning. One of the best attributes in my mind is an employee who is able to continually learn, put in the effort to stay at the top of their discipline. Many of these characteristics lead to a multi-disciplinary skill set that can be adapted to many different positions, and remain a valuable asset adapting to the changing requirements for the position they are initially hired for.

If you put this effort in, it is often flagrantly obvious to potential employers. The level of detail in the cover letter, the tailored CV which not only outlines strengths critical for the position and company at hand, but discusses many of the roles of the company, in terms of the roles and responsibilities, in addition to addressing, as I said earlier, how they fit those responsibilities. Finally, by attaining a depth of knowledge about the company before applying, you will, in your cover letter and CV, as I mentioned earlier, will be able to put the direct work responsibilities and your suitability for them in the context of the greater company picture. This shows ambition, and a keenness to adapt to a number of roles in the company, as well as work with people in other departments, divisions, and other members of a team which may have different skills.

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

Are you hunting for a new LIS job? Take the survey! http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibJOBHUNTERsurvey

This survey was co-authored by Naomi House from I Need A Library Job – Do you need one?  Check it out!

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Filed under Academic, Archives, Canada, Job hunter's survey

we’ve been hiring junior positions, so we don’t interview people who graduated more than 2-3 years ago.

Market scene. Women and men. 1922 2This 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:

web/UX, preservation, cataloguers, project managers, client services

This librarian works at a library with 10-50  staff members in an urban area in the Canada.

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

√ 75-100

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 51-75 %

And how would you define “hirable”?

Their cover letter suggested their were competent and ready to learn.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

Committee members each make a top ten list, then we interview the common names across lists. If a committee member feels very strongly about a candidate who isn’t on many lists, we usually interview them as well.

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

Cover letter is sloppily done, or not tailored to the position. Lately we’ve been hiring junior positions, so we don’t interview people who graduated more than 2-3 years ago.

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

√ Other: if they ask, which is rare

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

You don’t have to have every single qualification, you just need to explain how you’d get there. Once you’re in the interview, be honest about what you don’t know and how you’d figure it out— this looks 100 times better than when someone pretends to know everything but can’t actually answer in any depth.

I want to hire someone who is

smart

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 10-50

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

√ 2

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

√ 2

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

√ There are more positions

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

√ No

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

√ No

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

Some experience that the candidate can demonstrate the relevance of — but this experience is not necessarily closely related to the job.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

We’re very, very busy and always looking to expand.

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 10-50 staff members, Academic, Canada, State of the Job Market 2015, Urban area

We have limited time to conduct interviews, so we usually choose the top three candidates

Vegetable and flower seller and stall, Pike Place Market, Seattle, WashingtonThis anonymous interview is with a 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:

Children’s librarians and library technicians

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in an urban area in Canada .

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”?

Met the basic requirements of the job description.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

Two or more librarians usually form a hiring committee.

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

Not have the basic requirements (education). We have limited time to conduct interviews, so we usually choose the top three candidates (based on to what extent they meet other criteria we have set out like years of experience, relevant experience, interests relating to the job).

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

√ Yes

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

Keep the cover letter under one page, in a normal sized font.

I want to hire someone who is

awesome

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 10-50

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

√ 2

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

√ 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 more positions

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

√ No

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

√ No

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

We usually ask for 1-2 years experience for entry level positions, but have often hired candidates with less experience or directly out of school.

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 10-50 staff members, Canada, Public, State of the Job Market 2015, Urban area

Print the application, think about it for a few days, apply at last minute (sad, but true).

Hunting party, probably Christchurch district, [ca 1915]This anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field), has not been hired within the last two months, and has been looking for a new position for More than 18 months. This person is looking in Academic libraries, Archives, Public libraries and Special libraries, at the following levels: Entry level, Requiring at least two years of experience. This new grad/entry level applicant has internship/volunteering experience:

Interned at a museum library doing archives for 5 months
Volunteered at a museum library as a librarian for 2 years

This job hunter is in an urban area in the Canada and is not willing to move anywhere.

What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?

Supportive manager;
Ability to grow in a position/place of employment;
Benefits

Where do you look for open positions?

Local university’s LIS job site;
INALJ
National Library Association job board

Do you expect to see salary range listed in a job ad?

√ No (even if I might think it *should* be)

What’s your routine for preparing an application packet? How much time do you spend on it?

Print the application, think about it for a few days, apply at last minute (sad, but true).

Have you ever stretched the truth, exaggerated, or lied on your resume, or at some other point during the hiring process?

√ No

When would you like employers to contact you?

√ To tell me if I have or have not been selected to move on to the interview stage
√ Once the position has been filled, even if it’s not me

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Phone for good news, email for bad news

Which events during the interview/visit are most important to your assessment of the position (i.e. deciding if you want the job)?

√ Meeting department members/potential co-workers

What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?

I don’t know about applying, but when considering resumes look at applicants that have a diverse background/work experience. I think a lot of libraries miss out on hiring excellent people because they haven’t done the same exact job since high school.

What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?

Don’t ask multi-part questions all at once. This recently happened to me in an interview. As a person who also conducts hiring interviews I consider this a no-no. Ask one question at a time. This allows for careful consideration of all the questions asked.
Also, employers shouldn’t leave candidates in the dark after interviewing. If they didn’t get the job let them know by email or mail. It’s considerate.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Knowing the right people.

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

Are you hunting for a new LIS job? Take the survey! http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibJOBHUNTERsurvey

This survey was co-authored by Naomi House from I Need A Library Job – Do you need one?  Check it out!

Leave a comment

Filed under Academic, Archives, Canada, Job hunter's survey, Public, Special, Urban area

I’m primarily looking for jobs on the East Coast, and it’s not going very well

The Young People's Librarian, 1938 This anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field), has not been hired within the last two months, and has been looking for a new position for Less than six months. This person is looking in Academic libraries,  Archives, at the following levels: Entry level, Requiring at least two years of experience. This new grad/entry level applicant has internship/volunteering experience:

I’ve worked in an academic library for almost 2 years, so I’m on the cusp of being entry-level, but right after I graduated, I had a 4-month (paid) internship that was funded by Young Canada Works in Heritage Organizations. It was a really wonderful experience and I encourage other Canadian LIS/archives students to take look at those postings.

This job hunter is in an urban area, in Canada, and is willing to move anywhere.

What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?

-an institution that is located in a city
-a position where I’ll get to do a variety of work
-a supportive organizational culture where I get to learn from my colleagues

Where do you look for open positions?

iSchool job sites, INALG, professional listservs, Archives Gig

Do you expect to see salary range listed in a job ad?

√ Only for certain kinds of employers

What’s your routine for preparing an application packet? How much time do you spend on it?

I’ve saved every job application I’ve ever written, so I go and find a previous application that is the most similar to the one I’m currently applying for, and I use that cover letter as a template. However, I always end up re-writing the whole thing because I want to use the same language and structure as the job posting. And I tweak my CV a little bit depending on the posting. About 2 hours in total.

Have you ever stretched the truth, exaggerated, or lied on your resume, or at some other point during the hiring process?

√ Yes

When would you like employers to contact you?

√ To acknowledge my application
√ To tell me if I have or have not been selected to move on to the interview stage
√ To follow-up after an interview
√ Once the position has been filled, even if it’s not me

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Email

Which events during the interview/visit are most important to your assessment of the position (i.e. deciding if you want the job)?

√ Meeting department members/potential co-workers

What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?

Is this really an issue? I don’t feel like there is ever a dearth of qualified and over-qualified folks looking for and applying for library jobs anywhere.

What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?

Communicate more clearly, and let people know what the timeline for the selection process will look like. I recently had an interview with a library, and a couple of weeks afterwards they announced the person who got the position on twitter, and then a couple of weeks after that they emailed me to tell me that I hadn’t be selected for the job. That was very rude.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Establishing yourself and making connections in the community where you’d like to work. I’m on the West Coast, but I’m primarily looking for jobs on the East Coast, and it’s not going very well. I’ve met tonnes of people and made lots of connections in the west, but it’s not ultimately going to to serve me very well if I want to move.

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

Are you hunting for a new LIS job? Take the survey! http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibJOBHUNTERsurvey

This survey was co-authored by Naomi House from I Need A Library Job – Do you need one?  Check it out!

Leave a comment

Filed under Academic, Archives, Canada, Job hunter's survey, Urban area