Category Archives: Southeastern US

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

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

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Public Library 

Title: Youth Services Manager

Titles hired include: Youth assistant, youth specialist 

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

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

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

√ Cover letter

√ Resume

√ References 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No 

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

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

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

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

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

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

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

What inspires them 

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Only One!  

Resume: √ Two is ok, but no more 

CV: √ We don’t ask for this  

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

Talking too much

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

No

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

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

When does your organization *first* mention salary information?

√ It’s part of the job ad

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

N/A

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

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

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Southeastern US 

What’s your region like?

√ Suburban 

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

 √ Never or not anymore 

How many staff members are at your organization?

√ 11-50 

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

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

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

we don’t have any questions that talk about working with children although we encounter children throughout the library.

Librarians standing behind a shelf in the Reference Collection at Metropolitan State University, on September 4, 2009.
Librarians 2009 (1). By Flickr user Library and Information Services Metropolitan State University

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Public Library 

Title: Assistant Manager

Titles hired include: Youth Services Assistants (PT and FT), Adult Services Assistants (PT and FT), Circulation Assistants (PT and FT), Evening/Weekend Supervisor, Central Librarian

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ HR

√ Library Administration

√ The position’s supervisor

√ A Committee or panel 

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

√ Online application

√ Cover letter

√ Resume 

√ References 

√ More than one round of interviews 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ Yes 

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

Applicants apply online. It is screened by the HR manager and then sent to the hiring managers (my manager and me). We review applications and schedule phone interviews. We select the top 3 candidates and invite them for in person interviews. If necessary, we will conduct a second in person interview. 

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

Knowledge of library practices was a huge plus. Answered questions in a clear and understandable manner. Asked questions.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

When candidates do not understand how a public library operates. 

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

We are limited to a pool of questions that we can ask from. Sometimes these questions aren’t the best for the positions. For example, we don’t have any questions that talk about working with children although we encounter children throughout the library. 

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?

Focusing only on one aspect of the job.

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

We conduct phone interviews. It helps if they are clear and concise with their answers. Also make sure there is good services/WiFi. 

When does your organization *first* mention salary information?

√ It’s part of the job ad  

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

I believe it should be relevant to the position they apply for. It should change per person/position. 

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Southeastern US 

What’s your region like?

√ Urban 

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Never or not anymore 

How many staff members are at your organization?

√ 101-200 

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Filed under 1 A Return to Hiring Librarians Survey, Public, Southeastern US, Urban area

It’s students. If they have work study and can read, they’re eligible for hiring

Manzanar Relocation Center, Manzanar, California. A barrack building has been turned into a library… National Archives

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Academic Library 

Title: Circulation Supervisor 

Titles hired include: Circulation & Reference Desk Student Worker

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ The position’s supervisor 

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

√ Other: Apply in person

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No 

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

If we have an opening, I choose students who are available to work the hours I need filled

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

I had a student who was the only one in her class who showed up for in library study. I liked her honesty and approached her and asked if she wanted a job 

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Attitude and being underdressed 

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

If they can count money and knows how to think independently 

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Only One!  

Resume:  √ Only One!  

CV: √ We don’t ask for this 

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

Talking too much

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

No

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

N/A

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?

It’s students. If they have work study and can read, they’re eligible for hiring 

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

What can get them fired 

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Southeastern US 

What’s your region like?

√ Suburban 

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Never or not anymore 

How many staff members are at your organization?

√ 0-10  

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Filed under 0-10 staff members, 1 A Return to Hiring Librarians Survey, Academic, Southeastern US, Suburban area

Applicants frequently oversell or undersell technical skills

a group of librarians pose under a Reference & Research assistance sign
Relaxed librarians. Photo by Flickr user Library and Information Services Metropolitan State University

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Public Library 

Title: Branch Manager

Titles hired include: Regional managers, records managers, literacy coordinators, dept. heads, evening-weekend shift supervisors, entry-level staff

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ A Committee or panel 

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

√ Online application 

√ Supplemental Questions

√ Oral Exam/Structured interview 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ Yes 

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

Applicants are screened by application software; HR compiles ranked lists of applicants,; hiring committee selects interviewees from ranked list; hiring committee interviews, scores, and selects candidate; HR reviews and vets; job offer is extended by direct supervisor. My role extends from selecting interviewees to job offer.   

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

Immensely thoughtful and knowledgeable response to customer service questions. 

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Unprofessional behavior in the interview.  

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

How well is technical experience reflected in the application and interview; applicants frequently oversell or undersell technical skills.

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?

Rambling answers that don’t address our questions are common.

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

N/A

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?

Be knowledgeable about the work you’re applying for and show me how your prior experience fits that 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’ve changed aspects of screening and ranking, as well the structured interviews we use. Discrimination still exists primarily in the educational disparities in our community, and nation.    

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

Applicants should ask more questions about what their working days will look like, and about what it’s like to serve the whole public, not just folks like themselves. 

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 

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

None

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

Anything that isn’t generic, something they want to know about this particular job.

Interior of the Aguilar Library, Ave C, ca. 1901. NYPL Digital Collections

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Academic Library 

Title: Curator

Titles hired include: University Archivist, Head of Processing, 1st Year Success Librarian

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ The position’s supervisor

√ A Committee or panel 

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

√ Online application

√ Cover letter

√ Resume

√ CV

√ References

√ Proof of degree 

√ Demonstration (teaching, storytime, etc)

√ More than one round of interviews 

√ A meal with hiring personnel 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No  

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Cover letters that aren’t targeted to the job qualifications. How many pages should each of these documents be?

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

Resume: √ Two is ok, but no more 

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

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

Talk about what they did that was exceptional and related to job description. Don’t make the committee guess whether a certain job experience was relevant. 

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?

EEOO training. Avoid asking questions where candidates might reveal protected categories. 

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

Anything that isn’t generic, something they want to know about this particular job. 

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Southeastern US 

What’s your region like?

√ Suburban 

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Never or not anymore 

How many staff members are at your organization?

√ 201+ 

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

Please write a targeted cover letter. If I’m hiring for skill/experience A, it doesn’t matter how good you are at skill/experience B. It’s okay to tell me how your expertise in B will enhance your ability to do A but don’t ignore the fact that we want to know if they can do A. 

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Filed under 1 A Return to Hiring Librarians Survey, 200+ staff members, Academic, Southeastern US, Suburban area

For us, it’s not showing ambition

Paul Brockett, Librarian, Smithsonian Nat’l Academy of Science, 7/19. Loc.gov

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Archives 

Title: Archives assistant 

Titles hired include: Graduate research assistants and interns, but we did just hire a third full time person

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ The position’s supervisor

√ Other: Director

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

√ Online application

√ Cover letter

√ Resume

√ References 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No 

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

They apply and we go through the resumes, once we go through the resumes the director will call them in for an interview and we interview them

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

They had a lot of good experience and a great personality 

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

The biggest thing for us is qualifications and personality. They have to be able to work with the public as well as being able to work on collections

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?

For us, it’s not showing ambition  

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

We have not 

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?

√ Southeastern US 

What’s your region like?

√ Suburban 

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Never or not anymore 

How many staff members are at your organization?

√ 0-10 

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Filed under 0-10 staff members, 1 A Return to Hiring Librarians Survey, Archives, Southeastern US, Suburban area

How many hours a day they spend on social media or on the telephone with friends instead of doing the work.

Annual Archivist Awards. Sam Anthony (left). National Archives.

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Academic Library

√ Archives 

Title: Archivist

Titles hired include: Archives technician, Librarians

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ HR

√ Library Administration

√ A Committee or panel 

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

√ Online application

√ Cover letter

√ Resume

√ CV

√ References

√ Proof of degree

√ Oral Exam/Structured interview

√ Demonstration (teaching, storytime, etc)

√ More than one round of interviews

√ A whole day of interviews

√ A meal with hiring personnel

√ Other: Zoom Interview

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No 

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

For archives positions I write the job description. I am lead on interviewing. I can choose the best candidate but must make a good case.

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

They were articulate

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Not having the skills asked for in the job description. Talking about how the job would benefit them, not what skills they would bring to help the institution.

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

How many hours a day they spend on social media or on the telephone with friends instead of doing the work.

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Two is ok, but no more

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

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

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

It varies

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

Being comfortable on camera is hard.

Be sure to pick your background appropriately. Sound matters.

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?

From para to professional is hard. Moving institutions is probably the only way to do it. Former co-workers may never accept the change.

All experience is relevant. But there are so many candidates so employers can be picky.

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?

Very little is done to reduce bias. I would suggest training.

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

I think trying to understand the personalities of the people the candidate would work with, and making sure they would like to work with those people. Anything can be done for a year, but long term is hard.

Look at the culture of the organization.

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Southeastern US

What’s your region like?

√ Other: Small town in rural area but less than 45 minutes to a city

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Never or not anymore

How many staff members are at your organization?

√ 0-10

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Filed under 0-10 staff members, 1 A Return to Hiring Librarians Survey, Academic, Archives, Rural area, Southeastern US

Don’t expect the search committee members to carry the conversation.

LIBRARIANS WITH TERMINALS OF THE LOCKHEED DIALOG – NASA / RECON – DOE RECON USERS. National Archives.

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Academic Library 

Title: Head of Research

Titles hired include: Research librarian; oral historian; circulation assistant

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ Other: The Dean makes the final decision but the search committee provides a report and everyone in the library provides feedback.

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

√ Cover letter

√ CV

√ References

√ Supplemental Questions

√ 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 faculty: served on search committee (SC), often chairing it.  SC evaluates all candidates’ materials using a rubric developed from the job ad. Top scores are invited for Zoom interviews. Three are invited for on-campus interviews. All day interview includes dinner the night before, presentation to the entire library, meetings with the supervisor, home department, and a community member related to the candidate’s interest (this is for the candidate’s benefit and not shared with the hiring committee). References checked. Dean consults with SC, reviews feedback from others in the library, and makes an offer.

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

Made it very clear why they wanted *this job* at *this university*.  

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Rudeness to the administrative assistant who coordinates the search.  Generic cover letters which do not address the job ad, or spend a lot of time talking about items not related to the job description/ad. (Example: “I’m applying for the reference librarian position. Here’s why I love archives with much details)

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

Can’t think of anything

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Two is ok, but no more 

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

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

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

For in-person: be ready to make lots of small talk. Don’t expect the search committee members to carry the conversation.

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

Yes.  Test your setting to make sure the lighting is adequate, that your background is not distracting, that your Internet connection is strong and reliable, and that you  audio is clear.

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?

Write a compelling cover letter that explains how the experience transfers to the needed job skills.  One of the best letters I read was from someone who explained how bartending prepared them to work a public service desk.

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?

Everyone has to complete online training; we follow ‘best practices’ in the literature including having a sensitivity audit of job ad wording, using a rubric and common questions, giving questions in advance to candidates. Our uni is currently employing a search advocate firm which is intended to help us improve further.

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

Interviewing goes both ways, so candidates should think about what their priorities are in a workplace. Flexible schedule? Ability to choose your own projects? Support for professional development?  

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Southeastern 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?

√ 51-100 

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Filed under 1 A Return to Hiring Librarians Survey, 50-100 staff members, Academic, Southeastern US, Suburban area

If a candidate is unfamiliar with the type of work done in a library, ask!

Captain (CPT) Robert Campbell and Brigadier General (BGEN) Gene Deegan, director, Education Center, assist the head librarian during the ribbon cutting ceremony celebrating the opening of the rare book reading room at Breckinridge Library, Command and Staff College. National Archives

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Academic Library 

Title: Collections Manager

Titles hired include: Gallery Monitor, Student worker

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ Library Administration

√ The position’s supervisor 

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

√ Online application

√ Resume 

√ Oral Exam/Structured interview 

√ A whole day of interviews 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No 

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

We submit a requisition to HR, noting that this position is specifically for student workers. They post it on our website, and all applications come directly to the position supervisor, who arranges interviews and hires candidates.

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

They were outgoing, and didn’t hesitate to look me in the eyes. They were clearly nervous, but not enough to throw them off. They readily answered questions and displayed interpersonal skills, making small jokes and smiling a lot.

What are your instant dealbreakers?

Not displaying skills- whether it’s on your resume or in the interview, if you can’t tell me why you’d be a good addition, it’s not going to work out.

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

Their work ethic.

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: √ Two is ok, but no more 

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

Being too nervous to look me in the eye. Answering a question too quickly without thinking a little more.

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

Pick the right background! Don’t be in bed, and present yourself as if you were at an in-person interview. Check everything on your computer beforehand- sound, video, background, lighting.

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

If a candidate is unfamiliar with the type of work done in a library, ask! For example, if the candidate previously did typical office work, I would want to know that they’re familiar with multi-line phones and learning a particular organizational system. So if the candidate asks what a typical day is like at my library, I would throw out a few basic tasks. Then they could demonstrate their skills in those areas.

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?

Unfortunately, we are incredibly behind in that process.

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

I want a candidate to ask deep details about the job- upcoming projects, how they can succeed in this role. I want us to talk about their personality and goals, and make sure a potential hire is a good fit. A candidate should ask not just about the job itself, but the culture, the hours, the pay.

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Southeastern US 

What’s your region like?

√ Urban 

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Never or not anymore 

How many staff members are at your organization?

√ 0-10 

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 0-10 staff members, 1 A Return to Hiring Librarians Survey, Academic, Southeastern US, Urban area

If they speak differently, or better, to me once they figure out I’m the Director, I won’t hire them.

Donald Fowle, librarian in the Billy Rose Theatre Division of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. NYPL Digital Collections

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Public Library 

Title: Director

Titles hired include: Reference Librarian, Branch Manager, Deputy Director, Finance Manager, Children’s Specialist, Marketing Coordinator, Archives Assistant, Young Adult Specialist, Administrative Librarian, Community Engagement Coordinator

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: for leadership positions we include at least one staff member who would report directly to them

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

√ Online application

√ Cover letter

√ Resume

√ References

√ A whole day of interviews

√ A meal with hiring personnel

√ Other: Librarian License for applicable positions

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No 

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

All applications are received by our Office Manager. She screens for clearly not meeting qualifications. Those that make it through that phase go to our Deputy Director. He screens for skillset and coordinates the panel. The panel is led by the senior librarian in the channel being hired for, a supervisor or peer for the position being hired, and a member of our diversity committee. The Office Manager arranges for the interviews. Once the interviews are complete, the Office Manager coordinates the background checks and drug tests. For senior level positions – meaning the Administrative team – those come to me directly. Those interviews are typically 3 rounds. They include a telephone interview, a meet and greet with the departments they will support and a formal panel interview. I hold all hiring responsibilities as delegated by our library board. I almost always follow the recommendations of my team. I can only remember one time that I vetoed a decision.

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

They were familiar with our organization and shared how they would fit in it.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

As the director, I most frequently will be the one to greet applicants at the door. Most of the time, they think I’m my Office Manager. If they speak differently, or better, to me once they figure out I’m the Director, I won’t hire them. Equity and the value of every patron is one of our core values. I need to know they will live that out without someone watching. ** I forgot another one. I’m a female. My Deputy Director is a male. If a candidate only speaks to him and refuses to address me, it makes it clear that my leadership won’t be recognized.

Is there anything you wish you could know about candidates that isn’t generally revealed in the hiring process?

No.

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Two is ok, but no more  

Resume: √ Two is ok, but no more  

CV: √ We don’t ask for this 

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

No knowledge at all about who we are or what we do. Asking me questions that you can find on the website such as our hours or locations demonstrates lack of initiative.

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

Yes. Learn the technology. Everyone has rough days or technology challenges so we have grace for that. But if you are applying for a technology librarian, you should be able to share your screen in a common platform.

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?

Our organization focuses on excellent services as a part of our mission. Being able to demonstrate customer or public service makes every applicant stand out. I wish that parents who have taken a break from work would better understand their value. I know this isn’t the same as the question but I find that parents tend to undervalue their experiences at the interview table. 

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 have a diversity committee that has reviewed our interview question bank. We have a member of the committee on each panel. We have recently started clearly defining the necessary skills prior to the interview to make sure that we are all evaluating the same thing. We have also experimented with a focus on numerical evaluation though that had its own challenges.

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

I like being asked what our priorities are for the early months. I like questions about the culture of the organization because it shows that the applicant understands the value of a healthy workplace.

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Southeastern US 

What’s your region like?

√ Other: We are a large regional system made up of urban and rural areas.

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Other: Only during COVID quarantines.

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, Public, Rural area, Southeastern US, Urban area