Category Archives: Suburban area

We wouldn’t be interviewing them if we didn’t think they could do the job.

Helsinki School of Economics, library. Photo by Flickr user Aalto University Commons

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Public Library 

Title: Supervisor: Adult & Teen Services

Titles hired include: Librarian, Library Associate 

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 

√ References

√ Proof of degree 

√ Demonstration (teaching, storytime, etc) 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ Yes 

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

HR sends me and the interviewing committee (IC) all application packets. IC makes suggestions, but the decisions on who to interview ultimately rest with the department supervisor. After interviews, the interviews are scored, references are called, IC again converses about who to hire, but the decision ultimately rests with Supervisor. 

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

Their genuine enthusiasm. They asked questions about what we do and how they would fit into that. Asked if we would be open to trying new programs we haven’t tried before, and just generally were really excited about what we have to offer and how it would fit with what they have to offer. 

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Answering phones, interrupting, Saying they wouldn’t help find information they might find objectionable 

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?

Dial back their enthusiasm

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

We aren’t currently, but we have. I think that just letting their enthusiasm shine through is so important. They have the interview because we already are convinced of their qualifications. We wouldn’t be interviewing them if we didn’t think they could do the job.  

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?

Customer service, both internal and external, is the most important skill in this job. Be thoughtful about the answers to those questions. 

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?

I *think* the scoring of the interview might possibly do something for this, but I wonder if it really is biased toward folks with more privileged educational opportunities. 

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

What are we doing to help underserved populations in our communities? This is a thing I am always looking for. I wish they would ask what the job is like day-to-day. 

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Midwestern US 

What’s your region like?

√ Suburban 

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Never or not anymore 

How many staff members are at your organization?

√ 101-200 

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

We are currently using Teams.

Whitman County rural library branch librarians, circa 1965. Note: names read left to right front to back as subjects appear. Branch librarian and location as follows: Mrs. McKenzie, Almota; Mrs. Shields, Pine City; Mrs. Van Tine, Penewawa; Mrs. Wilbourn, Riparia; Mrs. Holway, Palouse; Mrs. Armstrong, LaCrosse; Mrs. Redman, Library board member; Mrs. Bradley, Elberton; Mrs. Warwick, Tekoa; Miss Bowles, Colfax; and Mr. Hughes, Winona. Names: McKenzie, _, Mrs.; Shields, _, Mrs.; Van Tine, _, Mrs.; Wilbourn, _, Mrs.; Holway, _, Mrs.; Armstrong, _, Mrs.; Redman, _, Mrs.; Bradley, _, Mrs.; Warwick, _, Mrs.; Bowles, _, Miss; Hughes, _, Mr.
Whitman County Rural Library branch librarians, Colfax, Washington, circa 1965. Whitman County Library, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Public Library  

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ Other: Panel recommendations are reviewed by Director 

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

√ Online application 

√ Proof of degree 

√ Oral Exam/Structured interview 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ Other: Combination.. application is reviewed by County HR for minimum qualifications

How many pages should each of these documents be?

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

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

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

Not speaking to the terms of the question, not looking at our public face… website and social media before interviewing 

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

We are currently using Teams. 

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?

Emphasize customer service experience and ability to learn and use software.

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?

√ Other: Mid Atlantic US

What’s your region like?

√ Other: Large County system serving a diverse County with urban , suburban and rural settings

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Some of the time and/or in some positions 

How many staff members are at your organization?

√ 201+  

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Filed under 1 A Return to Hiring Librarians Survey, 200+ staff members, Public, Rural area, Suburban area, Urban area

This makes me wonder what you’d say about me/my library in the future.

John J. Daley. Photo by Flickr user Archives of the Law Society of Ontario

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Public Library 

Title: Adult Services Librarian

Titles hired include: Adult Services Librarian, PT Library Technician, PT Library Technician II

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ The position’s supervisor

√ A Committee or panel

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

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

√ Online application 

√ References 

√ Demonstration (teaching, storytime, etc)

√ 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:

All of our applications are coordinated through governmentjobs.com. 

1) Initial screening: HR does the initial screening based on the requirements of the position and the application filled out via governmentjobs.com. 

2) Reviewing applications: All librarians have a log in to governmentjobs.com and we evaluate all applicants that passed HR’s initial screening. We then send our top 5 (give or take) applicants to our department head.

3) Department head selects the final list of applicants and schedules a phone interview.

If the job posting is for a PT person in the department, the Dept Head usually has one librarian with her doing the phone interviews and in-person interviews. If the posting is for a librarian-level position, she tries to have all librarians in the department available for phone and in-person interview.

4) After phone interview, hiring committee selects who they want for in-person/Zoom (if they don’t live within a reasonable distance)

5) After in-person interviews, the person is selected.

Our city HR department then takes over again to notify the selected candidate.

Whenever applicants call/visit the library to check in on their application status, we refer them to our City HR. The Library does not respond to these requests.

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

They took the time to look specifically at our library. They made mention of upcoming or recent programs, they read Library Board Minutes, when asked questions about ‘Why do you want to work here’ they had specific reasons for wanting to work at our library. It’s amazing the number of people we interview who I don’t think have even visited our library’s website to learn more about us.

Well thought out and detailed responses. We ask very basic questions relating to customer service and past experiences. Having specific examples is the best. Generic answers are not helpful.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Applicants who speak very negatively about their current or past employer. I understand there’s a reason you want to leave, but you can answer questions without basically trash talking about current/previous jobs. Also, this makes me wonder what you’d say about me/my library in the future.

Being overly negative in general. 

Not having any questions at the end.

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

Willingness to learn. Our staff is learning all the time…new resources that come out, staying updated with technology changes, it can be hard to tell if they will actually be comfortable with constantly learning.

If they will be responsive to our community. We don’t have any questions related to this, so this is our fault. But I want to know if a librarian coming in will be looking at our demographics, looking at our community needs assessment and really create programming and services for our specific communities, not just what they are interested in.

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?

Not having any questions at the end of the interview for the hiring committee. Not researching our library ahead of time if they have never visited.

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

Yes. A microphone that works well and a stable connection to the internet. It is difficult to shine with garbled sound.

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?

I already value other types of experience. I think that library staff and librarians should reflect the community and bring a variety of experiences to our library. I would highlight any experience you have working with difficult customers. How you are able to problem-solve. I can teach you how to use our library catalog and how to use our library equipment, it’s harder to teach people how to engage well with residents.

Also, are there any experiences in your personal life you can pull from, if you don’t think you have relevant professional experience? Do you manage budgets for your house? Do you coordinate family/friend outings and experiences? That shows me you can research different offerings, make decisions, and coordinate logistics. 

When does your organization *first* mention salary information?

√ It’s part of the job ad 

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

The city recently deleted applicants’ names and names of their colleges from applications so the hiring committee cannot be biased by names or reputation of the college.

My department prefers to hire staff that have previous library experience or students currently in library school and in my opinion, that greatly reduces the number of well-qualified applicants. I have tried to talk with coworkers and managers about that, but there’s only so much I can do when I am not the manager.

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

Ask me if there are any upcoming projects/programs/initiatives that were not in the job description but that this person would be responsible for or expected to be a part of.

Ask me what are the challenges working in this department and this library.

Ask me what advice I would give to the person coming in to this position.

Ask why this current position is vacant.

Ask about management styles.

Ask about the culture of our department. Is it more team-based or individual-based?

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Other: Texas 😛

What’s your region like?

√ Urban

√ Suburban 

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Never or not anymore 

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, Public, Suburban area, Urban area

Positive energy, evidence of commitment to diversity and inclusiveness, competent about programs and services.

Reader, Reading Room, Mitchell Building. By Flickr user State Library of New South Wales

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Public Library 

Title: Library Services Supervisor

Titles hired include: Librarian I-III, Library Assistant

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 

√ Resume 

√ References

√ Proof of degree 

√ Oral Exam/Structured interview

√ Demonstration (teaching, storytime, etc) 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No 

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

Review applications, select candidates for interviews, conduct interviews, rate candidates, make hiring decision, notify candidates.  

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

Positive energy, evidence of commitment to diversity and inclusiveness, competent about programs and services. Smile, eye contact. 

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Negativity or hostility. Disparaging colleagues, patrons, or negative comments about people with mental illness or experiencing homelessness. Blaming others in teamwork scenarios.  

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?

Not making any effort to research the organization or read and understand the job description.

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?

Evidence of professional development and training. Be able to communicate relevant experience in an interview setting, for instance, customer service in other settings is relevant in the library. Improving processes is, too. Developing programs in one setting may have similar components in planning, marketing, and implementation.

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?

What is a typical day like, what sorts of tasks would be involved, what is the schedule like, what is workplace culture. How does the position fit in the company organization chart. 

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Western 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 

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

Are you going to be dead weight for us to carry?

A photo by Ian Robertson of Dorothy Davies [left],the librarian at the Trenton Public Library. She is holding books and looking at a poster advertising Gilmour & Co. Lumbering Industries near the mouth of the Trent River in Trenton, Ontario.
HC03646. Photo by Flickr user Community Archives.

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Public Library 

Title: Division Manager

Titles hired include: Librarian I/II/II, Supervising Librarian, Library Assistant

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 

√ Supplemental Questions 

√ Oral Exam/Structured interview 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No 

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

Applications go to HR for initial screening. Those who are deemed qualified are sent to have an interview with a hiring committee panel at the Library. Committee discusses all candidates at the end of the interview process and chooses the top candidates based on the interviews and application materials.  Send those names to our Director for approval.

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

The candidate was really engaged, personable. They weren’t uptight. They paused to think about their answers rather than just diving in and never really answering the questions. They asked us to repeat the questions if they weren’t sure they hit all the points they needed to make. And they sold us on them.

What are your instant dealbreakers?

If your answer to “why do you want this position” is anything like “it’s the next step in my career” or “I want a raise.”

And if the candidate doesn’t have any questions for us at the end.  Show me you’re engaged and excited about the opportunity!

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

Are you going to be a bust? Are you going to be dead weight for us to carry?

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 

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

If it’s an internal interview, the candidate depends on the panel’s prior knowledge of the candidate’s experience and achievements.

External candidates who don’t do any research into our community.

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

We have done virtual interviews.

Test your equipment in advance!  BE ON TIME. 

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?

Ask about the position.  Ask about the goals, the hurdles, and/or the expectations.

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Western US 

What’s your region like?

√ Urban

√ Suburban

√ Rural 

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Never or not anymore 

How many staff members are at your organization?

√ 201+  

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Filed under 1 A Return to Hiring Librarians Survey, 200+ staff members, Public, Rural area, Suburban area, Urban area, Western US

I am rarely wowed, honestly.

Ascension Community High School librarian, Suanne Gordon reshelves books that have been in storage while the school was being renovated. National Archives.

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Academic Library 

Title: Director of Library Services

Titles hired include: Librarian, Library Associate

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

√ Cover letter

√ Resume 

√ References 

√ More than one round of interviews 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No 

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

I (director) chose the hiring committee. We review resumes, choose candidates for interview, refer finalists to college admin, and I consult with them re: the hire.

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

Articulated experience and how it applied to the goals of our library and college. I am rarely wowed, honestly. 

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

When people put their foot in their mouth re: why they want to work there or how they feel about diversity initiatives. 

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

Why they want to leave their current position.

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Only One!  

Resume: √ We don’t ask for this 

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 college or what’s happening in the field. Like if you’re interviewing for an instruction librarian and you can’t speak meaningfully about the ACRL Framework, then you aren’t prepared for the interview.

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

Yes. Make sure you can be heard/have a good connection! 

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

Give examples of how they partnered with librarians on “professional work” and what they learned from it. Give examples of what they’ve read about or conference presentations/webinars they have attended and what excites them/what they would like to do. I am happy to train people, but they have to show me that they’re willing to learn. 

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?

Our HR requires a search committee that is diverse in race and gender. We post job ads to lists like REFORMA. I’m sure there are still some unconscious “fit” issues but we’re working hard to be aware of that kind of thinking.

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 to know that they are excited about what we have going on. I want them to ask about the work day and expectations so I know that they will like their new job and not want to quit! It’s as important that we are a good fit for them as it is that they are a good fit for us.

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Northeastern US 

What’s your region like?

√ Suburban 

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Other: by request, but it is uncommon

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? 

I post awesome jobs with great salaries and I get really unqualified applicants. Our last search yielded SEVEN qualified candidates. I don’t know how to find all of these great librarians that are out there looking for jobs! We post to all the job lists/sites.

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

It might take a librarian with years of experience who comes to my area years to find a position, or they may get stuck in a paraprofessional position

Charles Elliott, Chief Librarian of the Law Society of Upper Canada, 1914-1922. By Flickr user Archives of the Law Society of Ontario

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Public Library 

Title: Supervisor

Titles hired include: Librarian, reference assistant

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ HR

√ The position’s supervisor 

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

√ Online application 

√ References

√ Proof of degree

√ Supplemental Questions

√ Written Exam

√ Oral Exam/Structured interview

√ Demonstration (teaching, storytime, etc)

√ More than one round of interviews 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No 

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

I see it through from start to finish for all positions I hire for, including creating job postings, screening applications, and interviewing. I also participate on panels for other positions. Hiring decisions are ultimately mine although HR does a final review that might trump that (to veto our candidate if there is a relevant veterans preference for another candidate, if someone doesn’t pass the background check, etc.)

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

They seem excited about the position and display some understanding of what the position work entails. They’re able to clearly show a link between past experience and the position they are interviewing for. The experience doesn’t have to be the same type but they should be able to draw connections.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Candidates who don’t understand what library work actually is (ex. they say they want to help people find books and don’t demonstrate any other knowledge of library services) 

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Two is ok, but no more

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

CV: √ We don’t ask for this  

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

Not knowing anything about our library or community.

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

Yes. Make sure you check your audio and video before (you’d be surprised how many people have issues). If you join early and are waiting to be admitted, make sure you are ready to go. Don’t walk away, get distracted, etc. 

When does your organization *first* mention salary information?

√ It’s part of the job ad 

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

We all have required anti bias training. We also look at requirements and questions with an equity lens and include BIPOC staff in every interview.

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

Ask us several questions, it almost doesn’t matter what they are! Lots of candidates have no questions—it makes you seem like you aren’t curious, and don’t care about whether the job is a good fit. 

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Western US 

What’s your region like?

√ Suburban 

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Never or not anymore 

How many staff members are at your organization?

√ 101-200 

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

Could add a question about how the hiring market is in your area. Some candidates are shocked how hard it is where I am. It might take a librarian with years of experience who comes to my area years to find a position, or they may get stuck in a paraprofessional position. Being able to move for a job helps if you are set on a specific type of position.

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, 100-200 staff members, Public, Suburban area, Western US

If your cover letter sucks, I’m not putting more energy into your application.

Montford Point Marines Training. National Archives

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Academic Library 

Title: Cataloging and metadata librarian

Titles hired include: Acquisitions associate, Collections Maintenance Supervisor

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ HR 

√ A Committee or panel 

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

√ Online application

√ Cover letter

√ Resume

√ CV

√ References 

√ Supplemental Questions 

√ Demonstration (teaching, storytime, etc)

√ More than one round 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:

I have served on three search/hiring committees since coming to my university. Committees are members of the department in which the hire will work, plus a library HR rep, and usually one (but sometimes more) person outside of the department that the hire will be a part of. The committee does the bulk of the work. Supervisors get a chance to meet candidates, typically in a second interview, but cannot give input on the process. The committee makes their recommendations to the provost, and ultimately the provost decides from the candidates put forth by the hiring committee. 

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

They tailored their cover letter to the position. Cover letter, CV, written follow up question responses were all clear and highly organized. They used these opportunities to showcase their written communication skills. They were professional and open in interviews. They tailored their responses to the position, even if their background didn’t align with the duties of the role they’re applying for. They showed enthusiasm about taking on a new role. 

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Lack of clear written communication. If your cover letter sucks, I’m not putting more energy into your application. If your written question responses haven’t been edited. Not following basic instructions in the preliminary parts of the application process, even before the interview.  

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Two is ok, but no more  

Resume: √ Only One!  

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

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

I’ve found people who are too casual are usually not taken seriously. I think this is a more common mistake in the era of zoom interviews (during the pandemic).

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

Yes. Treat it the same as you would an in-person interview. It’s not an excuse to be casual. 

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?

This has happened a lot and I like hiring candidates with different backgrounds! Make sure you find a way to connect your past experience to the job you’re applying for, even if they aren’t similar. There must be some similar aspects or strengths you can carry from your previous 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?

Hiring at my organization is completely blind until the interview stage. We also take a diversity, equity and inclusion course, as well as a course on examining our personal biases before we can join a hiring committee. 

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

I like when candidates ask about the organization as a whole, and also when they ask about how we see the position evolving over time. 

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Northeastern US 

What’s your region like?

√ Urban

√ 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 

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

Apply to things even if you don’t meet all the requirements! As long as you can draw meaningful connections between your past experiences and the job you’re applying for! 

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, 50-100 staff members, Academic, Northeastern US, Suburban area, 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  

Author’s note: Hey, thanks for reading! If you like reading, why not try commenting or sharing? Or are you somebody who hires Library, Archives or other LIS workers? Please consider giving your own opinion by filling out the survey here.

Leave a comment

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