Category Archives: Urban area

Confident, energetic, focused, poised

Photograph of Dr. Hermann Robinton, Assistant to the State Librarian, Albany, New York, Turning over to Dr. Wayne C. Grover, Archivist of the United States, Some of New York’s Most Treasured Documents to be Preserved and Rehabilitated for Display on New York’s Freedom Train. National Archives.

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Archives

√ Public Library

Title: Head of Special Collections

Titles hired include: Archivist (I-III), Lead Archivist, Librarian (I-IV), Senior Library Specialist

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 

√ References

√ Proof of degree

√ Supplemental Questions 

√ 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:

Referred applications from (non-library) HR sent to hiring manager. Revise/update job posting and interview questions. Select applicants for interview. Interview with a panel. Score and select candidates for either an offer or second round interviews (dependent on position). Reference check, including request for copies of transcripts. HR completes background check and offer.

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

Confident, energetic, focused, poised, had clearly done their research about the organization and the position.

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

Workplace preferences and current work/professional priorities

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Only One!  

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

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

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

Not researching the organization, not being  familiar with the job posting

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

Yes. Test out your setup ahead of time. Just like with in-person presentations, have a back up plan.

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?

Involvement in the library professional associations, volunteer work in the areas of interest, educational training and development (from full degree program to one-time workshops)

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?

Required training and completion of acknowledgment form before joining a hiring panel

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 workday for this position? 

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Southwestern US 

What’s your region like?

√ Urban 

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Never or not anymore  

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

We are committed to the Mansfield Rule

[Library of Congress. Charge desk (Librarian Ainsworth Rand Spofford’s table)] LOC.gov

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Special Library

Title: Manager, Information Resource Center

Titles hired include: Research specialist, assistant

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ Library Administration 

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

√ Online application 

√ Resume 

√ References 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No 

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

Hiring goes through HR, but they essentially send me all applicants to review. While I make all decisions, HR is also involved in the interviewing process, and handles things like background checks and references. The interviewing process is generally 1.5 hours, with the first half being myself and HR, and the second half being peers of the interviewee.

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

They were impressive because they had a deep knowledge and interest in the field. It was clear they weren’t just applying for every job that they could, but only those that really met what they were looking for.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

I have not yet had one.  

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 being prepared. Know the role you are interviewing for, and the organization. 

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

We have, but rarely.

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?

We often hire librarians like this, as our field (legal) is very small in our community. Make it clear that you have an actual interest in the area.

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?

We are committed to the Mansfield Rule (guidelines for hiring in law firms), as well as posting jobs within various diversity groups within our region.

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Midwestern US 

What’s your region like?

√ Urban 

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Some of the time and/or in some positions 

How many staff members are at your organization?

√ 201+ 

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Filed under 1 A Return to Hiring Librarians Survey, 200+ staff members, Midwestern US, Special, Urban area

It can be easily faked in an interview

Archivist Awards. National Archives

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Academic Library

√ Archives

Title: Librarian, Outreach & Instruction

Titles hired include: Instruction librarian, archivist, library specialist, circulation 

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

√ Proof of degree 

√ 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:

Hiring manager or committee member on hiring committee 

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

Hit all points in the ad, articulate and evidence of helping students 

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Incorrect cover letter and resume- for the wrong job

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

Self starter that wants to learn. It can be easily faked in an interview 

How many pages should each of these documents be?

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

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

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

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

Not researching the library 

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

Yes, if possible, no distractions such as barking dogs or other loud noises 

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 looking for a job that has a large part of desk duty, customer service experience is valuable 

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?

Diverse 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?

In-person hours for all positions. Evenings and weekends for most

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?

√ 11-50 

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Filed under 1 A Return to Hiring Librarians Survey, 10-50 staff members, Academic, Archives, Southeastern US, Urban area

As of April 2022, it’s part of the job ad

[Librarian Putnam at Sesquicentennial reception, 4/24/1950] LOC.gov

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Special Library

Title: Vice President

Titles hired include:Strategic Intelligence Analyst, Strategic Intelligence Data Analyst 

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ HR

√ The position’s supervisor 

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

√ Online application

√ Cover letter

√ Resume 

√ References 

√ Oral Exam/Structured interview 

√ More than one round of interviews 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ Other: Don’t know

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

I am at a large corporation. Our department writes a job description and gives it to HR, who advertises for the position and screens applicants. The position’s supervisor interviews candidates, and if she likes them I interview them as head of the department. Once we decide who we want to hire, we let HR know and they make the job offer and handle the rest.

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

She came to the interview very prepared. She prepared a few PPT slides to share a project she had handled at a previous position, and spoke to how that would support our position.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Imperiousness, indecisiveness 

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

How interested they are in the job; are they applying for lots of positions or were they selective about ours

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?

Come unprepared 

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

Have your video camera on if possible 

When does your organization *first* mention salary information?

 √ Other: As of April 2022, it’s part of the job ad 

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Midwestern US 

What’s your region like?

√ Urban 

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Some of the time and/or in some positions 

How many staff members are at your organization?

√ 11-50 

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Filed under 1 A Return to Hiring Librarians Survey, 10-50 staff members, Midwestern US, Special, Urban area

We don’t expect people to be able to isolate themselves at home for a Zoom call depending on their personal situation so we are prepared to be flexible

Archivist Sara Jackson. National Archives

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Archives

√ Public Library 

Title: library trustee and retired special librarian

Titles hired include: YA, PT and FT Children’s, Tech Services, Adult Services, Admin

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ HR

√ Library Administration

√ 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

√ Oral Exam/Structured interview

√ 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:

Job description (usually Union affiliated) must be approved by City as well as Union, job is advertised locally and on regional boards, resumes are reviewed by Lib Director and Head of HR to decide on interviews; interviews take place with Director, and relevant team members, sometimes reviewed by Trustees depending on level

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

Articulate, asked good questions, expressed genuine interest in position and also in growth in the organization, good skill set beyond just MLS skills

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Either on Zoom or in person, shows up in unprofessional dress, difficult expressing themselves when asked questions (not including nervousness), stumped to describe strengths and weaknesses or an important accomplishment or learning experience at previous job

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

Are they actually a good teammate; are they a responsible/reliable individual

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 up without having done basic homework about the organization

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

Yes, same reasons as in question 8 (Think about the last candidate who really wowed you, on paper, in an interview, or otherwise. Why were they so impressive?) and question 9 (What are your instant dealbreakers?). We don’t expect people to be able to isolate themselves at home for a Zoom call depending on their personal situation so we are prepared to be flexible.  

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?

There are lots of relevant skills learned in non-library related jobs so it is important for a candidate to describe these and do their best to relate them to the job on offer.  Often parapro or pre-pro experience is like an entry level professional so I don’t look down on people who don’t have the degree.  An expressed desire to get a credential is important though it depends on the job.

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?

As a govt. organization and personally we are committed to a diverse workforce that mirrors the demographics of our city and we value the differing points of view that employees can bring to the table.  Given the lack of diversity in many MLS programs and libraries of all types, there is still a lot of discrimination in hiring, conscious or otherwise.

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 expectations not explicit in job description; also probing about how team dynamics work, any political or other issues that are involved that could impact the library, opportunities for growth if contribution is proven so how regular are performance reviews and who does them. Perhaps even typical frustrations experienced on the job.

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Northeastern 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 

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Filed under 0-10 staff members, 1 A Return to Hiring Librarians Survey, Archives, Northeastern US, Public, Urban area

I am always impressed when someone asks about disaster preparedness

Stuart Strachan, Senior Archivist, National Archives, examines files from the Prime Minister’s Department (1980). Archives New Zealand on Flickr.

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Other: Museum

Title: Archivist

Titles hired include: Assistant Archivist

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ The position’s supervisor 

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

√ 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:

The HR manager posts the Assistant Archivist position, the Archivist does an initial pass on the applicants’ resume and cover letter. The Archivist and Curator pick the top 6 candidates for phone interviews with both. Following the phone interviews, the top 3 candidates are invited for an interview via Zoom or in-person. The Curator and Archivist evaluate the final candidates with the Archivist making the final decision on who to hire

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

They worked with multiple types of collections, i.e. paper, photos, and oral histories. They showed a willingness and excitement to learn more skills and apply them.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

A disorganized resume. If the resume is not uniform and organized, it shows a lack of attention to detail that is required in this job.

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

How willing they are to speak up to say something isn’t working or if their concentration is wavering during long-term monotonous tasks. Things can always be adjusted even if it’s picking up a small task to “jump start” their concentration, but if they don’t/won’t speak up, I can’t help them.

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?

They didn’t do research on the organization or the area that they might live in.

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

Yes. They should be comfortable but not lounging. I can tell if they’re comfortable because those interviewees tend to be more engaged.

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?

Highlight applicable skills. We do a lot of cataloguing and research, tell me what you’ve done similarly. Look into remote volunteering situations to bolster your resume if you are unable to volunteer or intern in an archive.

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 don’t have anything in place. I try not to look at names, graduating and/or working dates, or addresses of former workplaces until after the initial pass. In our organization, local hires are always prioritized because management requests early start dates. This could rule out most candidates for the archives as there is not a large pool of local applicants.

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

For us, copyright is key, as I work in a single artist museum. Asking questions about projects coming up is always good to show planning for the future. I am always impressed when someone asks about disaster preparedness, because it shows me they have looked into the area and are looking at the protection of the collection 

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?

√ 11-50

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Filed under 1 A Return to Hiring Librarians Survey, 10-50 staff members, Archives, Rural area, Special, Suburban area, Urban area, Western US

I want to see problem-solving, communication skills, ability to facilitate meetings or host programs, and enough technology skills to make the job go smoothly.

Front of the Harry S. Truman Library. National Archives.

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Other: State Library

Title: Library Development Director

Titles hired include: Youth Services Consultant

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ HR

√ Library Administration

√ The position’s supervisor 

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

√ Online application

√ Cover letter

√ Resume

√ References

√ Supplemental Questions 

√ 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:

The agency director, with input from the department head, writes a job description for the desired position. (If it’s an existing position, the department head may just need to edit/review.) The HR manager posts it to various sites and monitors applications. Once the deadline is past and a sufficient number of candidates have applied, the department head reviews them with the help of HR and the agency director. First round interviews are sometimes online, due to COVID or if the candidate is too far to travel. They usually include the department head and HR manager. They frequently involve a short presentation related to the job, as well as some scenario based questions. Second round interviews are in person, with the agency director involved, and may also include a demonstration. HR then extends an offer to the desired candidate.

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

Good presentation skills, ability to problem-solve, obvious knowledge of their field of expertise and our agency’s role

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Pushy or rude, glaring errors in the writing sample questions, hasn’t reviewed our agency website and info to see what we do; bad references

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

It’s sometimes hard to see their judgment/diplomacy when dealing with difficult situations. We need candidates who have good judgment and can be trusted to represent the agency when not under direct supervision.

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?

Too vague with answers, not specific enough examples of relevant work; not reading the job description (our work isn’t directly with library patrons)

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

Yes – know your technology and also don’t be flustered if something goes wrong, have a backup plan. Have a nice background and no distractions. 

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 skill sets related to your knowledge base. I may not need someone who can catalog materials, but could use someone who can work with databases and sort or categorize data. If you can put together a storytime or manage a summer reading program, those are project management and program development skills. I want to see problem-solving, communication skills, ability to facilitate meetings or host programs, and enough technology skills to make the job go smoothly.

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 tries to promote job openings to HBCUs and other diverse audiences, but we primarily hire degreed librarians and the degree is still out of reach for many. 

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

Ask what we hope to accomplish in the position. What major projects are coming up or in progress, or what aspects we want to develop. They need to know that our patrons are the library staff and that we don’t work directly with patrons. 

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Southeastern US 

What’s your region like?

√ Other: statewide; a lot of rural with some suburban and urban 

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Other: working on work-from-home options 

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, Rural area, Southeastern US, Suburban area, Urban area

Find something you genuinely want to know and ask that, it’s very obvious if you don’t actually care about the answer

Librarian in the National Archives Library, 1955, National Archives

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Academic Library 

Title: University Librarian

Titles hired include: Library Assistant

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?

√ Cover letter

√ Resume

√ CV

√ 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:

Application then interview. At higher level we have presentations and tests 

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

Was very relaxed in the interview and talked like they were actually answering the questions not just saying what they thought we wanted to hear

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Not answering the actual question. Anything that shows they don’t understand what the job is

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: √ Two is ok, but no more

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

Talking for ages about something we didn’t ask. Not giving examples

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?

Find ways of adapting other experience and making it applicable to the new role

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?

Find something you genuinely want to know and ask that, it’s very obvious if you don’t actually care about the answer

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ UK 

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 

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Filed under 0-10 staff members, 1 A Return to Hiring Librarians Survey, Academic, UK, Urban area

Metadata models can be intimidating, and this candidate made it seem much more accessible.

WACS with the Army Service Force – Librarian. National Archives.

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Other: Software vendor

Title: Senior DAM Architect

Titles hired include: Taxonomist, DAM librarian

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ HR

√ The position’s supervisor

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

√ Other: CEO

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

√ Resume 

√ Supplemental Questions

√ Oral Exam/Structured interview 

√ 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 currently hire information professionals as consultants – we’re hoping to start hiring FT roles once this program expands. I start by posting on LinkedIn, both my feed and on relevant professional group pages and will be posting to SLA in the future. I had candidates reach out to me on LinkedIn to start. It allowed me to vet them beyond their resume, and have a brief conversation before moving toward a full initial video interview (or phone, depending on their preference). Once someone passes that, I bring in our customer success managers who handle the areas where these folks would be working. Anyone who wows them moves back to me for follow up, then they provide references. Our head of hiring calls the references and has a lengthy conversation about the candidate and not only their strengths and weaknesses but how they prefer to communicate and the way to get the best out of them. She sends a detailed report to the CEO and me, and we discuss further. If we decide to move forward, I let the candidate know and then the CEO and CFO discuss the contract with them. We’re a small company, so working directly with the CEO isn’t outside the norm. However, a full-time employee may have a slightly different experience, as they won’t be dealing with the CEO for the contract – that will go through the CFO and hiring manager.

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

One of our recent candidates wowed everyone throughout the hiring process. She was knowledgeable but also approachable. She communicated clearly and resisted using industry jargon, except occasionally with me. It was clear that she had a lot of experience and could set clients at ease, which is important as our clients are usually speaking with a taxonomist or librarian because they are starting on their DAM journey or are having issues with an existing DAM. Metadata models can be intimidating, and this candidate made it seem much more accessible.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Inability to communicate clearly and exaggerating experience.

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

Any constraints with working remotely – we have an office but have mostly been hiring full-remote candidates. It would be great to know if they have the appropriate bandwidth or need that to be supplemented, or if they are set up to work comfortably from home, or if they prefer to work in a public place or rent a workspace.

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ We don’t ask for this  

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?

Answering too quickly, which I commonly see leading to not answering the question thoroughly.

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

Yes, as of right now we only hire via virtual interviews due to the pandemic. Show that you can handle the technology – you’re going to need it anyway, so it’s disheartening to see someone who doesn’t know how to work their camera or lights themselves poorly (which I personally find distracting). 

Don’t worry about issues with internet connection or working with a particular video conferencing app for the first time. We have all been there, and it’s good to see how someone handles that. Pivot quickly and over-communicate if there’s an issue. We had a candidate who had construction that knocked out her wi-fi the morning of the call. She let us know immediately and offered a phone interview, which went very well.

Turn any mishaps into an opportunity to show how you can handle these (currently common) issues professionally and efficiently.

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 consider all of the facets of the role I’m hiring for. For better or worse, we typically end up managing our own projects. So project management experience is a plus. As we work with clients, I value experience in customer service. We also work with software engineers on occasion, so any work in that area, even a course on coding, is beneficial.

My advice to candidates is to find the pieces of your experience that you can tie into commonly used skills, even in a setting that you haven’t worked in before. Connect the dots for any hiring managers so they can see how your experience translates.

I would also say that candidates should come with some understanding of why their type of experience could bring new opportunities. One of my best supervisors had been a high school teacher, and that’s where she learned how to work with clients who had different ways of processing information and wrangling a meeting with lots of strong voices. Her skills from that background made her a more attractive candidate for the role she was in, but she had to make sure the hiring manager understood that.

When does your organization *first* mention salary information?

√ Other: Only when we make an offer, but I am hoping to change this.

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

To reduce bias in the interview process, we ensure there are a range of perspectives included and the panel is diverse. 

We currently don’t post in enough places and leverage my own network significantly, since we’re just starting to build out our team. While I try to ensure my network is diverse, posting in places where I’m more likely to reach diverse candidates is hampered because I cannot include the salary with the posting. Once that is fixed, I hope to reach more candidates.

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

They should ask me what tools we use to collaborate and communicate, why I chose to work at the company, and what challenges we’re trying to alleviate with this role.

It is important for candidates to know about our most recent (public) wins and that we service a wide range of clients. I would love for candidates to come into an interview with some basic knowledge of our product, whether that be from asking contacts who work with the tool or visiting our Youtube channel and/or our site. I’d hope any candidates who haven’t worked in digital asset management have read up on why librarians are important to the field and what skill sets they need to use.

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Western 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?

√ 51-100 

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

I would add more options for the type of organizations – none of my previous roles have been in those types of environments. I would include something software-related, as there are so many of us working for companies like Spotify or Netflix or software vendors, like me. I only worked for a library in grad school.

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, Other Organization or Library Type, Urban area, Western US

I love the question “how would you measure success in this job”

Archives of Appalachia in the old Sherrod Library, presently called Nicks Hall on ETSU campus. From Wikimedia Commons.

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Archives

Title: Archivist

Titles hired include: Collections department interns and archivist interns/assistants 

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?

√ 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:

It begins with me looking over resumes and cover letters. Once those have been combed through, a telephone interview takes place with me. For the video or in person interview it includes other department members. Typically after that a decision is made

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

They took initiative in their writing and application as well as their interview. Their creative approach to their work made me take notice! 

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Rudeness, difficult personality, and no experience

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

How they truly work collaboratively 

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Only One!  

Resume: √ Only One!  

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

They stumble through their words when not prepared for the interview questions 

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

Yes sometimes when necessary— primarily just be yourself and know your own experience as well as what our application requires 

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 creative problem solving and organization. These skills are more difficult to teach and can come from various lines of 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?

The initial resumes and cover letters can have no personal info beyond name. Then it really comes down to the way they interview and if their experience aligns with the needs

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

I love the question “how would you measure success in this job” and they should know our mission, some of the contemporary struggles or obstacles we might face

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Northeastern 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?

√ 11-50

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