Category Archives: Urban 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

Feel free to take notes in the interview and ask to repeat or go back to other questions if you need more time.

Luther Harris Evans presiding over the Librarian’s Conference. Library of Congress, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

This interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Public Library

Title: Public Library Reference manager

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

HR screens candidates and does a first round interview. Next a panel including the potential supervisor interviews the candidate. Sometimes the candidate is recommended for another position, then they’ll have another panel interview.

Titles hired: Reference Associate

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

√ More than one round of interviews

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ Other: Unsure

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

They had a good attitude about library service.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

No customer service experience. Talking badly about underprivileged people.

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?

Acting disinterested, not asking good questions

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

I have not

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 experience like bartending or barista will always impress me.

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 are the patrons like.

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?

√ 51-100

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

Feel free to take notes in the interview and ask to repeat or go back to other questions if you need more time.

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Filed under 1 A Return to Hiring Librarians Survey, 50-100 staff members, Midwestern US, Public, 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

We send the interview questions in advance. If a candidate doesn’t have their answers prepared, I am very unimpressed.

Returning Books to their Places. National Archives

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Academic Library 

Title: Department Director

Titles hired include: Liaison librarian (multiple), scholarly communications librarian

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ Library Administration 

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

√ Cover letter

√ CV

√ References 

√ More than one round of interviews

√ 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 have two rounds (a phone screening then the full day interview). We usually bring 3 people in for full interviews, but it can be anywhere from 2 to 5. The search committee doesn’t include the position’s supervisor. The committee writes a report summarizing the pros and cons of each candidate. This is submitted to Admin as the hiring authority. Admin checks references, chooses the candidate and negotiates the offer. Search committee chair is responsible for all other communication with candidates.

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

They were well prepared and confident in their public presentation, and able to respond effectively to the audience’s questions. They were able to address multiple aspects of the role, and draw on their own experience.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Lack of preparation for the parts of the interview day we give advance notice of. We send the interview questions in advance. If a candidate doesn’t have their answers prepared, I am very unimpressed.

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

Our required qualifications are absolutely requirements. If you don’t show that you meet them, we can’t interview you. 

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Two is ok, but no more 

Resume: √ We don’t ask for this  

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

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

Make sure you’ve shared your screen/slides before you start presenting, check in that the volume is okay. If possible, try to share a phone number or alternative contact method in case the internet drops.

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?

Don’t rely on the committee to make the connections. Draw out the relevant stories and aspects of any previous work. Paraprofessional to professional roles can be hard in a single organization (which is stupid). You might need to leave and return in order to make that transition

When does your organization *first* mention salary information?

√ Other: We just started providing ranges or minimums in ads this year

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

Honestly, we do very little. We have HR telling us our targets for diverse hires, but that’s about the only formalized process

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

Why is this position available? How are decisions made in your organization? What internal communication channels exist? 

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, Urban 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

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

We provide questions in advance, and sometimes people overthink them

Charlestown, Indiana. Education, Library Services. National Archives

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Academic Library 

Title: Liaison Librarian

Titles hired include: Collections Librarian, Access Services Librarian, Liaison Librarian

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ Library Administration 

√ A Committee or panel 

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

√ Cover letter 

√ CV

√ References 

√ 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:

Have served as a member of hiring committee 

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Does not meet basic requirements (eg no library degree or equivalent for positions where this is required) 

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?

We provide questions in advance, and sometimes people overthink them 

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?

Require diversity (gender and position) in hiring committee; accept equivalent foreign degrees 

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

 √ Canada 

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, 100-200 staff members, Academic, Canada, Urban area

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! 

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

If you’re over qualified explain why you’re still interested.

Donnell Library. Three librarians around table. NYPL Digital Collections

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Public Library 

Title: Library manager

Titles hired include: Senior librarian, reference librarian, archivist, archives assistant 

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ The position’s supervisor 

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

√ Online application

√ Cover letter

√ Resume

√ References

√ Supplemental Questions

√ Written Exam

√ 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:

The supervisor arranges a panel who screens applicants and conducts interviews. The structure depends on the position and the size of the pool.

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

They clearly understood the position, took time to learn about the organization and succinctly communicated why they were an ideal fit for the position.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

No cover letter or a letter that doesn’t connect with the position we’re recruiting.

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?

Talking around a question rather than answering it.

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

We do. Make sure your audio and lighting are good and pay attention to what’s in your background.

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?

You should draw those lines in your cover letter and again during the interview.

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 seek to have diverse viewpoints represented on our 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?

I appreciate when they ask about challenges and opportunities at our institution and what kind of a culture we have.

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?

√ 201+

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

Please read the job ad. Make sure you’re qualified. If you’re over qualified explain why you’re still interested.

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

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

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

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, Southeastern US, Urban area