Category Archives: Western US

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

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

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.

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

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.

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

I don’t think job hunters need to do anything extra.

Interior of the Chatham Square Branch of the New York Public Library. NYPL Digital Collections.

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Academic Library 

Title: Director of Discovery and Delivery

Titles hired include: Software engineer, ILS Service Manager, Data Analyst, Systems Analyst, Director of Collections, Finance Manager

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 

√ 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:

Very bureaucratic process involving the library division and hiring manager, our HR liaison, and multiple people in HR reviewing, vetting, and pushing the process forward (e.g. only they can post the position on certain hiring sites, writing an offer letter, etc.). Internally, we typically phone screen applicants first, then do two rounds of interviews.

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

She had all the experience we requested, even everything marked “preferred.” She was easy going in the interview and asked excellent questions of us.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Unable/unwilling to work on a PST standard workday timetable. Also, extreme ego/cockiness–will not mesh well with the team.

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

Their ability to work in an ongoing, stable team environment.

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Only One!  

Resume: √ Two is ok, but no more  

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

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

They don’t take the opportunity at the end of the interview to ask us questions.

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

We do. I don’t think of it as that different. I don’t think job hunters need to do anything extra.

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?

Pull what you’ve done that is connected, even slightly, to the new institution’s mission and goals.

When does your organization *first* mention salary information?

√ It’s part of the job ad 

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

We have done blind hiring (everything redacted) until the final interviews. We are encouraged to take diversity into consideration in our hiring decisions. I think people still consider candidates for “fit” which is biased in its very nature. 

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 know the org structure, mission and vision, the work being done by the team they’re going to be working with.

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Western US 

What’s your region like?

√ Other: We’re a digital library so we cover all the UCs in the state of California, so many different environments.

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Always 

How many staff members are at your organization?

√ 51-100  

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

We can’t ask follow-ups, so give ALL the info that might be relevant.

Post Graduate Hospital : convalescents and librarian on sun porch, 1923. NYPL Digital Collections

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Public Library 

Title: Supervising Librarian

Titles hired include: Librarian 2, Librarian 1, Library Aide, 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?

√ Online application

√ References

√ Proof of degree

√ 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:

Applications are initially screened by city HR to determine eligibility for the job classification. Eligible candidates are asked to take either an oral exam, a written exam, or are scored based on supplemental questionnaires. This leads to a ranked list based on score. When the library has vacancies to fill, they are given a list of names from the list for that classification – number of names given determined by number of vacancies to fill.  Those candidates are invited to a departmental interview (aka an interview with the library) which is a panel interview.  Panel presents recommendations to Administration and discusses each candidate. Sometimes candidates may be invited for a second interview that is more casual. 

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

They confidently and thoroughly answered each question. 

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

inappropriate comments (racist, sexist, transphobic etc). 

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ We don’t ask for this  

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 thoroughly answering the question. We can’t ask follow-ups, so give ALL the info that might be relevant.

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

Yes. We know it’s awkward, but we’ve gotten very used to it!

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?

Share how your experience in other areas (other jobs, volunteering, even school) is relevant.  If you haven’t done something, share what you WOULD do, or how you’ve handled similar things.

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 try to frame our questions to ensure candidates are given a chance to share their experience in a way that doesn’t favor any particular candidates. Include questions that get beyond “diversity” and into real inclusion and equity and anti-racism. 

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Western US 

What’s your region like?

√ Urban 

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Other: Very rarely for really specific 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, Urban area, Western US

some of my colleagues also ask “why do you want this job” and it irks me because we’re IN A SCENARIO.

Original caption: The Librarian Carefully Enters the Consignment Into Her Books, 12/1952. National Archives.

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Academic Library  

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ Library Administration 

√ A Committee or panel 

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

√ Online application

√ Cover letter 

√ CV

√ References

√ Proof of degree

√ Supplemental Questions 

√ Demonstration (teaching, storytime, etc)

√ More than one round of interviews

√ A whole day of interviews

√ A meal with hiring personnel 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No 

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

For librarians (faculty): search committee, of which I’ve been a member and a chair

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

Well thought-out, well-written cover letter that was exactly what we were looking for. It showed the candidate really, really understood the role and would be amazing in it.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Not understanding, in the foggiest, what the role entails. Things like talking about an aspect of library work that isn’t within the realm of the position. I understand that you can’t know what it is for sure, but if I’m hiring for an instruction librarian and all your examples/things you’re excited about are technical services, I’m a bit concerned.

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

How well they would actually fit the position. 

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ 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?

A personal pet peeve: if we give you a presentation topic and fake audience, pretend we are the fake audience. Do not talk librarian shop if we are supposed to be faculty in a different college. To be fair, some of my colleagues also ask “why do you want this job” and it irks me because we’re IN A SCENARIO. This is petty, I know. 

Getting basic facts (the name of the institution) wrong!

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

Yes! When I’m on the committee, I advocate for the first round to be a phone and/or no video meeting. That way candidates can look at their notes. Rehearse so you can highlight your strengths without reading. You got this – we contacted you because we think you could be the person we need. This is a conversation where either party can say “yes” or “no.” For video-on calls (portions of the all-day academic interview during covid), we planned breaks and the like. Turn your camera off, mute yourself, or leave the room during breaks. It’s awkward. Interviews are awkward, Zoom is awkward, together it’s really awkward. Try to make the best of it. We’re trying too. Remember that the committee wants you to be the answer to their open position. Have your examples ready in your mind, be yourself, and be curious about the folks talking to you. 

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 had success couching it in librarian-type terms. I love when folks have been paraprofessionals or worked in tough customer service jobs, because that means they will handle the weirdness of an academic library likely quite well. 

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 depends on the search committee chair. We redact names & identifying information up until phone interviews, we require a good diversity statement (beyond “libraries are for everyone!” and more along the lines of “neutrality isn’t real and libraries can be racist so… here’s what I’ve done to get better”)

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

Whatever you want to know! Do you want to know things about living where we are? About the culture of the library? If there’s something that would be a dealbreaker for you, ask about it. 

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Western 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?

√ 11-50 

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, 10-50 staff members, Academic, Suburban area, Urban area, Western US

because we serve an online university, the ability to connect virtually is critically important

Port Richmond, Librarian at table with children. NYPL Digital Collections

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Academic Library 

Title: Sr. Manager, Learning Support

Titles hired include: Distance Education Librarian, Digital Media Librarian

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ 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? 

√ No 

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

Initial applicant screening by HR, followed by phone interview with supervisor (me), followed by panel interview, followed by selection through panel review/discussion

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

Clear passion coming through in the responses, very genuine. 

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Evidence of not having a service-oriented mentality 

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

How much they truly care about serving students to the best of their ability 

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Two is ok, but no more

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

Coming off overly confident or cocky 

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

Yes, because we serve an online university, the ability to connect virtually is critically important. Show the same level of interest and engagement you would in an in-person interview. Watch your body language the same way as well. 

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?

Having experience in customer service goes a long way, particularly if you can share anecdotes about going above and beyond to serve. 

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?

Review the application packets before looking at the candidate’s name. 

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

Answer here

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Western US 

What’s your region like?

√ Urban

√ Suburban 

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Always 

How many staff members are at your organization?

√ 201+

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

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

Please be aware that job duties vary so much that it is not enough to say/write the titles of the positions held – convey the range, extent

Mrs. Joan Fertig, Hungarian-born librarian at the Westinghouse plant. LOC.gov

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Special Library

√ Other: Government Library – State Library

Title: Assistant Director

Titles hired include: Librarian, Senior Librarian, Research Program Specialist, Student Assistant, Intern

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

√ 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:

If I have a current position vacancy in my unit, I craft a current job description with details on duties and responsibilities submit it to the director and then HR to review/approve before the recruitment plan is crafted with HR assistance – how long to keep it open, screening criteria grid  to apply for applicants, interview questions (with suggested responses, scoring grid), where to post position availability.

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

They were able to communicate their ideas and response to the questions in a way that highlighted their strengths, skills, experience – and even when they didn’t have specific experience or familiarity with the question or topic, were able to translate/bridge similar qualities and experiences

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Too shallow or glib responses that do not address the questions asked

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

How well they interact with colleagues, how they act under pressure and with multiple and often conflicting deadlines

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?

Fail to fully answer/address the question asked with sufficient details and information

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

Yes, all have been handled virtually since COVID first prevented us from working onsite, mid-March 2020. The first few were conducted in Teams and Zoom, with audio only enabled (cameras for applicant and panelist turned off). In this instance, vocal variety, enunciation, level, tone are big factors. Pre-COVID, we had done a couple of interviews virtually with cameras on – lighting, presentation, background noises will be playing a factor along with the others noted for interviews with the camera off. In both cases, it is important for candidates to present their best selves with thoughtful responses.

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 able to communicate how and why their experience relates to the job duties and responsibilities of the position they are interviewing for. To connect the dots and map it out explicitly so that the interviewer(s) are able to understand  – if they have similar experiences or skills-set in other jobs even if the job titles or industries or settings are different – doing so helps put things into context and makes the roadmap much clearer.

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?

Audio only virtual interviews, review of interview questions to ensure all are objective and job-related, interview panel includes HR rep. The state civil service system can be mystifying and a bit of a challenge to navigate and time consuming process – it is not a discriminatory practice or process on its merits, yet those responsible for hiring are interviewing candidates, and how they judge/score their responses might be subject to prejudice, and they are faced with choosing among comparable candidates after the interviews and making decisions about which one would ‘fit’ in with the staff, and this is another area where bias and discrimination could take place (whether implicit or explicit).

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

Seems like it would vary by the candidate – whatever is important to them should be raised/asked. This is a two-way interview, and those on the hiring panel are/may be colleagues. At the very least, ask a question (or two) that shows the candidates have done a little homework – checked out the company and or unit website or conducted a search to see what is being talked about or shared (program news, updates) and plans for the future.

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Western US 

What’s your region like?

√ Urban 

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Other: My entire unit is working virtual; and it varies throughout based on work responsibilities

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? 

Please be aware that job duties vary so much that it is not enough to say/write the titles of the positions held – convey the range, extent. Also, do not dismiss/overlook experiences and skills obtained through volunteer work, either with a professional association (library or information pro) or personal association

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

Benefits. They vary a lot and may not be a good fit for you

Photograph of Dr. Wayne C. Grover, Archivist of the United States, and Dr. Luther Evans, Librarian of Congress, Unveiling the Shrine. National Archives

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ (Corporate) Archives

Title: Archivist

Titles hired include: Associate archivist, information architect

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ The position’s supervisor 

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

√ Online application 

√ 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:

After applying online, candidates are narrowed down by recruitment and the supervisor of the role. Depending on the role, there’s the recruitment interview, supervisor interview, and the team interview. A selection is made and the offer stands for a few weeks

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

They had a detailed plan, as if they already had the job.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Rudeness or disrespectful of team mates 

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

How they will communicate when stressful personal matters are affecting their work and how we can support 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?

Not preparing their own questions

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

Yes, to not stress out about your background environment if you couldn’t find a peaceful place. Sometimes, homes are chaotic

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?

Apply it to the role. There’s always transferable skills

When does your organization *first* mention salary information?

√ Other: Only brought up when there’s an offer or is asked during the interview.  

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

Recruitment goes through training and we’re audited by a 3rd party

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

Benefits. They vary a lot and may not be a good fit for you

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+

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