Category Archives: 200+ staff members

had experience with technology and people of all ages & ethnicities

Pike Place Market looking north, Seattle, Washington This anonymous interview is with an public librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

catalogers, selectors, reference, children’s, managers, web content

This librarian works at a library with 200+ staff members in an urban area city/town suburban area rural area in the Midwestern US.

Approximately how many people applied for the last librarian (or other professional level) job at your workplace?

√ more than 200

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 25% or less

And how would you define “hirable”?

Had current degree, had experience with technology and people of all ages & ethnicities, had customer service experience, performed well in interview, had professional cover letter resume.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

Evaluated for education, appropriate answers for supplemental questions, professionalism.

What is the most common reason for disqualifying an applicant without an interview?

Answered no to a supplemental question which means they either don’t have experience working with people of all ages & ethnicities or they don’t have experience with technology.

Do you (or does your library) give candidates feedback about applications or interview performance?

√ Yes

What is the most important thing for a job hunter to do in order to improve his/her/their hirability?

Have customer service experience, enthusiasm for technology, and be approachable, professional and outgoing.

I want to hire someone who is

friendly.

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 200+

How many permanent, full time librarian (or other professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ 7 or more

How many permanent, full time para-professional (or other non-professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ 7 or more

Can you tell us how the number of permanent, full-time librarian positions at your workplace has changed over the past decade?

√ There are fewer positions

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with part-time or hourly workers over the past decade?

√ Yes

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with para-professional workers over the past decade?

√ Yes

Does your workplace require experience for entry-level professional positions? If so, is it an official requirement or just what happens in practice?

They do not need to have professional experience but they should have some work history.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

It’s evolving. We need librarians to lead services and staff, not to staff reference desks.

Do you hire librarians?  Take this survey: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibjobmarketsurvey or take other Hiring Librarians surveys.

For some context, look at the most recent summary of responses.

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Filed under 200+ staff members, Public, Rural area, State of the Job Market 2015, Suburban area, Urban area

Have people read your cover letter/resume! Multiple people!

Vegetable and flower seller and stall, Pike Place Market, Seattle, WashingtonThis anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

General librarians.

This librarian works at a library with 200+ staff members in a suburban area in the Northeastern US.

Approximately how many people applied for the last librarian (or other professional level) job at your workplace?

√ 25 or fewer

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 51-75 %

And how would you define “hirable”?

Matching the qualifications outlined in the job posting.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

HR checks them first to weed out any unqualified candidates. The applications are then forwarded to the hiring librarians on the panel, who choose the candidates to interview.

What is the most common reason for disqualifying an applicant without an interview?

Poor writing skills.

Do you (or does your library) give candidates feedback about applications or interview performance?

√ No

What is the most important thing for a job hunter to do in order to improve his/her/their hirability?

Have people read your cover letter/resume! Multiple people! And make sure you outline how you meet the job requirements.

I want to hire someone who is

teachable

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 200+

How many permanent, full time librarian (or other professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ 7 or more

How many permanent, full time para-professional (or other non-professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ Other: All of our paraprofessionals are part time.

Can you tell us how the number of permanent, full-time librarian positions at your workplace has changed over the past decade?

√ There are more positions

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with part-time or hourly workers over the past decade?

√ Yes

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with para-professional workers over the past decade?

√ Yes

Does your workplace require experience for entry-level professional positions? If so, is it an official requirement or just what happens in practice?

MLS (or equivalent) within two years of date of hire.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

 

Do you hire librarians?  Take this survey: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibjobmarketsurvey or take other Hiring Librarians surveys.

For some context, look at the most recent summary of responses.

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Filed under 200+ staff members, Northeastern US, Public, State of the Job Market 2015, Suburban area

don’t say you’ll follow up in a week or two (I’ll make the phone calls thank you)

View of street vendors at 7th and B Streets, NW (Ca. 1880) MarketThis anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a hiring manager. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Various types of front-line positions including, children’s and teen librarians, program/event planners, consumer tech specialists, etc.

This librarian works at a library with 200+ staff members in a suburban area in the Midwestern US.

Approximately how many people applied for the last librarian (or other professional level) job at your workplace?

√ 25-75

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 25% or less

And how would you define “hirable”?

A better word might be, “interviewable.” We’re not necessarily looking for people who have had specific library experience anymore. We need creative individuals who value customer service, intellectual freedom, and privacy.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

It depends on the position, mostly. HR doesn’t weed any applications out, but they do do a good job of highlighting applicants who meet the qualifications for the position.

If the position is at one of our branches, a branch manager will evaluate the candidates based on a handful of factors. These might include education, prior experience, and the quality of the application materials (without a resume and a good cover letter the information in the application itself rarely makes a candidate stand out).

What is the most common reason for disqualifying an applicant without an interview?

For me it’s usually because the applicant hasn’t expressed why they want to work in libraries or has left it at, “I love books.” I love books too, but you have to give me more.

Do you (or does your library) give candidates feedback about applications or interview performance?

√ Other: Not really. Although I will on occasion, but it depends on the candidate.

What is the most important thing for a job hunter to do in order to improve his/her/their hirability?

Ditch the formulaic resume and cover letter. I know you heard about the position from one or more of a handful of sources, don’t parrot what’s already in your resume, and don’t say you’ll follow up in a week or two (I’ll make the phone calls thank you).

Use your cover letter as an opportunity to show us who you are. Talk about your ideal workplace culture, your accomplishments (and what you think allowed you to achieve those), your ideals, or anything but the clichéd these-skills-make-me-your-ideal-candidate canned paragraphs you find on the web.

Write a different letter for each application. It’ll take you longer, but it is worth it.

I want to hire someone who is

A creative problem solver.

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 200+

How many permanent, full time librarian (or other professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ 2

How many permanent, full time para-professional (or other non-professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ 3-4

Can you tell us how the number of permanent, full-time librarian positions at your workplace has changed over the past decade?

√ There are fewer positions

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with part-time or hourly workers over the past decade?

√ Yes

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with para-professional workers over the past decade?

√ No

Does your workplace require experience for entry-level professional positions? If so, is it an official requirement or just what happens in practice?

Nope.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ Other: It depends

Why or why not?

It largely will depend on librarians reactions to change. If we can’t identify what our users need from us as information professionals in today’s world, and use that knowledge to help solve problems (in a way that people find engaging and valuable), support for libraries will eventually fade.

 

Do you hire librarians?  Take this survey: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibjobmarketsurvey or take other Hiring Librarians surveys.

For some context, look at the most recent summary of responses.

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Filed under 200+ staff members, Midwestern US, Public, State of the Job Market 2015, Suburban area

not just an MLIS, but experience with or a firm grasp of a specialized job: preservation of digital objects, non-MARC metadata, data analysis, Chinese language skills…

Housewives league at Wash. Market This anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Subject librarians; paraprofessionals

This librarian works at a library with 200+ staff members in an urban area in the Southern US.

Approximately how many people applied for the last librarian (or other professional level) job at your workplace?

√ 25-75

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 25% or less

And how would you define “hirable”?

We mostly post specialized librarian jobs these days–so it means someone with not just an MLIS, but experience with or a firm grasp of a specialized job: preservation of digital objects, non-MARC metadata, data analysis, Chinese language skills…

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

We form screening committees of around four libraries who use a rubric based on the required and preferred qualifications listed in the job posting.

What is the most common reason for disqualifying an applicant without an interview?

Lack of relevant experience.

Do you (or does your library) give candidates feedback about applications or interview performance?

√ Other: Not unless they ask

What is the most important thing for a job hunter to do in order to improve his/her/their hirability?

Write a cover letter/CV that addresses all of the qualifications listed in the job description and tells us why you’re a good match. Don’t waste your time applying for jobs where you don’t meet at least the majority of the minimum qualifications.

I want to hire someone who is

capable

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 200+

How many permanent, full time librarian (or other professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ 7 or more

How many permanent, full time para-professional (or other non-professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ 7 or more

Can you tell us how the number of permanent, full-time librarian positions at your workplace has changed over the past decade?

√ There are fewer positions

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with part-time or hourly workers over the past decade?

√ No

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with para-professional workers over the past decade?

√ Other: Mostly with non-librarian professionals or high-level paraprofessionals

Does your workplace require experience for entry-level professional positions? If so, is it an official requirement or just what happens in practice?

Yes, but just what happens in practice rather than an official requirement. Mostly, we don’t have all that many “entry-level” professional positions in the first place.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ I don’t know

Why or why not?

It’s an evolving profession. People still need information, we just aren’t the only game in town. But we are still the main groups who want to preserve information, systematically make the information findable with consistent metadata, teach people to how find information, and help people when they get stuck–and we’re also the main group that does all of this for the greater (or at least our community’s) good, not a profit.

Do you hire librarians?  Take this survey: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibjobmarketsurvey or take other Hiring Librarians surveys.

For some context, look at the most recent summary of responses.

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Filed under 200+ staff members, Academic, Southern US, State of the Job Market 2015, Urban area

we ask for an essay and many fail to include essay

Paramaribo market scene. Women and men. 1922.This anonymous interview is with an public librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Reference librarians
Para-professionals

This librarian works at a library with 200+ staff members in an urban area in the Western US.

Approximately how many people applied for the last librarian (or other professional level) job at your workplace?

√ 25 or fewer

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 26-50 %

And how would you define “hirable”?

Appropriate education, experience.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

Both HR and the hiring manager look at applications. HR only weeds out those that don’t meet the minimum job qualifications.

What is the most common reason for disqualifying an applicant without an interview?

Did not follow job posting instructions (we ask for an essay and many fail to include essay.)
No public library experience (if there are apps with experience.)

Do you (or does your library) give candidates feedback about applications or interview performance?

√ No

What is the most important thing for a job hunter to do in order to improve his/her/their hirability?

Experience – if you just completed your MLS – some sort of library experience is critical (internship, volunteer, paid, etc.)

I want to hire someone who is

friendly

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 200+

How many permanent, full time librarian (or other professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ 7 or more

How many permanent, full time para-professional (or other non-professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ 7 or more

Can you tell us how the number of permanent, full-time librarian positions at your workplace has changed over the past decade?

√ There are the same number of positions

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with part-time or hourly workers over the past decade?

√ No

Does your workplace require experience for entry-level professional positions? If so, is it an official requirement or just what happens in practice?

We put “experience preferred” on our job postings.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

The nature of the job may have changed and continue to change but the profession still provides a vital service to our communities.

Do you hire librarians?  Take this survey: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibjobmarketsurvey or take other Hiring Librarians surveys.

For some context, look at the most recent summary of responses.

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Filed under 200+ staff members, State of the Job Market 2015, Urban area, Western US

Because they have worked in our system, we know who the top performers are

Fruit Venders, Indianapolis Market, aug., 1908. Wit., E N Clopper. Location Indianapolis, Indiana.This anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

catalogers, adult and children’s librarians, department heads, outreach librarians

This librarian works at a library with 200+ staff members in an urban area in the Southern US.

Approximately how many people applied for the last librarian (or other professional level) job at your workplace?

√ 25 or fewer

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 26-50 %

And how would you define “hirable”?

My library system tries to promote from within whenever possible. We tend to have lots of underemployed professionals and volunteers who are professionals to choose from. Because they have worked in our system, we know who the top performers are. This method works out well for the library system, but I’m sorry to see that so many degreed librarians are willing to take any job they can get at a library. Sometimes job candidates are employees who have earned their MLIS while working in paraprofessional positions.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

We receive all applications from qualified candidates. HR determines which are qualified. There are no rubrics. There are committees for all job openings, no matter what position is open.

What is the most common reason for disqualifying an applicant without an interview?

Clear lack of experience/education requirements stated in the job posting.

Do you (or does your library) give candidates feedback about applications or interview performance?

√ Other: only if asked

What is the most important thing for a job hunter to do in order to improve his/her/their hirability?

Since we nearly always hire from within, a great track record in their current position is absolutely essential.

I want to hire someone who is

people-oriented

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 200+

How many permanent, full time librarian (or other professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ 3-4

How many permanent, full time para-professional (or other non-professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ 1

Can you tell us how the number of permanent, full-time librarian positions at your workplace has changed over the past decade?

√ There are fewer positions

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with part-time or hourly workers over the past decade?

√ Yes

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with para-professional workers over the past decade?

√ Yes

Does your workplace require experience for entry-level professional positions? If so, is it an official requirement or just what happens in practice?

Because we hire almost exclusively from within, all candidates will have library experience. Their experience might be as a paraprofessional.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ Yes

Why or why not?

I am hoping that as economic times get better, libraries will be better funded resulted in better staffing. Like almost any other profession, constant change is required to stay ahead of customer needs/desires.

 

Do you hire librarians?  Take this survey: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibjobmarketsurvey or take other Hiring Librarians surveys.

For some context, look at the most recent summary of responses.

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Filed under 200+ staff members, Public, Southern US, State of the Job Market 2015, Urban area

Objectives. Please…no more.

Librarian working at the Pointe Coupee Parish Parish library in New Roads Louisiana in 1936This anonymous interview is with a librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring committee. This person works at a a public library with 200+ staff members.

What are the top three things you look for in a candidate?

Customer service skills (soft skills are a lot harder to teach!), an eagerness to learn, and fit.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers, either in the application packet or the interview process?

I had an interviewee come in wearing jeans. While that’s okay on a day-to-day basis, it was an instant turnoff for me in the interview. Otherwise, she would have been one of the top candidates!

What are you tired of seeing on resumes/in cover letters?

Objectives. Please…no more.

Is there anything that people don’t put on their resumes that you wish they did?

I did like that one candidate explained her employment gap in her cover letter. Honestly, I didn’t notice until she pointed it out, but I appreciated the effort.

How many pages should a cover letter be?

√ As many as it takes, but shorter is better

How many pages should a resume/CV be?

√ Two is ok, but no more

Do you have a preferred format for application documents?

√.pdf

Should a resume/CV have an Objective statement?

√No

If applications are emailed, how should the cover letter be submitted?

√As an attachment only

What’s the best way to win you over in an interview?

Complete answers with relevant examples. Elaborate, please! It’s okay to use an example from a non-library experience. We’re trying to get to know you to see if you would be a good fit.

What are some of the most common mistakes people make in an interview?

An interview is a sales pitch for yourself. Why should we hire YOU? Every single person I interviewed for our last position would have been hireable. Convince me that you’re the best fit. Notice how I keep mentioning “fit”.

How has hiring changed at your organization since you’ve been in on the process?

HR is much more involved. They make all the phone calls and do all the legwork. We just review the applications and participate in the interviews. That being said, make sure you get past HR so I can see your application! Make sure your application reflects the required experience.

Anything else you’d like to let job-seekers know?

Writing skills matter. And please make sure you change your cover letter from job to job. I know you’re applying to other organizations, but it’s a major turn off to see that you didn’t care to change that information in your cover letter. One more thing – we can tell when you’re throwing your resume at everything just to see what sticks. If you apply to a job posting that closely matches what you have to offer, you’ll have a much greater chance of snagging an interview.

For some context, take a look at the most recently published summary of responses to this survey.

If you’re someone who has participated in hiring library workers, take this survey and share your viewpoint.

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Filed under 200+ staff members, Original Survey, Public