Statistics

I have response analysis and statistical data for all of the Hiring Librarians surveys (although not for all questions). I have linked the relevant Stats post to each question below. Note you may have to scroll through that post to find the question you’re interested in.

All About Cover Letters

This survey launched November 2022. For this survey, you may view responses directly.

What type of organization(s) do you hire for? (Check all that apply)

What is your job title?

Does your organization consider Cover Letters as part of job applications?

Do you ask for cover letters explicitly in the job ad or do you just expect to receive them?

In one brief sentence, what is the purpose of a cover letter?

Do you expect that a cover letter will be tailored to your job opening?

What information do you want to see included in the cover letter (and is this specified in the job ad)?

Compared to other parts of the application, I give the cover letter:

What kinds of things make cover letters stand out (in good or bad ways)?

Do you have any good stories about a cover letter saving a “bad” application, or vicey versy?

What’s the best way to address a cover letter (ex: To Whom it May Concern, Dear Hiring Manager, Dear your honorific_your last name, Dear Sir or Madam…)?

How many pages should a cover letter be?

What formats are ok for cover letter be in? (check all that apply)

If you receive job applications by email, should the cover letter be included: (check all that apply)

If your organization has automated application screening, is the automated screening also applied to cover letters?

Anything else you want to tell us about cover letters?

What part of the world are you in?

What’s your region like? (Check all that apply)

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

How many staff members are at your organization?

Is there anything else you’d like to say, either to job hunters, to hiring managers or to me, the survey author? Or are there any questions you think we should add?

Personal Professional Websites

This survey opened in June 2022 and as of September 2022 has gathered 30 responses. I am still processing statistics; questions without links will be updated in the future. The survey is still open; Any LIS worker who maintains their own personal professional website may take the survey by following this link.

Are you actively looking for work?

Did you pay someone to design or build your site?

Which of the following content do you have on your site (ex: resume, blog, list of publications)?

Which of the following personal links or connection methods do you provide on your site? (ex: email, contact form, Twitter, ORCiD)

Is your site strictly library/archives/LIS related?

When was your site last updated?

Does your site use any of the following platforms/services?

How much do you pay annually to run your website?

Do you allow comments on your site?

Do you have advertising on your site?

Do you have analytics on your site?

About how many people visit your site in a month?

Is having a personal website a “must”?

Do you have any privacy concerns associated with sharing your personal information, resume, etc., on a public website? If so, what measures do you take to feel safer?

A Return to Hiring Librarians

This is a general survey about how LIS workers are hired, interrogating both process and decision making. It opened in March of 2022 and as of September 2022 has gathered 184 responses. I am still processing statistics; questions without links will be updated in the future. The survey is still open; anyone who has participated in hiring at least one LIS worker may take the survey by following this link.

What type of organization(s) do you hire for?

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization?

Which of the following does your organization regularly require of candidates? (ex: Cover letter, references, proof of degree, full day interview, demonstration)

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

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

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

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

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

How many pages should a cover letter be?

How many pages should a resume be?

How many pages should a CV be?

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

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

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?

When does your organization *first* mention salary information?

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

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

What part of the world are you in?

What’s your region like?

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

How many staff members are at your organization?

State of the Library Job Market

This survey ran from January 2015 to December 2015 and collected 269 responses. Questions reflect issues and concerns that came up in my work on hiring librarians from 2012-2014, including “Is Librarianship a Dying Profession?” (Probably not, although nearly a third of respondents thought it was). This survey is closed.

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

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

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

I want to hire someone who is __________________.

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

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

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

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

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

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

Is librarianship a dying profession?

Where are you? (region)

Where are you? (urban, suburban, rural)

What type of institution do you hire for?

Are you a librarian?

Job Hunter’s Survey

This is the largest Hiring Librarians survey. It ran from December 2012 to January 2016 and gathered 587 responses. Many job hunters agreed to be non-anonymous, and we were able to follow up with them over the years. It was cowritten by Naomi House from INALJ. This survey is closed

What’s the secret to getting hired? Part One and Part Two

Where do you look for open positions?

Do you expect to see salary range listed in a job ad?

Have you ever stretched the truth, exaggerated, or lied on your resume, or at some other point during the hiring process?

When would you like employers to contact you?

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

Which events during the interview/visit are most important to your assessment of the position (i.e. deciding if you want the job)?

Are you currently employed, even if part time or in an unrelated field?

Have you been hired in the last two months, even if part time or in an unrelated field?

How long have you been job hunting (or if recently hired, how long did you look before that)?

What type(s) of organization are you looking in?

What position level are you looking for?

Where are you? (Region)

Where are you? (Urban, Suburban, Rural)

Are you willing/able to move for employment?

Would you like to include a short bio with your answers?

What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School?

This survey ran from August 2013 to December 2015 and gathered 332 responses. It was co-written by Brianna Marshall, who was at the time the managing editor of Hack Library School. It generated some really fascinating discussion around online v. in-person library school and whether or not hiring managers had realistic expectations. This survey is closed.

Which library schools give candidates an edge (you prefer candidates from these schools)?

Are there any library schools whose alumni you would be reluctant to hire?

Biases against online library school

Do library schools teach candidates the job skills you are looking for in potential hires?

Should library students focus on learning theory or gaining practical skills?

What coursework do you think all (or most) MLS/MLIS holders should take, regardless of focus? Related: How much coursework should you cram in to library school?

When deciding who to hire out of a pool of candidates, do you value skills gained through coursework and skills gained through practice differently? (Example: a candidate who took an instructional design class vs. a candidate who taught library instruction sessions.)

Which of the following experiences should library students have upon graduating?

Where are you? (Region)

Where are you? (Urban, Suburban, Rural)

What type of institution do you hire for?

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

Are you a librarian?

Would you like to have information about you or your organization shared?

What Should Candidates Wear?

This survey is biased and I’m not proud of it. It is deeply entrenched in stereotypical gender norms. The questions as well as the answers have caused pain, and I apologize. Some folks may find the answers interesting or useful, but others may wish to avoid them entirely. It ran from September 2012 to December 2013 and gathered 250 responses. This survey was co-authored by Jill of the now defunct blog, Librarian Hire Fashion. The survey is closed.

Interviewing while Tattooed

Should the candidate wear a suit to the interview?

Does an outfit with a coordinated blazer and trousers count as a suit?

Are bare arms inappropriate in an interview, even in the summer?

If a woman wears a skirt to an interview, should she also wear pantyhose?

Should women wear make-up to an interview?

Do you expect different levels of formality of dress, depending on the position you’re hiring for?

Which jewelry may candidates wear?

Which hair colors are acceptable for candidates?

Should the way a candidate dresses be neutral or reflect personality?

Khakis and a polo shirt are:

What’s the dress code at your library/organization?

Are there any specific items of clothing, etc. that are forbidden by your dress code?

Librarians at your organization wear:

Where are you? (region)

Where are you? (urban, suburban, rural)

What type of institution do you hire for?

How many staff members are at your library?

Are you a librarian?

Original Survey

The original Hiring Librarians survey ran from February 2012 to December 2015 and gathered 200 responses. It was really amazing to see it go from 7 responses in the first month to more than 100 in the second month. It covers general information about hiring processes and decision making. It is superseded by the Return to Hiring Librarians survey and is closed.

Perspectives on Experience

How many pages should a cover letter be?

How many pages should a resume/CV be?

Do you have a preferred format for application documents?

Should a resume/CV have an Objective statement?

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

What type of institution do you hire for?

How many staff members are in your library?

Are you a librarian?