Tag Archives: archives

About a Decade Later: Former (and current) Job Hunter Anonymous 4

Back in 2012/2013 I ran a survey of job hunters (co-authored by Naomi House of INALJ). It had over 500 responses, including 117 people who were at least initially willing to be non-anonymous. In this series, we check in with these respondents to see where they are about a decade later. 

This is another anonymous follow-up. This job hunter first filled out the survey in 2012 as a recent graduate, and her answers appeared as I Make Sure That I Qualify, First and Foremost. We followed up with her in November 2014 and found she had a part-time internship. Then in December 2015, we found out she’d landed a full time job in an archive. She’s still there, but looking again. She was kind enough to answer my questions below:

Where are you now? What’s your work situation like, and what path did you take to get where you are?

I’m still at my current position in the Midwest. The work situation has been both good and bad and it’s heading in the right direction but without more funding, I can’t really stay (hence the reason I’m looking). 

Were any parts of your journey completely unexpected?

How long things take. Also that people are willing to help with things.

Looking over your past answers, what pops out at you? Has anything changed?

Nothing really has changed, except maybe the idea of posting salaries. That has definitely changed, and especially that some states are even requiring it.

Have you had a chance to hire anyone? If so, what was that like?

Not me per se, but I’ve been in on the process of helping to hire student workers. It is definitely interesting being on the other side of things.

Do you have any advice for job hunters?

Have help going over your cover letter from someone in the same field. I had that and it’s helped tremendously! My cover letters before were okay but after this person helped, I saw an almost 90% return on getting interviews. Also, I know it’s hard but be willing to move. I’m open to moving for a full time position but only that. If you can swing to move for contract positions go for it.

Do you have any advice for people who hire LIS folks?

Post the salary, and if not the salary, at least a range so people aren’t blindsided when they get an interview.

Anything else you’d like to tell us? 

Nope.

Leave a comment

Filed under Job Hunter Follow Up

For us, it’s not showing ambition

Paul Brockett, Librarian, Smithsonian Nat’l Academy of Science, 7/19. Loc.gov

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Archives 

Title: Archives assistant 

Titles hired include: Graduate research assistants and interns, but we did just hire a third full time person

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ The position’s supervisor

√ Other: Director

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

√ Online application

√ Cover letter

√ Resume

√ References 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No 

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

They apply and we go through the resumes, once we go through the resumes the director will call them in for an interview and we interview them

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

They had a lot of good experience and a great personality 

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

The biggest thing for us is qualifications and personality. They have to be able to work with the public as well as being able to work on collections

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?

For us, it’s not showing ambition  

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

We have not 

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?

√ Southeastern US 

What’s your region like?

√ Suburban 

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Never or not anymore 

How many staff members are at your organization?

√ 0-10 

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 0-10 staff members, 1 A Return to Hiring Librarians Survey, Archives, Southeastern US, Suburban area

Job Hunter’s Web Guide SAA Career Service Commons

I’m really pleased to highlight the Career Services Commons provided by the Society of American Archivists (SAA), offered by the Membership Committee’s Career Development Subcommittee. They provide high-quality help for anyone in the archives field including students, as is evidenced by the stories of success they share below. Please keep reading to learn more about the Career Services Commons.

What is it?  Please give us your elevator speech!

The Career Services Commons is a permanent online space for members of the Society of American Archivists (SAA) to access and offer career advising sessions, resume review services, and mock interviews. SAA Career Counselors offer guidance and support to emerging and developing professionals and offer flexible monthly schedules. Sessions are one-on-one and last between thirty minutes and one hour.

When was it started?  Why was it started?

It started in response to the continued success of the Career Center at the SAA Annual Meeting in 2020. Members of SAA requested ongoing help relating to career counseling and the Career Commons was the solution.

Who runs it?

The Career Development Subcommittee of the SAA Membership Committee consists of three professional archivists. In addition, 10 archivists volunteer as career counselors. 

Are you a “career expert”? What are your qualifications?

Our Career Counselors are the experts. Many of them have been in the archives field for years and have moved between jobs in various areas – academic, public, governmental, corporate, etc.

Who is your target audience?

The Commons is a space for students, early-career archivists, and others to connect with experienced archives professionals. 

What’s the best way to use your site?  Should users consult it daily?  Or as needed? Should they already know what they need help with, or can they just noodle around?

Anyone is welcome to review the webpage and see our counselors and their qualifications. To make an appointment, you must be a member of SAA. 

Do your counselors provide:

√ Interviews

√ Coaching

√ The opportunity for interaction

Advice on:

√ Cover Letters

√ Resumes

√ Interviewing

√ Networking 

Should readers also look for you on social media? Or is your content available in other formats? Please include links, subscription information, or other details if pertinent

√ Twitter: @CareerCommons

√ Magazine or other periodical: Archival Outlook 

√ Other: Society of American Archivists website

Do you charge for anything on your site?

There is no charge for the site, but to make an appointment, you must be a member of SAA.

Can you share any stories about job hunters that found positions after using your site?

After a frustrating job search in which the applicant had applied for more than a hundred positions, one of our career counselors helped the applicant to narrow down the search to more relevant positions. The applicant was excited to share that they just made it to the second round of interviews for the first time ever. 

One of our counselors shared that one of the people with whom she was working just contacted her to let her know that they got the job. The candidate signed up for a resume review and mock interview and then went on to successfully land the job at a state archives.

A student landed her first archives internship after meeting with one of our counselors for a career counseling session. The counselor encouraged her to apply for an internship and to practice for the interview. 

Another counselor shared that she was able to connect with one of her job seekers at a recent in-person conference for further networking. 

Anything else you’d like to share with my readers about your site in particular, or about library hiring/job hunting in general?

We encourage people to use this service! It’s a great opportunity to have an impartial person review your resume, as well as to practice your interview skills. Career advising offers an opportunity for students and new professionals to gain advice from more experienced professionals. Members may sign up for up to 2 appointments per month.

Leave a comment

Filed under Job Hunters Web Guide

If you’re stuck though, ask people what they like about working there. Long hesitation is telling.

Photograph of Society of American Archivists Study Tour, Vatican, Rome. National Archives.

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Academic Library

√ Archives 

Titles hired include: Collections archivist, archives director, 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

√ Proof of degree

√ 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:

Committee crafts job description, admin approves, committee reviews all applications (resume, cover letter) and culls to 6-9 phone interviews, then 3-4 full-day interviews (usually in person but have been via Zoom recently). 

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

They made a good case for their ability to contribute to a team and they understood why they worked, not just how to follow instructions. 

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Too much reliance on a manager telling you what to do, lack of curiosity

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

How they handle disagreement or adversity.

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

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

Answering questions with a yes or no. This is your chance to tell us about your work and ideas!

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

It’s hard not to talk over people in a Zoom meeting. Take a brief pause before speaking if you can. Don’t worry about avoiding awkwardness. Everyone feels a little weird!

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?

Never apologize for your experience or try to hide it! Lots of people have the degree, but very few have other experience and make a great case for how it makes them a better, more well-rounded candidate. Explain yourself as a whole person with a unique perspective, because you are! 

When does your organization *first* mention salary information?

√ Other: Pushing to put it in the ad, but it’s not always done

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

There is an HR training and we try to anonymize a bit in the first round. Improvements certainly possible.

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

Your questions are always best if you do a bit of research first. If you’re stuck though, ask people what they like about working there. Long hesitation is telling.

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 

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, 50-100 staff members, Academic, Archives, Midwestern US, Urban area

Nothing is more frustrating than finding an amazing candidate, and then they realize moving is not feasible once we’ve made the offer.

Archivist Joseph B. Howerton. National Archives

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Archives

√ Public Library 

Title: Executive Director

Titles hired include: Assistant Director, Archives Librarian, Cultural Engagement Coordinator, Library Assistant, Programming & Outreach Librarian

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ Library Administration

√ 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

√ Cover letter

√ Resume

√ References

√ 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 are submitted via online application, with resume’s and cover letters being emailed to myself, Executive Director.  Hiring panel comprised of myself, positions supervisors, and sometimes peers review and rate applicants.  Hiring Panel conducts interviews, often via zoom.  Top candidates have references checked, before offer is made.  

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

Excellent hiring packet, including application, cover letter and resume.  Good communication throughout process, but not overburdening.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

incomplete application, too informal cover letter (like less than a paragraph total), with no greeting or closing.

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

why they want to move to our community, we usually ask, but few if any have an answer. The ones that do stand out.

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 the community they applied to work in.  

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

We do almost all supervisory level via virtual platform.  Have a non-distracting background, and expect a few hiccups, despite good internet connections, sometimes we miss things and may ask you to repeat, it’s ok to ask us to repeat 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?

Focus on transferrable skills, if you are good at working with people, in a variety of settings, tell us!  We need people who are adaptable and willing to learn!

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 like it when they ask questions related to research they’ve done about our organization, or what the immediate need it for the position.  Those come off better than immediately asking about benefits, which are listed in the job ad.

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Midwestern US 

What’s your region like?

√ Rural 

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Never or not anymore 

How many staff members are at your organization?

√ 11-50 

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

Please consider whether you are willing/able to move before you apply.  Nothing is more frustrating than finding an amazing candidate, and then they realize moving is not feasible once we’ve made the offer.

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.

2 Comments

Filed under 1 A Return to Hiring Librarians Survey, 10-50 staff members, Archives, Midwestern US, Public, Rural area

I want to hear criticality from candidates, it’s a form of problem solving, but I do not want constant, unproductive negativity.

This former salesgirl, librarian, and sixth-grade school teacher has been repairing and servicing cars which used to be only open jobs for men. National Archives

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Academic Library

√ Archives

Title: Curator of Special Collections and Archives

Titles hired: Processing Archivist, Dance Archivist

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ HR

√ Library Administration

√ 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

√ Cover letter

√ Resume

√ CV

√ References

√ Oral Exam/Structured interview

√ Demonstration (teaching, storytime, etc)

√ 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:

For staff, there is a posting that is reviewed prior to posting by supervisor and HR director, then posted to a variety of library and state job boards. The committee reviews all applicants for qualifications (req or preferred) and decides on a pool to interview virtually. The committee does virtual interviews with candidates, and decides on the candidate they would like to make an offer to, after checking references of the top candidate/s. They make a verbal offer contingent on a background check. The candidate, supervisor, and hr director discuss salary and a pay rate in the posted range is decided upon and if the candidate accepts, a formal offer letter with a start date is created and signed. The faculty process is similar but far more involved, and has 2 rounds of final interviews, one that is short, and a final that is the equivalent of half a day (and still virtual). The committee brings the final candidates to campus after the offer has been made, and the candidate decides after the visit.

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

Framing challenges positively, actually speaking to the position in the application materials.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Indicators that someone is overly critical in unproductive ways. I want to hear criticality from candidates, it’s a form of problem solving, but I do not want constant, unproductive negativity.

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

How they treat people who are more vulnerable than they are.

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Two is ok, but no more

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

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

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

Not speaking to the position announcement, being too general.

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

The usual. Make sure we can hear 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?

All leadership in all roles is relevant. A LOT of people who have never directly supervised people have leadership experience, from school, from life. Writing documentation, training, being a ‘team lead.’ Use it. Play it up.

When does your organization *first* mention salary information?

√ It’s part of the job ad

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

We don’t de-identify application materials, and should.

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

What kind of support they can/should expect.

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Southwestern 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

Leave a comment

Filed under 1 A Return to Hiring Librarians Survey, 100-200 staff members, Academic, Archives, Southwestern US, Urban area

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

It can be easily faked in an interview

Archivist Awards. National Archives

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Academic Library

√ Archives

Title: Librarian, Outreach & Instruction

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

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ HR

√ Library Administration

√ The position’s supervisor

√ A Committee or panel 

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

√ Online application

√ Cover letter

√ Resume

√ References

√ Proof of degree 

√ Oral Exam/Structured interview

√ Demonstration (teaching, storytime, etc)

√ More than one round of interviews 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No 

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

Hiring manager or committee member on hiring committee 

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

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

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Incorrect cover letter and resume- for the wrong job

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

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

How many pages should each of these documents be?

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

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

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

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

Not researching the library 

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

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

How can candidates looking to transition from paraprofessional work, from non-library work, or between library types convince you that their experience is relevant? Or do you have other advice for folks in this kind of situation?

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

When does your organization *first* mention salary information?

√ It’s part of the job ad 

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

Diverse hiring committee. 

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

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

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Southeastern US 

What’s your region like?

√ Urban 

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Never or not anymore

How many staff members are at your organization?

√ 11-50 

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, 10-50 staff members, Academic, Archives, Southeastern US, Urban area

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

Archivist Sara Jackson. National Archives

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Archives

√ Public Library 

Title: library trustee and retired special librarian

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

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ HR

√ Library Administration

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

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

√ Cover letter

√ Resume

√ References

√ Oral Exam/Structured interview

√ More than one round of interviews 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No 

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

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

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

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

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

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

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

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

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Only One!  

Resume: √ Two is ok, but no more  

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

Showing up without having done basic homework about the organization

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

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

How can candidates looking to transition from paraprofessional work, from non-library work, or between library types convince you that their experience is relevant? Or do you have other advice for folks in this kind of situation?

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

When does your organization *first* mention salary information?

√ It’s part of the information provided at the interview 

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

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

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

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

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Northeastern US 

What’s your region like?

√ Urban 

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Never or not anymore 

How many staff members are at your organization?

√ 0-10 

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

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

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

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Archives

Title: Archivist

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

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ The position’s supervisor

√ A Committee or panel 

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

√ Cover letter

√ Resume

√ References

√ More than one round of interviews 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No

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

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

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

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

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Rudeness, difficult personality, and no experience

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

How they truly work collaboratively 

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Only One!  

Resume: √ Only One!  

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

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

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

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

How can candidates looking to transition from paraprofessional work, from non-library work, or between library types convince you that their experience is relevant? Or do you have other advice for folks in this kind of situation?

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

When does your organization *first* mention salary information?

√ It’s part of the job ad

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

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

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

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

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Northeastern US

What’s your region like?

√ Urban

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Some of the time and/or in some positions

How many staff members are at your organization?

√ 11-50

Leave a comment

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