Tag Archives: archives career

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.

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

Don’t check notifications during the interview

Several people look at books and documents at tables in an archives
Reading Room, National Archives, Air New Zealand Building (1985). Archives New Zealand on Flickr.

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Archives

Title: Reference Services Manager

Titles hired include: Reference Archivist, processing Archivist, outreach archivist, research analyst, archives tech 

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ HR

√ Library Administration

√ The position’s supervisor

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

√ Online application

√ Resume

√ References

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No

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

Online applications are reviewed by the supervisor and director to select the interviewees. Interviews are held with HR present. Supervisory positions will often have a second interview with the administration. Background checks are done before references are checked. 

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

The biggest wows are usually the people who don’t look as impressive on paper but interview really well. They have generally reviewed our website and general collections so were prepared to tie their experience to our situation- even things that don’t seem like they would be related. 

Cover letters are the best way to point out how your experience is relevant (especially when it isn’t traditional) and is often what puts someone ahead of another person with similar levels of experience. 

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

If they ask for way more money than is posted for the position (we are government and salaries are pretty set to that range)

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

Not sure. 

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?

Not being familiar with the job description or the basic information about the Institution

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

Yes – try not to have obvious distractions and mute your phone (and don’t check notifications during the interview). 

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?

Directly relate it to lines in the job description or to functions you notice on their website (collections, databases, outreach 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?

I’m not sure we do anything beyond state mandated rules. We don’t have any features that eliminate anyone before they are seen by the supervisor.  Current staff are very conscious about not discriminating (in various areas) and HR might have other ways/procedures that I am not aware of. 

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

Any question that shows that they have thought about the actual position or working for the specific institution. 

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Midwestern US

What’s your region like?

√ Suburban

√ 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? 

Include a cv and relate your experience to the job description 

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, Archives, Midwestern US, Rural area, Suburban area