Tag Archives: GLAM hiring

This makes me wonder what you’d say about me/my library in the future.

John J. Daley. Photo by Flickr user Archives of the Law Society of Ontario

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Public Library 

Title: Adult Services Librarian

Titles hired include: Adult Services Librarian, PT Library Technician, PT Library Technician II

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ 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 

√ References 

√ Demonstration (teaching, storytime, etc)

√ More than one round of interviews 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ Yes  

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

All of our applications are coordinated through governmentjobs.com. 

1) Initial screening: HR does the initial screening based on the requirements of the position and the application filled out via governmentjobs.com. 

2) Reviewing applications: All librarians have a log in to governmentjobs.com and we evaluate all applicants that passed HR’s initial screening. We then send our top 5 (give or take) applicants to our department head.

3) Department head selects the final list of applicants and schedules a phone interview.

If the job posting is for a PT person in the department, the Dept Head usually has one librarian with her doing the phone interviews and in-person interviews. If the posting is for a librarian-level position, she tries to have all librarians in the department available for phone and in-person interview.

4) After phone interview, hiring committee selects who they want for in-person/Zoom (if they don’t live within a reasonable distance)

5) After in-person interviews, the person is selected.

Our city HR department then takes over again to notify the selected candidate.

Whenever applicants call/visit the library to check in on their application status, we refer them to our City HR. The Library does not respond to these requests.

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

They took the time to look specifically at our library. They made mention of upcoming or recent programs, they read Library Board Minutes, when asked questions about ‘Why do you want to work here’ they had specific reasons for wanting to work at our library. It’s amazing the number of people we interview who I don’t think have even visited our library’s website to learn more about us.

Well thought out and detailed responses. We ask very basic questions relating to customer service and past experiences. Having specific examples is the best. Generic answers are not helpful.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Applicants who speak very negatively about their current or past employer. I understand there’s a reason you want to leave, but you can answer questions without basically trash talking about current/previous jobs. Also, this makes me wonder what you’d say about me/my library in the future.

Being overly negative in general. 

Not having any questions at the end.

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

Willingness to learn. Our staff is learning all the time…new resources that come out, staying updated with technology changes, it can be hard to tell if they will actually be comfortable with constantly learning.

If they will be responsive to our community. We don’t have any questions related to this, so this is our fault. But I want to know if a librarian coming in will be looking at our demographics, looking at our community needs assessment and really create programming and services for our specific communities, not just what they are interested in.

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 having any questions at the end of the interview for the hiring committee. Not researching our library ahead of time if they have never visited.

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

Yes. A microphone that works well and a stable connection to the internet. It is difficult to shine with garbled sound.

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 already value other types of experience. I think that library staff and librarians should reflect the community and bring a variety of experiences to our library. I would highlight any experience you have working with difficult customers. How you are able to problem-solve. I can teach you how to use our library catalog and how to use our library equipment, it’s harder to teach people how to engage well with residents.

Also, are there any experiences in your personal life you can pull from, if you don’t think you have relevant professional experience? Do you manage budgets for your house? Do you coordinate family/friend outings and experiences? That shows me you can research different offerings, make decisions, and coordinate logistics. 

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 city recently deleted applicants’ names and names of their colleges from applications so the hiring committee cannot be biased by names or reputation of the college.

My department prefers to hire staff that have previous library experience or students currently in library school and in my opinion, that greatly reduces the number of well-qualified applicants. I have tried to talk with coworkers and managers about that, but there’s only so much I can do when I am not the manager.

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

Ask me if there are any upcoming projects/programs/initiatives that were not in the job description but that this person would be responsible for or expected to be a part of.

Ask me what are the challenges working in this department and this library.

Ask me what advice I would give to the person coming in to this position.

Ask why this current position is vacant.

Ask about management styles.

Ask about the culture of our department. Is it more team-based or individual-based?

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Other: Texas 😛

What’s your region like?

√ Urban

√ Suburban 

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Never or not anymore 

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, Public, Suburban area, Urban area

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

we don’t have any questions that talk about working with children although we encounter children throughout the library.

Librarians standing behind a shelf in the Reference Collection at Metropolitan State University, on September 4, 2009.
Librarians 2009 (1). By Flickr user Library and Information Services Metropolitan State University

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Public Library 

Title: Assistant Manager

Titles hired include: Youth Services Assistants (PT and FT), Adult Services Assistants (PT and FT), Circulation Assistants (PT and FT), Evening/Weekend Supervisor, Central Librarian

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 

√ More than one round of interviews 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ Yes 

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

Applicants apply online. It is screened by the HR manager and then sent to the hiring managers (my manager and me). We review applications and schedule phone interviews. We select the top 3 candidates and invite them for in person interviews. If necessary, we will conduct a second in person interview. 

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

Knowledge of library practices was a huge plus. Answered questions in a clear and understandable manner. Asked questions.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

When candidates do not understand how a public library operates. 

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

We are limited to a pool of questions that we can ask from. Sometimes these questions aren’t the best for the positions. For example, we don’t have any questions that talk about working with children although we encounter children throughout the library. 

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Only One!  

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?

Focusing only on one aspect of the job.

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

We conduct phone interviews. It helps if they are clear and concise with their answers. Also make sure there is good services/WiFi. 

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 believe it should be relevant to the position they apply for. It should change per person/position. 

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?

√ 101-200 

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Filed under 1 A Return to Hiring Librarians Survey, Public, Southeastern US, Urban area

We’re a public library. A library card is free. Please have a library card.

A woman in a tan suit holds a book. She wears a surgical mask and gloves.
Librarian Regina reviews books to add to the library collections – the work goes on. By Flickr user Michael Neubert

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Public Library 

Title: Youth Services Librarian

Titles hired include: Library Assistant I for YA

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ The position’s supervisor 

√ Other: If a position is of a supervisor/”librarian” level, there may be a committee of admin and/or the position’s supervisor

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

√ Online application 

√ Other: Resume is preferred for PT. Resume and Cover Letter are required for FT.

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ Yes 

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

County HR posts the position 

Applications are checked by an automated system

Approved applications are made available to Library Admin

Admin then send the applications to the manger for the open position 

Mangers review applications and then call people in for interviews 

Managers then offer the job and establish the start date

New Hires must visit county HR prior to start date to complete onboarding paperwork

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

I place more emphasis on in person interviews as so much of the jobs I’m hiring for is based on personality and how well this person will mesh with our kiddos. When it comes to in person interviews, I look for passion. If an applicant can sit there and tell me about why they love libraries, or RPGs, or books, etc. and they have a desire to share that passion and turn it into something we can use… I’m sold. 

Also, We’re a public library. A library card is free. Please have a library card. It’s not required, but if you have a card, I know you use the library, and that’s a great starting point. For people who are moving to town or new to town, this doesn’t bother me as much, but if you’ve lived here your whole life and you don’t have a card… It feels weird that you then want to work here. 

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Mentioning religion or politics in an interview. Sometimes these things pop up in a relevant fashion, such as work experience. But I’ve had applicants ask if we could pray together as part of our interview, flat out ask about my politics/religion, or mention that they see this job as a good chance to talk to kids about religion/politics.

We also see a number of applicants that think a teen center at a public library will function akin to a school setting; as this shows a serious lack of understanding about who and what we are, this is another deal breaker. 

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

It’s hypocritical of me given my response to number 9… but an applicant’s political and religious preferences or rather how vocal they will be about those beliefs. Clashing beliefs can really stress coworkers out and alienate patrons. People can hold different beliefs and still work together/with the public, but not if one party is going to be overtly religious or political. 

I’d also like a better idea of how independent and self motivated an applicant is. The positions I hire for really do need to be independent and self motivated, and if an applicant needs their hand held, or needs constant reminding/encouragement it will mess with the workflow and morale of the department. 

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?

Finding that balance between being professional and showing me who you are and why you’re going to be the best fit for the YA team. I’ve had some excellent, very professional interviews that have left me unsure of if the applicant would get along with my other staff, or if the applicant would be able to build a report with the kiddos; ultimately, I haven’t hired those super professional applicants. 

Ideally, the interview will start professionally, but things may become more lax, or I’ll see that spark of passion and we’ll be able to have a more natural and authentic conversation. 

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

Generally, we do not do phone or virtual interviews. I personally will not do them; I will hold off on an interview for up to a week if it means we can meet in person.

Many years ago when we were seeking a new director, the first round of interviews did include some virtual interviews, but that was an exception given the type of position that was open.

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?

This is an excellent question! And I wish I had a better answer for it…

Applicants should know the type of library they’re transitioning towards, and what those types of institutes are like. For example, if you apply to work at a teen center in a public library, you should expect to have to run/assist with after school/school break programming, and not be as focused on homework help or research papers. This advice is best for the interview stage when an applicant can really show off their relevant knowledge and skills. 

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?

Hiring Managers receive no training in avoiding hiring bias. Our online applications do not ask for age/DOB, sex, gender, or ethnicity so there’s that at least… However, there is other information which must be provided and from which assumptions can easily be made, such as name, address, and hs/college graduation dates. 

I personally do seek out training on bias reduction. Although these trainings are not focused on hiring (often customer service) I feel that some of the information can be translated into hiring bias. I also talk to minority staff about issues with our application process (which is beyond my control, but I do pass along feedback) and how the interview process went and what I as a manager can do to help them feel more comfortable. 

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

I’m not sure what questions I feel like applicants SHOULD ask. If it’s information they NEED to know, I feel like I should provide that in job description or in the interview; I’m not here to trick applicants into asking relevant questions.

But some of the BEST questions I’ve been asked: 

What does the training process look like?

Are there any opportunities for any additional (like CE) training?

What are there chances for upward movement within the department? 

What are your COVID safety policies? 

What are your safety protocols and precautions? (in relation to upset patrons)

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Southwestern US 

What’s your region like?

√ Other: We’re the only sizable city for 90miles, but everything around us is rural; it’s created a very unique environment where despite being located in a proper city, our patrons are mostly rural 

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Other: I do some virtual programming; while I could run this from home I normally run it from work as I’d rather not use up my home internet data.

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, Southwestern US

We are so small and get so few applications that we pretty much interview anyone that looks close

A group of about 50 librarians, in suits
Australian Institute of Librarians’ inaugural meeting at Canberra, August 20, 1937. Photographer A. Collingridge, Canberra. By Flickr user State Library of New South Wales

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Public Library 

Title: Director

Titles hired include: Library assistant, library aide, Assistant Director 

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ Library Administration 

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

√ Cover letter

√ Resume 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No 

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

I post the job, receive the applications, choose who to interview, my assistant director and I interview them, and I decide who to hire with her input 

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Not following directions in posting, resumes or cover letters clearly written for a different job posting.

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

How they work with others

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Two is ok, but no more  

Resume: √ Only One!   

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

Not asking questions of us

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?

Explaining 

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?

Nothing specific. We are so small and get so few applications that we pretty much interview anyone that looks close

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

Show interest in the library and what it does. 

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 

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

We love non-library candidates!

Photograph of Martin Burrell. By Flickr user Archives of the Law Society of Ontario

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Public Library 

Title: Head of Circulation / Bookkeeper 

Titles hired include: Library Associates and Library Assistants (ft and pt clerks) 

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ Library Administration

√ The position’s supervisor 

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

√ Cover letter

√ Resume 

√ Other: We have a short interview and usually ask final candidate for references if they haven’t been offered. 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ Other: Applications through indeed have questions, but candidates can also email cover letter and resume directly and not do those. 

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

We usually post a few places online, indeed and job boards – I go through the candidates and get down to 15-30 possibilities to interview. My boss (library director) and I decide on which of those to interview together. We do interviews with the two of us and make final decision together. 

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

We put an emphasis on customer service – candidates who recognize this as a large portion of the job and give thoughtful, complete answers to these questions are the most impressive. 

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

People who state that they want to work at a library because they “love to read” or “want a quiet job.” 

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

I think self motivation is the biggest issue for us – it’s hard to tell how motivated candidates are unless they’re actually hired. 

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Only One! 

Resume: √ Two is ok, but no more  

CV: √ Two is ok, but no more  

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

Responding as though they didn’t read the job description. 

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

We have, as necessary with COVID and candidates living out of state. Part of the job is tech support for patrons, so candidates who can’t figure out their own tech is a red flag. 

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?

We love non-library candidates! We might be more open than most but most of our questions are geared toward similar experiences, not exact situations from the past. 

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 do have questions on the Indeed posts, which can limit some, even if they can be avoided. We try to look for a variety of people and experiences when interviewing, but there are certain conditions like “lifting weight” which while not strictly necessary for every person, are necessary to have some staff members able to do. 

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 when candidates ask about good and bad parts of our jobs, or the working environment. We do our best to be honest. 

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Midwestern 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 

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Filed under 0-10 staff members, 1 A Return to Hiring Librarians Survey, Midwestern US, Public, Suburban area

Applicants frequently oversell or undersell technical skills

a group of librarians pose under a Reference & Research assistance sign
Relaxed librarians. Photo by Flickr user Library and Information Services Metropolitan State University

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Public Library 

Title: Branch Manager

Titles hired include: Regional managers, records managers, literacy coordinators, dept. heads, evening-weekend shift supervisors, entry-level staff

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ 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? 

√ Yes 

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

Applicants are screened by application software; HR compiles ranked lists of applicants,; hiring committee selects interviewees from ranked list; hiring committee interviews, scores, and selects candidate; HR reviews and vets; job offer is extended by direct supervisor. My role extends from selecting interviewees to job offer.   

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

Immensely thoughtful and knowledgeable response to customer service questions. 

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Unprofessional behavior in the interview.  

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

How well is technical experience reflected in the application and interview; applicants frequently oversell or undersell technical skills.

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ We don’t ask for this  

Resume: √ We don’t ask for this  

CV: √ We don’t ask for this  

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

Rambling answers that don’t address our questions are common.

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

N/A

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 knowledgeable about the work you’re applying for and show me how your prior experience fits that 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?

We’ve changed aspects of screening and ranking, as well the structured interviews we use. Discrimination still exists primarily in the educational disparities in our community, and nation.    

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

Applicants should ask more questions about what their working days will look like, and about what it’s like to serve the whole public, not just folks like themselves. 

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Southeastern 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 

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

None

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

No background checks provided by our HR, so we’re in the dark when it comes to criminal history.

Adam Hunter, Chief Librarian from 1904 to 1921, and women at the laying of the cornerstone for the new public library on Main Street West. August 1, 1911. By Flickr user Local History & Archives Hamilton Public Library

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Public Library 

Title: Maker Librarian (supervisor for library makerspace)

Titles hired include: Library Assistants (“Makers-in-Residence”)

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 

√ Other: proof of degree for management-level positions

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ Yes 

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

Applications are submitted online, admin sends applicants to hiring supervisors, supervisors (such as myself) review the applications/resumes/references and make hiring decisions, then send decision to admin and HR for finalizing process.

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

Well-rounded skillset, confidence in answering questions, asking informed questions before/during the interview, displaying knowledge of good customer service practices.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Lack of basic tech knowledge/skills. Applying for a position advertised as a specific shift, and asking to drastically change that shift’s schedule. Bringing up political/religious affiliations without appropriate context.

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

No background checks provided by our HR, so we’re in the dark when it comes to criminal history.

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Only One!  

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

CV: √ Only One!  

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

Regardless of which department they are applying for, I have a lot of interviewees spend the majority of their interview talking about their love of books and book-based programming. Obviously books are important, but working in a library is about so much more – I want to know what other services/resources our library provides that the interviewee is already aware of, and how they would help expand or supplement what we offer.

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

Virtual interviews are almost non-existent here; we conduct in-person interviews wherever possible, unless a candidate seems like they’d be a strong enough choice to warrant a phone 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?

To me, the best person for the job is someone with a robust understanding of good customer service, is capable of working independently, has a love of learning and a willingness to try new things, and is up-to-date in their knowledge of computer/device usage and research skills.

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?

√ Southwestern US

What’s your region like?

√ Other: Most of the population lives in one city, where our library is located, but there are numerous nearby rural towns that depend on the city for its resources.

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Never or not anymore 

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.

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

How do you plan to live on this wage?

A black and white portrait of a man with a lush beard and mustache, wearing a suit.
William George Eakins, Chief Librarian of the Law Society of Upper Canada, 1891-1913. By Flickr user Archives of the Law Society of Ontario

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Public Library 

Title: Head of Adult and Technology Services

Titles hired include: Children’s Librarian, Head of Circulation, Administrative Assistant/Library Associate, assistant circ 

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ Library Administration

√ 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 

√ Supplemental Questions 

√ 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:

Hiring committee assembled. Job role reviewed and put out to bid. Application submission, invite for an in-person interview, often includes demonstration or hands on skill portion, job offer. We also pick an alternate as well. We will re-advertise until we find the right candidate. 

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

They responded to the job role meaning they researched it. They knew about the organization’s history and community. They were personable, professional and had a wide breadth of experience. 

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

When application process and requirements aren’t submitted. We may still invite them for an interview, but it counts against them if we have to ask more than once for—say— a cover letter. 

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

How will you find housing here? Do you have stable year-round housing? How do you plan to live on this wage? 

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  

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?

Showcase your ability to multitask and learn 

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 a diverse hiring committee and consider it a metric. Our community is diverse, we ask direct service related questions regarding diversity and acceptance.

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Northeastern US 

What’s your region like?

√ Rural 

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, Northeastern US, Public, Rural area