Tag Archives: interview prep

Further Questions: Do employers even look at portfolios?

This week we asked people who hire librarians

What is your perspective on portfolios, especially if they are mostly comprised of class projects? Some library schools build them into coursework as a graduation requirement. Are they useful or influential in the hiring process? Do employers even look at them? If so, does format (electronic vs. print) matter?

Christine Hage - Dark backgroundNot really interested in portfolios.  Sometimes the web pages are interesting, but I haven’t seen anything super impressive.
I’m much more interested in personality.  What kind of work ethic does the person have?  What kind of customer service skills?  Do they have any library experience?  Have they worked anywhere as a volunteer?
– Christine Hage, Director, Rochester Hills Public Library

I’ve never been given a portfolio as part of an application. Resumes, yes, but portfolios, no. I’m not sure when it might be useful, unless I was advertising for a very specific job and the portfolio showcased skills needed for that position. But for the kinds positions I’ve hired-general reference or public service librarians, I can’t really think of how a portfolio could be any more helpful than a well-crafted resume and/or solid work experience.

– Margaret M. Neill, Regional Library Branch Manager, Main Library, El Paso Public Library

Julie TodaraI like it when applicants send or bring portfolios to the interview. While it is not practical to think that employers would look at it during the interview, it is great to have someone provide something to review post-interview. Also, it is my opinion that employers understand that recent grads have content from their coursework. With that in mind; however, it is important that people choose class projects that relate to the jobs they want…so if you are applying for work with me at the college and it’s for reference, a portfolio of technical services projects (or visa versa) – while helpful by design and delivery – is less helpful than a reference class project. If that’s all you have for us though…connect the dots for me…that is, indicate what about it contributed to or formed your skill sets…. the instructional design, the webpage success illustrated by metrics, etc.
I also love to get podcasts, streaming video, a CD/DVD of a body of work OR a webpage designed by the applicant. That being said, you need to have been responsible for all of it…so a LibGuide or SubjectsPlus or a teaching or IL presentation should be content ONLY from you.
So they ARE helpful or useful and can be influential (especially when the content relates to the institution you are interviewing with)…YES, we look at them and while the general format answer is “it depends” in today’s market you can prepare something in print but I would have a e-component to it.
– Julie Todaro, Dean, Library Services, Austin Community College

I have found portfolios to be very helpful, especially when hiring librarians for children’s work. And for a position in Graphics, it was essential.

– Kaye Grabb, Lake Forest Library

Thank you as always to our contributors for their time and insight.  If you’re someone who hires librarians and are interested in participating in this feature, please email us at hiringlibrariansquestionsATgmail.com.

Thank YOU for reading!  If you liked reading, you’re going to really love COMMENTING.


Filed under Further Questions

Your Monthly-ish Reminder: Interview Questions Repository

Have you been on a library interview recently?  Or are you prepping for one?

Sounds like you could use The Interview Questions Repository!

If you’ve had a library interview recently, help this resource grow by reporting the questions you were asked:


or by sharing this link widely with your friends and colleagues.

If you are about to go on an interview, use the spreadsheet:


to help you prepare.

Top tip: Switch the spreadsheet to list view, in order to be able to limit by answers – you can choose to only look at the phone interviews at public libraries, for example.

Bottom tip: For respondents, you should be able to edit your answers, if you think of something to add, etc.

You will also always be able to find these links in the sidebar to your right —>

If you’d like to respond to any other surveys, or otherwise participate in this blog,

this page

will give you links and options.

Thanks for reading, readers!  Thanks for contributing, contributors!

If you think a repository of questions  that people have been asked in library interviews is a useful tool, please help keep it dynamic and relevant by sharing this post with at least one person today.  Thanks!


In other news, my husband and I are so close to having just purchased our first house (stupid forever-taking escrow).  This means I am *extra* busy, living out of boxes and organizing my stuffs.  I think I’ve got posts scheduled far enough in advance that you shouldn’t notice any interruption of Hiring Librarians service, but on the off chance you do…. that’s why.  Please forgive this poor new homeowner (new homeowner!).



Filed under News and Administration