Tag Archives: librarians

Further Questions: How should job seekers display their degrees and certifications?

This week we asked people who hire librarians

How should job seekers display their degrees and certifications in documents like resumes or signatures (in cover letters or emails)? Should they put “John Smith, MLS, MIS” at the top of their resume or when signing a cover letter or email, or should that information be included elsewhere, as in an education section, or text in the cover letter? Does etiquette change if the degrees are terminal such as a PhD or JD (or the MLS)? What about librarians who hold other degrees beyond the master’s level such as a subject area PhD, EdD, etc.?

Laurie PhillipsNo. I personally think it’s pretentious. It should be in the education section of the resume. I wouldn’t ding someone for doing it, but it’s unnecessary. We require an ALA-accredited MLS (or equivalent degree) for our faculty positions and we do not require any other master’s degree or Ph.D. or Ed.D. Some do for Dean or Director level positions and some do for subject-specific librarian positions (for example, I believe a friend of mine completed her PhD in musicology for a position at UC Boulder, where they have stringent tenure requirements and she’s now teaching in the music school). Many of us have or have had second master’s degrees in a field. I have an M.A. in musicology but I would never put M.A., M.L.S. after my name. For hiring, it’s just not necessary. If someone were applying for a position as a law librarian where a J.D. is required, they might do it, but truly, putting the initials after the name is not necessary.

– Laurie Phillips, Associate Dean for Technical Services, J. Edgar & Louise S. Monroe Library, Loyola University New Orleans

J. McRee ElrodAt least once as initials, e.g.,

J. McRee Elrod,  A.B., MA, MA (CLT), MLIS

 

 

 

– J. McRee (Mac) Elrod, Special Libraries Catalouging

MargaretI personally don’t use my degree as part of my signature, so I really don’t notice it much when others do. Put all your education and degrees on your resume, most definitely, but putting a Ph.D. or JD after your name won’t be something I’ll note in a cover letter or email beyond a superficial sort of acknowledgement. I think those things probably carry more weight in  academic libraries than public, where specialization can be a very important part of the job (like having a Master’s in English and being the library liaison to that department).

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

Celia RabinowitzI think it is important for a job seeker to be sure potential employers know about their academic qualifications and credentials.  A resume or cv will have the person’s educational history and so I don’t think it is necessary to include the degrees (e.g., MLS, PhD) at the top of the document.  I think it is appropriate to put those at the bottom of a cover letter in the signature much as many of us do in our email signature files.  It makes most sense to include required or terminal degrees, but not others.  So – MLS holders already have a BA (or BS, etc.) so it is not necessary to include that.

Including that information in your personal or work email or other correspondence is partly a matter of personal preference, I think.  They can certainly send a message or reminder to our colleagues on campus about our professional preparation which is useful.  That might be preferable to feeling as if we have to tell people we have one, or more, graduate degrees.  So – for job applications and letters be sure you educational achievements are clear (what degrees, which institutions, what program), and for your ongoing digital or print identity, whatever makes you feel most comfortable about you represent yourself.
– Celia Rabinowitz,  Dean of Mason Library at Keene State College in Keene, NH
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.

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Further Questions: Does your institution require any type of training to be part of a hiring committee?

This week we asked people who hire librarians

Does your institution require any type of training to be part of a hiring committee? If so, did you find it useful? If not, what sort of training would be beneficial (diversity, human rights, conflict of interest, etc.)? How do you think training (or its absence) affects candidates?

Laurie PhillipsI’m not sure if our institution requires it but, in the library, we require that every person go through HR’s training on appropriate/interactions with candidates. As in what is legal or not legal to ask or discuss with a candidate. If someone couldn’t be at that training, they could not be a part of the hiring process.

– Laurie Phillips, Associate Dean for Technical Services, J. Edgar & Louise S. Monroe Library, Loyola University New Orleans

MargaretNo, the City does not. We depend heavily on our internal HR people and the City’s HR people to ensure we stick to the rules. As far as I know, the City doesn’t offer any training on hiring, so we just use the advice of our HR crew, best practices and common sense. I think its absence does impact our interviews, to a degree. We sometimes don’t know what the current policies are and I’ve sat on committees with people who don’t have a lot of experience interviewing and can be as nervous as the people sitting on the other end of the table-they can make it worse! If everyone is a ball of nerves, then the whole interview can go pear-shaped.

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

Celia Rabinowitz

All search committees must meet with a representative from Human Resources and with the chief diversity officer of the college.  The standard training is not especially exciting but includes important information about using the job ad criteria for establishing a baseline to evaluate candidates.  My current institution adheres strictly to these criteria and expects the search chair to document each candidate and the reasons why they continue on in a search or are eliminated at any stage. We also have to be sure to use the same set of questions with all candidates.  The meeting with HR give the committee time to begin that work and to review the online file review system.  The diversity officer reminds the committee about how to increase efforts to attract a diverse pool of applicants, and about those pesky questions that are off limits during an interview.

The sessions are useful, especially if you are at a new library or institution.  And committees are different each time and the training sessions or meetings are a good opportunity to be sure everyone is working together from a common set of expectations.

– Celia Rabinowitz,  Dean of Mason Library at Keene State College in Keene, NH

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.

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I’m often unsure as to how much professional experience employers will see me as having

Woman with gun and hunting dogs Tallahassee, Florida by State Archive of Florida via Flickr CommonsThis anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field), has not been hired within the last two months, and has been looking for a new position for Six months to a year. This person is looking in Academic library, Public library at the following levels: 

I apply for anything I think I have a shot

at–I only recently got my MLIS, but have worked in libraries for 10+ years, so I’m often unsure as to how much professional experience employers will see me as having.

This job hunter is in a urban area in the Southern US and is willing to move: I have certain areas I’m more willing to move to, but for the right job, I’m not ruling any location out.

What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?

An emphasis on user services, a comfortable salary range, and location that appeals to me.

Where do you look for open positions?

The big ones are ALA joblist, INALJ, and a weekly joblist email run by the program I graduated from. There are others I check periodically, but those are the big three.

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

√ Yes, and it’s a red flag when it’s not.

What’s your routine for preparing an application packet? How much time do you spend on it?

A few hours to a few days, depending on the job. I’ll usually look over the job posting a few times and look up the institution if I’m not already familiar with it, and I have a couple of form cover letters I’ll tailor to the job posting.

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

√ Other: I’ve exaggerated, but never outright lied.

When would you like employers to contact you?

√ To acknowledge my application
√ To tell me if I have or have not been selected to move on to the interview stage

√ To follow-up after an interview
√ Once the position has been filled, even if it’s not me

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Phone for good news, email for bad news

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

√ Tour of facility
√ Meeting department members/potential co-workers

√ Meeting with HR to talk about benefits/salary

What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?

Be clear in the posting about what the job entails and what the salary/benefits are, try to communicate with job seekers clearly and promptly.What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?

What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?

Be sympathetic to the strain that jobhunting in earnest can put on a candidate. We’re constantly asked to demonstrate our enthusiasm for the job and sell ourselves as the best candidate, while at the same time knowing it might be weeks, months, or never before we hear anything back. It’s exhausting, and anything employers can do to make that easier is appreciated, even if it’s just touching base to let us know we’re still in consideration for the job.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Honestly, I think it has a lot to do with luck. Judging from the number of library people I know who are currently jobhunting right now, there seem to be no shortage of qualified candidates for jobs, so I think there’s probably an element of being the one who says/does the right thing at the right time to catch and hold the employer’s interest.

Are you hunting for a new LIS job? Take the survey! http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibJOBHUNTERsurvey

This survey was co-authored by Naomi House from I Need A Library Job – Do you need one? Check it out!

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Filed under Job hunter's survey, Midwestern US, Urban area

Further Questions: How do you cope with hiring decisions you might not agree with?

This week we asked people who hire librarians

How do you cope with hiring decisions you might not agree with? How might this affect working relationships later on, either with current colleagues or the new hire? If a candidate you think was amazing was not hired, do you have the ability to reach out afterwards to connect them with other libraries/later openings in your organization? Feel free to answer either personally or “for a friend/colleague.”

Paula HammettOver the years of being on many hiring committees, I can say there will be hiring decisions you may not agree with or were not your first choice.

First rule is be gracious and accept the decision (unless you really feel an egregious and/or illegal error has been made). Don’t undermine the committee’s decision. Keep the best interest of the library in mind.

If you were on the committee, respect the confidential nature of the hiring process and don’t engage in backbiting. If it turns out that it was indeed a bad hire, learn from the mistakes to make the next hiring process better.

If you were not on the committee, realize that you might not know all the details and try not to second-guess. For example, I’ve seen awesome candidates really botch their interview or teaching demonstration. I’ve also seen amazing candidates that simply weren’t the right fit for the job that was currently available.

Welcome the person hired with open arms and do what you can to help them succeed.

If you want to reach out to the amazing candidate that wasn’t hired, do so privately. Don’t try to second guess the committee’s decision, simply assure the person of their awesomeness and perhaps look for ways to work with them in other venues, such as conference planning or joint research opportunities. If another job opens up that might be a better fit, let the person know. Simply reaching out can be appreciated.

If you were the amazing candidate that wasn’t hired, don’t give up. Don’t let it destroy your self-esteem. It can be devastating to not get the job you really wanted and felt you were perfect for (or the one you had been doing in a temporary capacity but weren’t hired for when a permanent position came open). Your particular set of talents might not have matched the skill set needed for the position. Don’t let the rejection weigh you down. Keep looking for other opportunities and refocus as needed.

If you were an internal candidate who didn’t get the job, be kind to yourself and recognize that there may be awkward moments with the new hire. Try to be as gracious as possible. It’s not the new person’s fault that you weren’t hired.

It’s a small world and you may well run into the amazing person at conferences or other settings. Greet them warmly and compliment them on their work. I regularly see people we haven’t hired doing fabulous work in other libraries. In the back of my mind I might think, “I wonder how things might have been different if we’d hired so and so?” But for whatever reason, we didn’t, so move on.

– Paula Hammett, Sonoma State University Library

MargaretWell, let’s see. Twice at a previous library I worked at, I had strong objections to candidates who were hired. The main issue was that the candidate pools both times were poor and none of the people interviewed were really very good. I wanted to go back out and re-advertise and extend our reach (publish on listservs nationally, etc.), but both times I was overridden by my superiors who just wanted the positions filled. So, we were saddled with two librarians who were in no way prepared for the job. Both of whom, I might add, left within a year or so of their hiring-one was fired, the other was given a choice of quitting or being fired and chose to resign. I didn’t have much contact with them in the position I was in at the time, but I did try and help when I could-giving them guidance and information. I didn’t blame them, I was more annoyed at the penny-wise, pound-foolish approach management took at the time. They were more concerned with having a warm body in a seat than waiting for the right person to come along.

 

In my current position, I’ve been very lucky. There was one hire that I wanted, but my superiors didn’t, we talked it over and ultimately went with the hire. That person went on to be fabulous at their job, so it worked out well for the library.

 

As for great candidates who don’t get hired, we sometimes do internal promotions and we interview a lot of really good in-house people. It’s really difficult to pick one out a strong field of candidates, so usually what ends up happening is that we hire the best one for that position and we try to further nurture and encourage the unsuccessful internal candidates so that they can grow in our organization in positions best suited to them and their skills.

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

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try volunteer work to pad your resume and show you’re serious

Astor Market - Demonstrating CoffeeThis anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Reference and public service librarians, branch managers, technical service and collection development librarians, archivists

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in an urban area in the Western US.

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

√ 25 or fewer

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 26-50 %

And how would you define “hirable”?

Has that difficult to describe mix of experience, knowledge, personality and practicality.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

HR weeds out people who don’t meet the minimum criteria. Once those applicants are pulled, the hiring committee gets the applications and resumes and each person chooses 5 candidates. Then we all get together, see who we chose (usually it’s a mix of the same people) and choose 5 final candidates to interview.

What is the most common reason for disqualifying an applicant without an interview?

Lack of relevant experience.

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

√ Other: Upon request

What is the most important thing for a job hunter to do in order to improve his/her/their hirability?

Apply for jobs you are qualified for. If you don’t have experience in an area, then try volunteer work to pad your resume and show you’re serious. I have hired people who didn’t have paid work experience, but had volunteer experience, so it does work.

I want to hire someone who is

adaptable

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 10-50

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

√ 2

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

√ 2

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

√ There are fewer positions

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

√ No

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

√ Yes

Does your workplace require experience for entry-level professional positions? If so, is it an official requirement or just what happens in practice?

No, just an MLS, although when we look at resumes, we do tend to interview people who have had some experience in public libraries-even if it’s volunteer.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

It’s changing, not dying.

 

Do you hire librarians?  Take this survey: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibjobmarketsurvey or take other Hiring Librarians surveys.

For some context, look at the most recent summary of responses.

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Filed under 10-50 staff members, Public, State of the Job Market 2015, Urban area, Western US

Further Questions: Do you ask applicants to address diversity as a part of their application materials or during an interview?

This week we asked people who hire librarians

Do you ask applicants to address diversity as a part of their application materials or during an interview? By diversity, I mean the applicant’s experience with diverse populations, working in diverse situations, etc.? If so, is this strictly racial diversity or does it expand to other categories such as age, sexual orientation, economic, etc.? If you do not explicitly ask these questions, why not? Do you have other ways of evaluating this, do you not find it relevant to your hiring, or something else?

MargaretWe do not ask about diversity. The only place we come close is when we sometimes ask if a candidate can speak Spanish. El Paso is a border community and being bilingual is a definite plus. It’s not a deal-breaker, however, because many staffers (myself included) aren’t proficient in speaking it. For El Paso, the issue of diversity isn’t really as relevant as it might be in other urban areas. The city itself is somewhat homogenous, with an estimated 85% Hispanic-majority population, but there’s also a lot of people from different backgrounds brought in by industry and the military that make that other 15% rather diverse and the city pretty progressive. I have found that the staff here (as well as the applicants) reflect the community’s make-up pretty well.

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

Celia RabinowitzThis might depend on the position that is available. Or perhaps it is more accurate to say the type of question might depend on the position.  We might ask someone applying for a position that included a lot of student supervision how they approach student hiring when also considering issue of diversity.  I would also use the term in its most expansive sense and might draw a candidate out into that thinking if it appeared she/he was using a more narrow frame of reference.

I work in a demographically very homogeneous area of the country and the college has a very strong focus overall on adding to our diversity in many ways. So we might want to hear about how candidates think about diversity in the classroom setting, in their participation in the extra-curricular and cultural life of a campus, etc.  If a candidate has noted being active with initiatives at other jobs (with a LGTBQ or other identity group) then we could ask about their work and how they see that work connecting to their library work.

– Celia Rabinowitz,  Dean of Mason Library at Keene State College in Keene, NH

Jacob BergAt my previous place of work we often asked about this, as our library served, and serves, and predominantly minority institution (PMI) population. We asked about “diversity,” that word in particular, and let applicants answer as they saw fit. I didn’t keep tabs on the responses, but it’s my recollection that most or a plurality of applicants spoke to racial/ethnic diversity, followed by age and/or economic diversity.

– Jacob Berg, Senior Librarian, Federal 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.

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Creative, easy to work with, a self-starter/proactive, and tech savvy.

Market scene in Paramaribo This anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Reference Librarians

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in an urban area in the Midwestern US.

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

√ 75-100

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

Applications are screened by the interview committee which consists of librarians, staff, an equity officer and administrators.

What is the most common reason for disqualifying an applicant without an interview?

Lack of appropriate experience.

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

√ No

What is the most important thing for a job hunter to do in order to improve his/her/their hirability?

Get relevant experience.

I want to hire someone who is

Creative, easy to work with, a self-starter/proactive, and tech savvy.

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 10-50

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

√ 1

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

√ 3-4

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

√ There are the same number of positions

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

√ No

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

√ No

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

Libraries are changing, but they are still relevant.

Do you hire librarians?  Take this survey: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibjobmarketsurvey or take other Hiring Librarians surveys.

For some context, look at the most recent summary of responses.

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Filed under 10-50 staff members, Academic, Midwestern US, State of the Job Market 2015, Urban area