Tag Archives: libraries

It might take a librarian with years of experience who comes to my area years to find a position, or they may get stuck in a paraprofessional position

Charles Elliott, Chief Librarian of the Law Society of Upper Canada, 1914-1922. By Flickr user Archives of the Law Society of Ontario

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Public Library 

Title: Supervisor

Titles hired include: Librarian, reference assistant

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ HR

√ The position’s supervisor 

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

√ Online application 

√ References

√ Proof of degree

√ Supplemental Questions

√ Written Exam

√ 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:

I see it through from start to finish for all positions I hire for, including creating job postings, screening applications, and interviewing. I also participate on panels for other positions. Hiring decisions are ultimately mine although HR does a final review that might trump that (to veto our candidate if there is a relevant veterans preference for another candidate, if someone doesn’t pass the background check, etc.)

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

They seem excited about the position and display some understanding of what the position work entails. They’re able to clearly show a link between past experience and the position they are interviewing for. The experience doesn’t have to be the same type but they should be able to draw connections.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Candidates who don’t understand what library work actually is (ex. they say they want to help people find books and don’t demonstrate any other knowledge of library services) 

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 our library or community.

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

Yes. Make sure you check your audio and video before (you’d be surprised how many people have issues). If you join early and are waiting to be admitted, make sure you are ready to go. Don’t walk away, get distracted, 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?

We all have required anti bias training. We also look at requirements and questions with an equity lens and include BIPOC staff in every interview.

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

Ask us several questions, it almost doesn’t matter what they are! Lots of candidates have no questions—it makes you seem like you aren’t curious, and don’t care about whether the job is a good fit. 

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Western US 

What’s your region like?

√ Suburban 

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Never or not anymore 

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? 

Could add a question about how the hiring market is in your area. Some candidates are shocked how hard it is where I am. It might take a librarian with years of experience who comes to my area years to find a position, or they may get stuck in a paraprofessional position. Being able to move for a job helps if you are set on a specific type of position.

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Filed under 1 A Return to Hiring Librarians Survey, 100-200 staff members, Public, Suburban area, Western 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

If your cover letter sucks, I’m not putting more energy into your application.

Montford Point Marines Training. National Archives

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Academic Library 

Title: Cataloging and metadata librarian

Titles hired include: Acquisitions associate, Collections Maintenance Supervisor

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ HR 

√ A Committee or panel 

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

√ Online application

√ Cover letter

√ Resume

√ CV

√ References 

√ Supplemental Questions 

√ Demonstration (teaching, storytime, etc)

√ More than one round 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:

I have served on three search/hiring committees since coming to my university. Committees are members of the department in which the hire will work, plus a library HR rep, and usually one (but sometimes more) person outside of the department that the hire will be a part of. The committee does the bulk of the work. Supervisors get a chance to meet candidates, typically in a second interview, but cannot give input on the process. The committee makes their recommendations to the provost, and ultimately the provost decides from the candidates put forth by the hiring committee. 

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

They tailored their cover letter to the position. Cover letter, CV, written follow up question responses were all clear and highly organized. They used these opportunities to showcase their written communication skills. They were professional and open in interviews. They tailored their responses to the position, even if their background didn’t align with the duties of the role they’re applying for. They showed enthusiasm about taking on a new role. 

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Lack of clear written communication. If your cover letter sucks, I’m not putting more energy into your application. If your written question responses haven’t been edited. Not following basic instructions in the preliminary parts of the application process, even before the interview.  

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Two is ok, but no more  

Resume: √ Only One!  

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

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

I’ve found people who are too casual are usually not taken seriously. I think this is a more common mistake in the era of zoom interviews (during the pandemic).

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

Yes. Treat it the same as you would an in-person interview. It’s not an excuse to be casual. 

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 has happened a lot and I like hiring candidates with different backgrounds! Make sure you find a way to connect your past experience to the job you’re applying for, even if they aren’t similar. There must be some similar aspects or strengths you can carry from your previous 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?

Hiring at my organization is completely blind until the interview stage. We also take a diversity, equity and inclusion course, as well as a course on examining our personal biases before we can join a 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?

I like when candidates ask about the organization as a whole, and also when they ask about how we see the position evolving over time. 

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Northeastern US 

What’s your region like?

√ Urban

√ Suburban 

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Some of the time and/or in some positions 

How many staff members are at your organization?

√ 51-100 

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

Apply to things even if you don’t meet all the requirements! As long as you can draw meaningful connections between your past experiences and the job you’re applying for! 

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Filed under 1 A Return to Hiring Librarians Survey, 50-100 staff members, Academic, Northeastern US, Suburban area, Urban area

Engaging effectively via online video conference is a good way to demonstrate online teaching approaches.

Kathleen Campbell. [University librarian, Montana State University Library]. NYPL Digital Collections

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Academic Library 

Title: Manager

Titles hired include: Liaison Librarian

Learning Advisor

Coordinator, Evidence Based Practice

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ A Committee or panel 

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

√ Online application 

√ Resume 

√ References

√ Proof of degree 

√ 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:

Written applications from applicants with a statement of claim in response to selection criteria.

Panel of 3-4 including supervisor of role, mix of gender, academic, other library staff reviews written applications and shortlists for interviews. 

The panel interviews candidates and then sorts in order of who closest meets the selection criteria in response to interview questions. 

Referee checks conducted for the preferred candidate. 

If the panel is happy with the reference checks, an offer is made. 

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

Genuine and authentic, confident and well presented through the online interview. Showed high levels of competence in using digital technologies to communicate. Use of varied and detailed examples to supplement responses to interview questions. Demonstrated ability to develop and maintain partnerships, collaborative approaches to work, ability to lead from any position, work independently, manage conflict. Commitment to professional development. Use of a range of strategies for engaging in and contributing to the wider profession. Interest in research and scholarship. 

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Preference to work solely on campus or face-to-face. 

Lack of demonstrated digital literacy skills

Lack of ability to use professional judgment or work independently 

Lack of interest in working collaboratively 

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

Reports of candidates’ performance apart from nominated referees

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ We don’t ask for this Only One! 

Resume: √ 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?

Engaging effectively via online video conference is a good way to demonstrate online teaching approaches. 

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?

Experience in other professions can be relevant in terms of transferable skills, such as developing relationships, critical thinking, teamwork skills, excellent interpersonal skills, high quality verbal and written communication skills, project management skills, stakeholder management skills, digital technologies skills for communication and content creation, leadership and mentoring qualities. 

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?

Mix of gender in recruitment panel

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

What does success look like in this role? What would success look like in the first 100 days? 

What professional development opportunities are available for staff?

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Australia/New Zealand 

What’s your region like?

√ Rural 

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Some of the time and/or in some positions 

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, Academic, Australia/New Zealand, Rural area

It’s students. If they have work study and can read, they’re eligible for hiring

Manzanar Relocation Center, Manzanar, California. A barrack building has been turned into a library… National Archives

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Academic Library 

Title: Circulation Supervisor 

Titles hired include: Circulation & Reference Desk Student Worker

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ The position’s supervisor 

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

√ Other: Apply in person

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No 

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

If we have an opening, I choose students who are available to work the hours I need filled

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

I had a student who was the only one in her class who showed up for in library study. I liked her honesty and approached her and asked if she wanted a job 

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Attitude and being underdressed 

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

If they can count money and knows how to think independently 

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Only One!  

Resume:  √ Only One!  

CV: √ We don’t ask for this 

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

Talking too much

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?

N/A

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?

It’s students. If they have work study and can read, they’re eligible for hiring 

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

What can get them fired 

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  

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

I haven’t had to fill an opening in 5 years so it is hard to recall details

Marilla Waite Freeman. NYPL Digital Collections

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Public Library 

Title: Head of Borrower Services 

Titles hired include: Library Associate, library assistant, shelver

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ The position’s supervisor 

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

√ References

√ Written Exam

√ 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:

Within my department: 

1 post opening

2 phone interview top applicants

3 schedule in person interview with myself and one of my FTE

4 written quiz to test knowledge of dewey decimal and other related skills

5 contact references 

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

I haven’t had to fill an opening in 5 years so it is hard to recall details.  She is still with us, and an excellent employee.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Short one word answers.

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

How well they can problem solve without being micromanaged.

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: √ We don’t ask for this  

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

Short answers. This should be a conversation, not a Q&A quiz.

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?

Customer service relevant.  I’m looking for candidates who can manage the stress of working with the public.  

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.

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

Something that shows an interest in the organization, staff they’d be working with,  details of the job, etc. Asking no questions is a red flag.

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Northeastern US 

What’s your region like?

√ 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, Northeastern US, Public, Suburban area

If you’re over qualified explain why you’re still interested.

Donnell Library. Three librarians around table. NYPL Digital Collections

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Public Library 

Title: Library manager

Titles hired include: Senior librarian, reference librarian, archivist, archives assistant 

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ The position’s supervisor 

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

√ Online application

√ Cover letter

√ Resume

√ References

√ Supplemental Questions

√ Written Exam

√ 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:

The supervisor arranges a panel who screens applicants and conducts interviews. The structure depends on the position and the size of the pool.

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

They clearly understood the position, took time to learn about the organization and succinctly communicated why they were an ideal fit for the position.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

No cover letter or a letter that doesn’t connect with the position we’re recruiting.

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: √ We don’t ask for this  

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

Talking around a question rather than answering it.

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

We do. Make sure your audio and lighting are good and pay attention to what’s in your background.

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?

You should draw those lines in your cover letter and again during the interview.

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 seek to have diverse viewpoints represented on our hiring panel.

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

I appreciate when they ask about challenges and opportunities at our institution and what kind of a culture we have.

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+

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

Please read the job ad. Make sure you’re qualified. If you’re over qualified explain why you’re still interested.

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Filed under 1 A Return to Hiring Librarians Survey, 200+ staff members, Public, Urban area, Western US

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

Not showing up

Reception at the Annual Meeting of the American Association of Law Librarians. Washington, DC. NYPL Digital Collections

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Public Library 

Title: Director

Titles hired include: Library Assistant, children’s librarian

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ The position’s supervisor 

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

√ 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:

Municipality posts jobs, collects resumes, forwards them to me. I interview with another staff person, make hiring recommendation

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

Pleasant, answered every question thoughtfully, seemed like good personality fit

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Abrasive people, drama queens, evasive or inattentive answers

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

Personality fits

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: √ We don’t ask for this  

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

Not showing up

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

Sometimes. We all have tech glitches, roll with them.

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?

Customer service, willingness to learn, don’t assume all last work transfers, please have some tech skills

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?

Anything

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Northeastern 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, Northeastern 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

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, 100-200 staff members, Public, Southeastern US, Urban area