Tag Archives: LIS hiring

Many applicants can spin related experience to their advantage

Fish MarketThis anonymous interview is with an academic 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, instruction, outreach, electronic resources

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

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

√ 25-75

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 26-50 %

And how would you define “hirable”?

meets minimum requirements, shows interest and enthusiasm for position, writes engaging cover letter

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

search committee reviews all applications, looks for required and desired qualifications, committee meets to see which candidates are top choices for all members

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

doesn’t meet minimum qualifications (example, no MLS if required or no teaching experience if required)

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?

tailor the cover letter to the job and let the potential employer know what they can bring to the job, rather than focus on what the job can do for them

I want to hire someone who is

enthusiastic

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 more 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

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

official requirement although many applicants can spin related experience to their advantage

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

definitely changing, but 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, Academic, Northeastern US, State of the Job Market 2015, Urban area

We will occasionally choose to interview persons who do not exactly meet our criteria

Market scene in ParamariboThis anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a hiring manager, a member of a hiring or search committee, a human resources professional, and a non-library organization executive. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

all

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in a suburban area in the Midwestern 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?

√ 25% or less

And how would you define “hirable”?

meets the requirements outlined in the position announcement; holds appropriate degree and experience

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

HR does not review library application – we will occasionally choose to interview persons who do not exactly meet our criteria because of past experience or training. Applications are first reviewed by the search committee chair. Those that appear to fit our needs are then shared with the entire committee. A base list of candidates is identified for telephone interviews conducted by the committee. From the phone interviews, three candidates are selected for on campus interviews. Once those are identified, the application materials are shared with the rest of the library personnel. All candidates brought to campus meet separately with the Associate University Librarian and the University Librarian.

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

Lack of qualifications, poorly composed application ( applying for wrong position or some other institution’s position – demonstrates a lack of attention to detail).

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

√ Other: If asked, we will give general feedback; not detailed

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

Read the position announcement carefully, address the key points of the position clearly and concisely in the application letter, check spelling and grammar, provide some detail to stand out as a strong choice for the advertised position.

I want to hire someone who is

prepared

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?

√ 3-4

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

√ 1

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

√ There are more 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

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

We prefer experience, but frequently hire new professionals with minimal or no library experience.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

Academic librarians need to serve in a teaching role, rather than a caretaker role. Incoming students may be technology users, but they are not natural researchers. Our role is to guide them through the process and equip them with the appropriate skills for the future.

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 0-10 staff members, Academic, Midwestern US, State of the Job Market 2015, Suburban area

We have hired new librarians

Man selling artichokes at vegetable market in Stockholm 1951This 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 children’s librarians, branch managers

This librarian works at a library in a suburban 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?

√ 51-75 %

And how would you define “hirable”?

Have required education and experience.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

Interview committee of 3 people (staff who will work with new hire and branch manager) see all applications and evaluate them.

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

Applicants don’t have specific experience we are looking for.

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

√ Other: always a thank you letter. Other feedback is given if requested.

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

Be specific and complete in applications, resume and cover letter. In interviews, tell us what you can do and like to do. Give us enough information, but don’t be overly talkative. Be enthusiastic!

I want to hire someone who is

customer-oriented!

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 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?

Experience is preferred but not required for professional positions. We have hired new librarians.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

Librarianship doesn’t mean exactly the same thing as it did 20-30 years ago, but we still need librarians! Our knowledge base has changed, and we no longer work in a single area. We need to be more diversified.

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 Public, State of the Job Market 2015, Suburban area, Western US

Be bold — take a chance and apply for positions that excite you

Market scene. Women and men. 1922 2This 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:

Catalogers; instruction librarians; reference librarians / subject liaisons (though a second masters in a subject specialty is not required); electronic resources librarians; digital resources librarians; special collections/archives librarians; government documents librarians

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in a suburban area in the Southern 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?

√ Other: about half

And how would you define “hirable”?

Possessed the required MLS degree (or equivalent degree).
Had at least minimal experience being in a library, whether paid or unpaid, for instance as a volunteer, student worker, or graduate-school intern.
Able to present himself professionally in cover letter and application (used appropriate language and style, demonstrated good writing mechanics, etc.).
Demonstrated something compelling about himself as an applicant (e.g., not just “I had a job” but “I accomplished this and contributed this value to my employer”).
Ability to communicate clearly and professionally during a telephone interview (providing complete yet concise answers and not babbling incessantly).

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

Applications are submitted in an online system and visible to a committee (composed of library faculty and staff, appointed by the library director). The committee weeds out applications which lack posted requirements, such as MLS or equivalent degree, or years of experience if required for a particular position. Then the committee evaluates the remaining applications and selects the top three candidates for telephone interviews, which are scored on a rubric. Based on those telephone interviews, candidates are invited for on-site interviews (after references are checked) or else additional applicants are selected to be interviewed by phone.

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

1. No MLS or equivalent degree.
2. Signs of frequent “job-hopping” in the employment history, or unusual gaps in the employment history which are not explained in application or cover letter.
3. Extremely poor writing and presentation in cover letter and application.

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?

Ask a professional, or someone you trust and respect, to review your cover letter and application for clarity, professionalism, and a compelling presentation of your achievements and contributions. Your cover letter is your first impression, long before you get a chance to make a first impression in person, so be sure that it presents a person with whom we would be excited to have a conversation.

I want to hire someone who is

enthusiastic

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?

√ 3-4

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 more 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

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

Entry-level professional positions do not officially require experience. In practice, we tend to prefer candidates who have at least had “exposure” to a library via a graduate school practicum/internship or even as a volunteer. However, we do regularly hire entry-level professional librarians with no paid library experience.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

Titles may change, and daily tasks may change, but information management is becoming more essential than ever in our information-overload society. I think one important key to remaining relevant is to be able to articulate your skills in the broader terms of information management, not just in terms of traditional libraries, books, serials, etc. Remaining relevant also requires a willingness to diversify and learn new skills, especially with respect to technology.

Do you have any other comments, for job hunters or about the survey?

Be bold — take a chance and apply for positions that excite you, even if you aren’t sure you have all the needed skills. You might be surprised how small or poorly qualified an applicant pool can sometimes be, and if your application presents you as a compelling, enthusiastic, motivated candidate, that may count for more than specific skills which can be learned.

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, Southern US, State of the Job Market 2015, Suburban area

Internal candidates can receive interview feedback with HR

Woman at a market stallThis anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee.

This librarian works at a library with 50-100 staff members in Canada.

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

√ 25-75

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 25% or less

And how would you define “hirable”?

Met the education and experience requirements

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

HR weeds based on required experience and union affiliation for internal positions. If applicant pool is still too large HR weeds based on additional qualifications (public library experience vs other, length of experience, how recent is experience). Then interviews with hiring committee of HR and librarians

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

Lacking required education or experience.

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

√ Other: Internal candidates can receive interview feedback with HR

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

Be sure to clearly demonstrate how you meet the listed requirements or you won’t get past the initial screening.

I want to hire someone who is

adaptable

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 50-100

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?

√ 7 or more

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

√ There are more 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?

Not required, but preference may be given to those with experience.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

Librarians always adapt to provide a variety of services to their communities. It may look different than the past but will always be a vital role.

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 50-100 staff members, Canada, Public, State of the Job Market 2015

good salary ($40,000+)

Hunter and Daughter before Sunset Waiting for a Deer...National Archives at College Park via Flickr commonsThis anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field), has been hired within the last two months, and has been looking for a new position for less than six months. This person is looking in Academic libraries, Library vendors/service providers, Public libraries, and Special libraries, at the following levels: Entry level, Requiring at least two years of experience, Supervisory. Here is this person’s internship/volunteering experience: 

I had two internships, one doing online chat reference in an academic library, and the other analyzing library budgets and usage statistics. I worked in several student library jobs throughout library school, as well as working at a public library during schools breaks. I also volunteered in a student organization that runs the local jail’s library.

This job hunter is in an urban area, in the  Midwestern US, and is willing to move anywhere, but

prefers some locations over other.

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

good salary ($40,000+), enjoyable and varied job duties, pleasant environment (the feel of the library itself as well as the general geographic area)

Where do you look for open positions?

ALA Joblist, INALJ, HigherEdJobs, Music Library Assocation website, GovernmentJobs.com, reference and cataloging listservs

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

√ Other: I’ve seen so many ads with no salary listed that I don’t expect to see it, but employers really should list a salary so that I’m not wasting my time or theirs if it turns out to be too low.

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

At the beginning of my application process, I spent a lot of time revising my resume and writing cover letters. It takes less time now that I have several good cover letters already written and can copy/paste relevant information from them into a new cover letter. Right now my applications take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours depending on the length of the cover letter as well as any online application I have to submit.

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

√ Other: I strive for truth, though I have a few skills listed on my resume that are rather “rusty” at this time.

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
√ Once the position has been filled, even if it’s not me
√ Other:  To tell me the timeline of the interview process, or inform me of unexpected delays in the process

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Email

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
√ Other: Asking questions about the institutional culture and any future challenges the staff can foresee.

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

Provide a salary range in the job ad, and make the salary worth my time to apply. I have student loans and can’t realistically work for just $26,000 per year. (Yes, I’ve seen salaries this low!)

Remove the requirement for a second master’s degree or a certain number of years’ experience if they aren’t relevant to the job’s duties. There aren’t enough entry-level jobs being advertised right now. I have worked at several libraries while earning my master’s degree. I have lots of library experience, but not at the professional level, and I haven’t had the chance to work at just one job for years at a time, as implied in many job ads.

Advertise on as many websites as possible, and contact library schools so they can send the job ads to any interested students and/or recent graduates.

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

Let applicants email their cover letter and resume to the hiring manager. Forcing applicants to use a complicated online application system may lead to fewer people applying for the job. These systems are often redundant, as they require you to type out your entire work history, references, etc. when they are likely already on your resume.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Determination–send out lots of applications!
Experience–get as many varied experiences as you can while in library school.
Writing skills–being able to explain your qualifications in a cover letter while putting a positive spin on less-desirable facts such as a lack of professional experience.
Luck–even the best applicants may not find a job for a long time.

Do you have any comments, or are there any other questions you think we should add to this survey?

What qualifications do you often see in job ads that you are uncomfortable with (e.g. a second master’s degree, or experience that is difficult to get while still in school)?

For some context, take a look at the most recently published summary of responses.

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