Tag Archives: lis jobs

We wouldn’t be interviewing them if we didn’t think they could do the job.

Helsinki School of Economics, library. Photo by Flickr user Aalto University Commons

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Public Library 

Title: Supervisor: Adult & Teen Services

Titles hired include: Librarian, Library Associate 

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ 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

√ Proof of degree 

√ Demonstration (teaching, storytime, etc) 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ Yes 

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

HR sends me and the interviewing committee (IC) all application packets. IC makes suggestions, but the decisions on who to interview ultimately rest with the department supervisor. After interviews, the interviews are scored, references are called, IC again converses about who to hire, but the decision ultimately rests with Supervisor. 

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

Their genuine enthusiasm. They asked questions about what we do and how they would fit into that. Asked if we would be open to trying new programs we haven’t tried before, and just generally were really excited about what we have to offer and how it would fit with what they have to offer. 

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Answering phones, interrupting, Saying they wouldn’t help find information they might find objectionable 

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?

Dial back their enthusiasm

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

We aren’t currently, but we have. I think that just letting their enthusiasm shine through is so important. They have the interview because we already are convinced of their qualifications. We wouldn’t be interviewing them if we didn’t think they could do the job.  

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, both internal and external, is the most important skill in this job. Be thoughtful about the answers to those questions. 

When does your organization *first* mention salary information?

√ We only discuss after we’ve made an offer 

What does your organization do to reduce bias in hiring? What are the contexts in which discrimination still exists in this process?

I *think* the scoring of the interview might possibly do something for this, but I wonder if it really is biased toward folks with more privileged educational opportunities. 

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

What are we doing to help underserved populations in our communities? This is a thing I am always looking for. I wish they would ask what the job is like day-to-day. 

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?

√ 101-200 

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

highlight previous customer service experience and really sell what you are going to bring to the library that they may not already have.

Ottendorfer, Librarian standing at desk, NYPL Digital Collections

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Public Library 

Title: Librarian II

Titles hired include: Library Technician, Library Assistant, Librarian 

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ The position’s supervisor

√ A Committee or panel 

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

√ Online application

√ 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:

We post the position for 2 weeks, review the applications, interview 3-6 candidates,  make the offer, send information to HR for background check, set start date, and let other candidates know the choose someone else. As a hiring manager, I do everything but the steps that HR completes.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Candidates that don’t have conflict management skills. 

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Only One!  

Resume: √ Only One! 

CV: √ Only One! 

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

Answering that they like quiet places and to read. That’s great but we do so much more than that. Make sure to really look at the library’s website and social media.

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

We have conducted virtual interviews in the past but are now back to in-person.

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?

Make sure to highlight previous customer service experience and really sell what you are going to bring to the library that they may not already have. 

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 multiple people choose the candidates 

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

What duties are specific to this position? (We have the same job description for everyone with that title.) What will the first 6 months in this position look like?

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Southwestern 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, Public, Southwestern US, Suburban area

For us, it’s not showing ambition

Paul Brockett, Librarian, Smithsonian Nat’l Academy of Science, 7/19. Loc.gov

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Archives 

Title: Archives assistant 

Titles hired include: Graduate research assistants and interns, but we did just hire a third full time person

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ The position’s supervisor

√ Other: Director

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

√ Online application

√ 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:

They apply and we go through the resumes, once we go through the resumes the director will call them in for an interview and we interview them

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

They had a lot of good experience and a great personality 

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

The biggest thing for us is qualifications and personality. They have to be able to work with the public as well as being able to work on collections

How many pages should each of these documents be?

Cover Letter: √ Only One! 

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?

For us, it’s not showing ambition  

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

We have not 

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?

√ 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, Archives, Southeastern US, Suburban area

Whether or not they are prone to gossiping or lying

Sixth Archivist of the United States Robert Warner Standing in Front of the American Flag and the Cake While Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the National Archives, 1984. National Archives.

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Archives

√ Public Library 

Title: Archives Unit Manager

Titles hired include: Senior Librarian-Digital Archivist; Senior Librarian-Archivist; Librarian 

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ HR

√ Library Administration

√ 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

√ Cover letter

√ Resume

√ References

√ Proof of degree

√ Demonstration (teaching, storytime, etc)

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ Yes

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

Job is posted on city jobs website, with a closing date. Applications are accepted up to the closing date. Algorithms sort applicants by qualified/unqualified. City HR selects candidates they think best meet the criteria and send those to the hiring manager. Hiring manager reviews applications and selects candidates for interviews—usually 3-6, depending on the number of qualified applicants. All Interviews are scheduled on one day. Hiring panel conducts interviews, then meets to discuss candidates and compile scores. Hiring manager notifies their supervisor and HR of the decision, checks references. Approval to make an offer is given. Offer is made, the candidate either accepts, declines, or makes a counter-offer. 

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

Good experience, independent thinker, self-starter. 

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Attitude (especially negativity), telling stories about themselves and previous behavior that indicate a lack of compassion, lack of comprehension of the small community we are in, lack of respect for others

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

Whether or not they are prone to gossiping or lying. The real reason they are seeking the job. 

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 researching the hiring organization prior to the interview. 

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

Lighting, quiet environment without distractions, use a virtual background or pick a clean, uncluttered space. 

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?

Illustrate competencies that apply to both professions. 

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?

Selection of a diverse panel (racial, gender, and job classification)

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

Who our customers are, level of business, “other duties” examples. What their day might look like. What is the culture at the organization? 

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Southwestern US 

What’s your region like?

√ Urban

√ Suburban 

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Other: Rarely. Requires case-by-case approval from my supervisor for my direct reports to work from home. Only in unusual circumstances. 

How many staff members are at your organization?

√ 201+

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Filed under 200+ staff members, Archives, Public, Southwestern US, Suburban area, Urban area

How many hours a day they spend on social media or on the telephone with friends instead of doing the work.

Annual Archivist Awards. Sam Anthony (left). National Archives.

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Academic Library

√ Archives 

Title: Archivist

Titles hired include: Archives technician, Librarians

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

√ Cover letter

√ Resume

√ CV

√ References

√ Proof of degree

√ Oral Exam/Structured interview

√ Demonstration (teaching, storytime, etc)

√ More than one round of interviews

√ A whole day of interviews

√ A meal with hiring personnel

√ Other: Zoom Interview

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No 

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

For archives positions I write the job description. I am lead on interviewing. I can choose the best candidate but must make a good case.

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

They were articulate

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Not having the skills asked for in the job description. Talking about how the job would benefit them, not what skills they would bring to help the institution.

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

How many hours a day they spend on social media or on the telephone with friends instead of doing the work.

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

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

It varies

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

Being comfortable on camera is hard.

Be sure to pick your background appropriately. Sound matters.

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?

From para to professional is hard. Moving institutions is probably the only way to do it. Former co-workers may never accept the change.

All experience is relevant. But there are so many candidates so employers can be picky.

When does your organization *first* mention salary information?

√ We only discuss after we’ve made an offer

What does your organization do to reduce bias in hiring? What are the contexts in which discrimination still exists in this process?

Very little is done to reduce bias. I would suggest training.

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

I think trying to understand the personalities of the people the candidate would work with, and making sure they would like to work with those people. Anything can be done for a year, but long term is hard.

Look at the culture of the organization.

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Southeastern US

What’s your region like?

√ Other: Small town in rural area but less than 45 minutes to a city

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, Archives, Rural area, Southeastern US

Nothing is more frustrating than finding an amazing candidate, and then they realize moving is not feasible once we’ve made the offer.

Archivist Joseph B. Howerton. National Archives

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Archives

√ Public Library 

Title: Executive Director

Titles hired include: Assistant Director, Archives Librarian, Cultural Engagement Coordinator, Library Assistant, Programming & Outreach Librarian

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ Library Administration

√ 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

√ Cover letter

√ Resume

√ References

√ 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 are submitted via online application, with resume’s and cover letters being emailed to myself, Executive Director.  Hiring panel comprised of myself, positions supervisors, and sometimes peers review and rate applicants.  Hiring Panel conducts interviews, often via zoom.  Top candidates have references checked, before offer is made.  

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

Excellent hiring packet, including application, cover letter and resume.  Good communication throughout process, but not overburdening.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

incomplete application, too informal cover letter (like less than a paragraph total), with no greeting or closing.

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

why they want to move to our community, we usually ask, but few if any have an answer. The ones that do stand out.

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 the community they applied to work in.  

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

We do almost all supervisory level via virtual platform.  Have a non-distracting background, and expect a few hiccups, despite good internet connections, sometimes we miss things and may ask you to repeat, it’s ok to ask us to repeat as well.

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?

Focus on transferrable skills, if you are good at working with people, in a variety of settings, tell us!  We need people who are adaptable and willing to learn!

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 like it when they ask questions related to research they’ve done about our organization, or what the immediate need it for the position.  Those come off better than immediately asking about benefits, which are listed in the job ad.

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 

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

Please consider whether you are willing/able to move before you apply.  Nothing is more frustrating than finding an amazing candidate, and then they realize moving is not feasible once we’ve made the offer.

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

If a candidate is unfamiliar with the type of work done in a library, ask!

Captain (CPT) Robert Campbell and Brigadier General (BGEN) Gene Deegan, director, Education Center, assist the head librarian during the ribbon cutting ceremony celebrating the opening of the rare book reading room at Breckinridge Library, Command and Staff College. National Archives

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Academic Library 

Title: Collections Manager

Titles hired include: Gallery Monitor, Student worker

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ Library Administration

√ The position’s supervisor 

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

√ Online application

√ Resume 

√ Oral Exam/Structured interview 

√ A whole day of interviews 

Does your organization use automated application screening? 

√ No 

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

We submit a requisition to HR, noting that this position is specifically for student workers. They post it on our website, and all applications come directly to the position supervisor, who arranges interviews and hires candidates.

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

They were outgoing, and didn’t hesitate to look me in the eyes. They were clearly nervous, but not enough to throw them off. They readily answered questions and displayed interpersonal skills, making small jokes and smiling a lot.

What are your instant dealbreakers?

Not displaying skills- whether it’s on your resume or in the interview, if you can’t tell me why you’d be a good addition, it’s not going to work out.

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

Their work ethic.

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: √ Two is ok, but no more 

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

Being too nervous to look me in the eye. Answering a question too quickly without thinking a little more.

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

Pick the right background! Don’t be in bed, and present yourself as if you were at an in-person interview. Check everything on your computer beforehand- sound, video, background, lighting.

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?

If a candidate is unfamiliar with the type of work done in a library, ask! For example, if the candidate previously did typical office work, I would want to know that they’re familiar with multi-line phones and learning a particular organizational system. So if the candidate asks what a typical day is like at my library, I would throw out a few basic tasks. Then they could demonstrate their skills in those areas.

When does your organization *first* mention salary information?

√ It’s part of the information provided at the interview 

What does your organization do to reduce bias in hiring? What are the contexts in which discrimination still exists in this process?

Unfortunately, we are incredibly behind in that process.

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

I want a candidate to ask deep details about the job- upcoming projects, how they can succeed in this role. I want us to talk about their personality and goals, and make sure a potential hire is a good fit. A candidate should ask not just about the job itself, but the culture, the hours, the pay.

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?

√ 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, Academic, Southeastern US, Urban area

Benefits. They vary a lot and may not be a good fit for you

Photograph of Dr. Wayne C. Grover, Archivist of the United States, and Dr. Luther Evans, Librarian of Congress, Unveiling the Shrine. National Archives

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ (Corporate) Archives

Title: Archivist

Titles hired include: Associate archivist, information architect

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ The position’s supervisor 

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

√ Online application 

√ Resume 

√ References 

√ 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:

After applying online, candidates are narrowed down by recruitment and the supervisor of the role. Depending on the role, there’s the recruitment interview, supervisor interview, and the team interview. A selection is made and the offer stands for a few weeks

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

They had a detailed plan, as if they already had the job.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

Rudeness or disrespectful of team mates 

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

How they will communicate when stressful personal matters are affecting their work and how we can support them

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 preparing their own questions

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

Yes, to not stress out about your background environment if you couldn’t find a peaceful place. Sometimes, homes are chaotic

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?

Apply it to the role. There’s always transferable skills

When does your organization *first* mention salary information?

√ Other: Only brought up when there’s an offer or is asked during the interview.  

What does your organization do to reduce bias in hiring? What are the contexts in which discrimination still exists in this process?

Recruitment goes through training and we’re audited by a 3rd party

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

Benefits. They vary a lot and may not be a good fit for you

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+

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, 200+ staff members, Archives, Urban area, Western US

Confident, energetic, focused, poised

Photograph of Dr. Hermann Robinton, Assistant to the State Librarian, Albany, New York, Turning over to Dr. Wayne C. Grover, Archivist of the United States, Some of New York’s Most Treasured Documents to be Preserved and Rehabilitated for Display on New York’s Freedom Train. National Archives.

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Archives

√ Public Library

Title: Head of Special Collections

Titles hired include: Archivist (I-III), Lead Archivist, Librarian (I-IV), Senior Library Specialist

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 

√ References

√ Proof of degree

√ Supplemental Questions 

√ 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:

Referred applications from (non-library) HR sent to hiring manager. Revise/update job posting and interview questions. Select applicants for interview. Interview with a panel. Score and select candidates for either an offer or second round interviews (dependent on position). Reference check, including request for copies of transcripts. HR completes background check and offer.

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

Confident, energetic, focused, poised, had clearly done their research about the organization and the position.

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

Workplace preferences and current work/professional priorities

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?

Not researching the organization, not being  familiar with the job posting

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

Yes. Test out your setup ahead of time. Just like with in-person presentations, have a back up plan.

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?

Involvement in the library professional associations, volunteer work in the areas of interest, educational training and development (from full degree program to one-time workshops)

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?

Required training and completion of acknowledgment form before joining a 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?

What is a typical workday for this position? 

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Southwestern US 

What’s your region like?

√ Urban 

Is your workplace remote/virtual?

√ Never or not anymore  

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

if a routine social media scan or other screening reveals a belief in conspiracy theories or misinformation, a library is not an appropriate workplace for that person.

Isabel Miller and Barbara Gittings hugging librarians. NYPL Digital Collections

This anonymous interview is with someone who hires for a:

√ Public Library

Title: Director

Titles hired include: Program Coordinator, Library Assistant, Summer Reading Program Coordinator

Who makes hiring decisions at your organization:

√ Library Administration

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:

Post a job, schedule an interview, make a preliminary decision, check references, make an offer. I am involved at all levels.

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

Able to anticipate needs–either from a customer service perspective or a library perspective. And a strong service orientation–patrons are not “interrupting” your work they ARE your work.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers?

We do request a criminal record check. Also if a routine social media scan or other screening reveals a belief in conspiracy theories or misinformation, a library is not an appropriate workplace for that person.

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

How they’ll mesh with the team. Whether they’re someone who has good work follow-through or skates by on charm and personality.

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?

Honestly, not prepping at all. No evidence that they’ve looked at the library’s website, know about its services, or have opinions on how things might be done or what the library is doing well/poorly.

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

Don’t be afraid to ask follow up questions. Interest in the institution and the particular place of employment goes a long way.

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?

It really depends what skills I’m looking for. Library Assistant skills can be taught. Library values and knowledge about the library ecosystem are valuable for more senior positions since we have a small team without a lot of time/budget for getting people up to speed. In general though strong service orientation, strong technology skills, and willingness to jump into anything right away (flexibility and enthusiasm) are things that I consider to be important.

When does your organization *first* mention salary information?

√ It’s part of the information provided at the interview 

What does your organization do to reduce bias in hiring? What are the contexts in which discrimination still exists in this process?

We try to hire to reflect our community and specifically for more diversity on staff. In terms of actual mechanisms, we have an equity statement on job ads and sometimes we post the positions with organizations that have connections in various communities, but that’s really about it. Put like that, it sounds like we should be doing more.

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 makes it clear that they understand the position, know something about the library in relation to that position and that they’re interested in learning more about the library, the community, the work and have something to contribute.

Additional Demographics

What part of the world are you in?

√ Canada 

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 

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, 10-50 staff members, Canada, Public, Rural area