Tag Archives: tumblarians

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

This week we asked people who hire librarians

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Paula Hammett, Sonoma State University Library

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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Filed under Further Questions

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

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

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

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

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

√ 25 or fewer

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 26-50 %

And how would you define “hirable”?

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

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

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

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

Lack of relevant experience.

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

√ Other: Upon request

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

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

I want to hire someone who is

adaptable

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 10-50

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

√ 2

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

√ 2

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

√ There are fewer positions

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

√ No

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

√ Yes

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

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

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

It’s changing, not dying.

 

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

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

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

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

This week we asked people who hire librarians

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Jacob Berg, Senior Librarian, Federal Library

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

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

1 Comment

Filed under Further Questions

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

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

Reference Librarians

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

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

√ 75-100

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

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

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

Lack of appropriate experience.

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

√ No

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

Get relevant experience.

I want to hire someone who is

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

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 10-50

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

√ 1

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

√ 3-4

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

√ There are the same number of positions

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

√ No

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

√ No

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

Libraries are changing, but they are still relevant.

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

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

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

Experience is always required.

Paramaribo market scene. Woman seated with baskets of produce. 1922. This 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:

Public Services Librarian, Technical Services/Electronic Resources Librarian, Serials Librarian

This librarian works at a library with 0-10 staff members in an suburban area in the Midwestern 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?

√ 25% or less

And how would you define “hirable”?

Met the minimum qualifications.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

By the Director of Library Services.

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

Didn’t meet the minimum qualifications.

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

√ Yes

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

Apply for jobs for which you qualify.

I want to hire someone who is

appropriate

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 0-10

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?

√ Other: 0

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

√ There are the same number of positions

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

√ No

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

√ No

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 always required.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

It’s a rapidly changing profession.

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

had experience with technology and people of all ages & ethnicities

Pike Place Market looking north, Seattle, Washington This anonymous interview is with an 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:

catalogers, selectors, reference, children’s, managers, web content

This librarian works at a library with 200+ staff members in an urban area city/town suburban area rural area in the Midwestern US.

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

√ more than 200

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 25% or less

And how would you define “hirable”?

Had current degree, had experience with technology and people of all ages & ethnicities, had customer service experience, performed well in interview, had professional cover letter resume.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

Evaluated for education, appropriate answers for supplemental questions, professionalism.

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

Answered no to a supplemental question which means they either don’t have experience working with people of all ages & ethnicities or they don’t have experience with technology.

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

√ Yes

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

Have customer service experience, enthusiasm for technology, and be approachable, professional and outgoing.

I want to hire someone who is

friendly.

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 200+

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

√ 7 or more

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 fewer positions

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

√ Yes

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?

They do not need to have professional experience but they should have some work history.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

It’s evolving. We need librarians to lead services and staff, not to staff reference desks.

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 200+ staff members, Public, Rural area, State of the Job Market 2015, Suburban area, Urban area

Address the ad

Vegetable MArket in Stocklholm 1951 This anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a hiring manager. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

academic

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in an suburban 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?

√ 25% or less

And how would you define “hirable”?

Read the ad and met the qualifications

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

By a search committee.  They see everything.

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

lack of experience

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

√ No

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

Address the ad

I want to hire someone who is

learning

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?

√ 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 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?

√ No

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

No

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

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.

Leave a comment

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