The director of our very tiny library is on maternity leave and I have been “volunteered” to handle the pages. In the last 2 months I have interviewed, fired and hired about 5 people. Here is what I have learned, the hard way.
- No one reads a job posting, looks at the requirements and THEN check to see if they have the necessary requirements.
- Even if you tell someone (multiple times) that paging is often difficult and frustrating job, everyone seems surprised that it is difficult and frustrating job.
- People think it is a good idea to wear flip-flops (or slippers!) to work-even when they have been specifically told to wear appropriate footwear.
- One cannot assume that people know the alphabet.
- Not everyone cares about the library as much as I do.
By the time I was hiring person number 3, I learned a few things.
- Pre-screen with a phone call before wasting time with interviews.
- Point out all the job “negatives” : kids/parents that constantly mess up the shelves, snow shoveling, weird patrons, etc. Emphasize that you are never “done” shelving or shelf reading. The books just keep coming.
- Ask how a potential employee stays organized.
- State, out loud and in the job description, expectations for dress/shoes, timeliness, and any other deal breakers.
- Remind every interviewee that not everyone is cut out for library work and that you have no problem letting people go.
Even if you do everything right, you can still be wrong in hiring people. The best you can hope for is to minimize the mistakes. No one really ever shares their real self in a job application or an interview. Think of interviewing as going on a really questionable blind date.
In other news, I really want my boss back handling this stuff. I’m better at the reference desk.