Recruiting to hire good people (Hiring Series #3)

We need to get them to us before we can hire great employees!

Part of hiring great people is making sure that they are applying to your library! Without a pool of good candidates, you can’t make good people appear.

How do you get these good people? Like so many things: you need a plan. A solid recruiting plan will help you to bring in the good applicants, and give you the best kind of hard choice to make when hiring – picking among people who would all be good in your library.

It sounds hard. Where will you get the time? How will you know if it is working? What kinds of decisions should you be making?

CMLE is here to help you! We will walk through the basic steps of creating a plan here, so you can start working on your own plan for your library. Then, we are here to work with members to finalize their plans, to make decisions, and to help with the evaluation.There are a few things you  want to include in any recruiting plan. First you want to do some environmental scanning of the community. Who lives there? Who is part of your community, but does not use the library? What kind of access are you providing to encourage ELL patrons, or patrons with disabilities, or reluctant readers? Think about the services, materials, and programs you provide now, and those you want to provide in the future. New hires can play a role in getting your library connected and providing better service to everyone.

Second step: look at the jobs you want to fill – not just today, but for the next few years. Different jobs within the library will require different kinds of planning. Most jobs will not require advanced degrees, but will require people who are reliable, relatively organized, and customer-oriented. You want them to reflect your community, so you need to look  at your community for candidates. For jobs that do require advanced degrees, generally librarian or management jobs, you know your hiring will need to expand out beyond your geographic area.

This is where you may want to dream a little bit. Think about the kinds of things you would like to do in your library – expand programming, more outreach – and build in some jobs to handle those things. Look around your library to get a feel for your current staff. Do you know there are retirements coming up? It might be a good time to start thinking about redesigning that job to meet future changes, so you are ready to hire someone who wants to take on new responsibilities. Obviously, if you have populations in your community speaking languages other than English at home, you want to have people with those language skills reflected in your staff.

Third step. Now that you have had some ideas about the skills you need to keep things going, start thinking about where to find those people. (See our prior post about writing good ads.) Definitely put up information on your website about open jobs, regardless of where else they may be posted. Many libraries have their hiring handled by their City HR department, their school, or other parent organization. This is fine, but you want to be sure that when people want to know about your job, the information is on your site because that is where most will start. Then just link to the right place to apply.

Where else in your community would you find people who meet your library’s needs? If you want to hire people who are good with kids, look at places where child care is happening. PTA groups might be helpful, local daycare facilities could provide people. Do you need friendly and outgoing staff members? Write up the information about your job in a way that makes it clear these skills will be important for success. Look at organizations that already exist where people are there because they are interested in the community: United Way, local places of worship, the Red Cross, theater groups – anywhere people may be volunteering or working only part time, and showing dedication to the organization with their time. They may want to be dedicated to helping your library! Look at other organizations that reach out to specific groups in your community: cultural and language groups are a natural place to find people who speak all kinds of languages, art groups may want to work with you on creating local art projects, local athletic groups may provide people who like working with others. Your recruiting plan could make note of these places to potentially find good people, so you know where to send your ad when you are looking for new staff.

Fourth step. Now take all those ideas you  have collected and write them down! You can feel free to go into a lot more detail, but it is not required. It does not need to be perfect, or meet any specific standards. You just want to have all your ideas in one place, where they are easy to find. Then when you are ready to hire new people, you have a plan in place and are ready to go. You know how to identify people you need, you know where to look for them, and you can write a great ad. At that point, it’s just a matter of waiting for the perfect library candidate to appear and apply – and you can enthusiastically bring them on board!

CMLE members – do you want some assistance with writing a recruiting plan? Or to chat about hiring strategies? Email us! We are here to help you with these things!!