Transparency, Empathy, Empowerment: Reframing Recruitment in Academic Libraries

I have long been critical of our hiring practices and interview models in academic libraries. I have sat on the interviewer side on many occasions watching candidates struggle and flounder, and it’s not their fault. It’s ours.

I have often wondered- what do we think we are measuring by putting candidates through a grueling, repetitive process? What skills or capacities are we hoping to assess that can only be ascertained through a day of grilling and interrogation punctuated with a keynote address presentation? I have been increasingly frustrated by how our coded hiring practices burden, exclude, and disempower candidates, particularly candidates of color and first generation students, how we create opacity around hiring processes, and how we fail to make human connections.

Recently, I have been trying to think through the best means to leverage my newfound power as a department head to challenge traditional hiring practices which must be acknowledged to be well-intentioned but exclusionary at best, racist, ablest, and classist at worst.

Like many, I’m tired of describing the problems in academic library hiring processes (whiteness, privilege, and homogeneity run amok), and I want to act to disrupt them instead, already, now.

That’s why I’m proud to be a part of the work at University of Rochester’s River Campus Libraries, where we’re moving from hiring and interrogation to recruitment and conversation. Please join me and Rochelle Mazar, our Assistant Dean of Academic Engagement, for a twitter chat about our open job opportunities.

#workatRCL

9/11/2017 – 12-2 PM EST

 

Hosted by Rochelle Mazar (@rmazar)

and me (@linds_bot)

#workatrcl 3 owl

Spoiler alert: This is not enough.

But I think that we can at least begin to lay a groundwork for a kinder, more humane, and more productive process. It’s an opportunity to ask us questions and learn more about the opportunities at RCL, and it’s also a chance for us to receive feedback.

I hope you’ll consider joining us for this discussion, and that you may consider joining the team at the River Campus Libraries! At a minimum, it’s your chance to turn the tables and put us on the spot.

Please do!

Note: If for any reason you are unable to participate in our chat through Twitter, you can submit your questions here or via email. I’ll be posting the full Twitter chat transcript here following the event.

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