30 April, 2008

How to employ a librarian

Well, inspired again by the writing of Hunter S Thompson it is time for some Gonzo Librarianing. Not that I need much inspiration to write stream of consciousness rants about whatever pops into my oversized brain.

So today’s rant is the introduction to a few posts about the interesting life of a librarian between jobs.
It is a strange thing to be on the opposite side of the job process after having spent five years as the one with the power.
I’ve been writing job ads, rewriting job descriptions, sitting on and chairing panels, calling referees and mostly arguing with the morons who populate HR about who is best for the job and why people in HR should sometimes shut up and stay out of the way.

I’m now in a position where I have given more rejections than I am ever likely to get. I know from experience that the best person for the job probably didn’t apply and if they did then the chances of the interview process showing us which person it is, is slim to none. Furthermore I know what it is like to sit back and say “well any one of the people we spoke to could do the job, what are we going to tell ourselves is the reason we chose this applicant to get a yes?”
Sometimes it is something obvious, like one applicant annoyed me in someway I can’t define. Or one panel member has a strong opinion while the others couldn’t be bothered arguing. Other times there is so much arguing you would not believe it, those are the times when you need to be either one of two things.

The first (and best) option is to be the chair and roll on over the top of everyone else while saying “It’s good to be the King”.

The second option is to be detached, to be the person on the panel whose job isn’t going to be made complete crap by the stupid decision that the chair is trying to steam roller you into making.

If you are stuck as the poor bunny who is going to have to teach the moron that someone else is demanding you employ their job. You may well be stuck in a position where you are as helpless as all those poor applicants, just a victim of the process. You when you have to work with a moron and the moron who is probably a nice person but who is about to get dropped into a world where they know nothing and are going to have to rely on an angry co-worker to teach them what they lied and said they knew.

So that is the process which I have recently entered into from the other side, more adventures in job applications to come…

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