Hiring Early Career Professionals with Kindness and Respect: A Practical Approach for Library Diversity Residencies

Annie Bélanger, Grand Valley State University
Scott Ayotte, Grand Valley State University
Sarah Beaubien

Original Citation:

Bélanger, A., Ayotte, S., & Beaubien, S. (2022). Hiring Early Career Professionals with Kindness and Respect. In Residencies Revisited: Reflections on Library Residency Programs from the Past and Present (pp. 93–110). Chapter 6, Library Juice Press.


In 2017, Grand Valley State University Libraries began developing a diversity residency program. The Libraries wanted to go beyond a commitment to diversity and inclusion. The Libraries wanted to move to an active practice of inclusion, equity and accessibility. The early steps were to re-envision its hiring process in collaboration with the Division of Inclusion & Equity, while crafting a partnership towards the diversity residency program.

In critically examining the hiring and work lifecycle practice, we wondered if the interview and onboarding process could be a kinder, more accessible, candidate-focused experience, meant to develop connections. We wanted our library values and our core workplace principlesto inform our hiring practices and the development of our residency program. In combining these two goals, we want the residencies to be learning and growth positions as well as the hiring process itself.

Ultimately, the authors (hereafter we) developed and documented a set of inclusive recruitment and high-empathy hiring practices centered on the principles of equity and accessibility. The practices were implemented as part of the diversity residency hiring process, setting a foundation for a successful interview. We want to support the candidates through the interview process so that we may gain an understanding of their strengths and areas of growth, lowering the stakes on interview skills. This approach was defined by the experiences and identities of the process leads, who understood the challenges of the hiring process, the nerve-wracking anxiety that comes from uncertainty in the process,and the need to improve the on-ramp to the profession.