hiring, inclusive hiring practices, candidates, interviews, empathy, job searches, systemic bias, communications, whiteness, empathy, respect, feedback


Library and Information Science


Our professional values and core principles are meant to inform our practice as library professionals. What if we took those values and principles into the realm of recruitment? How might hiring practices change? What if we brought the compassion and empathy reserved for users to candidates? What if we centered learning as part of the recruitment process? What if recruitment processes moved from a grueling challenge where only the worthy may be left standing to a learning opportunity for all?

The library embarked on a review of their recruitment processes to consider the intersection of diversity, lifelong learning, user-centered practice, empathy, and respect. They believed that they had a social responsibility to the profession to help each other learn what kind of librarian and library professional we want to be. They wanted to provide professional modeling of a strong, confident library where informed risk taking occurs and inclusion is woven right into the hiring process. They hypothesized that by centering the needs of the candidates as we prepare the day, they would challenge their habits and biases to ensure they are doing things that will truly inform their decisions and help them provide feedback to the candidates. They thought that by rooting our processes in empathy and respect, they would remember that they are not only interviewing candidates, the candidates are interviewing the library too. Lastly, they wanted to acknowledge that though job searches will always be stressful, it can be a smoother and healthy process.

The library believed that they could support candidates in their retention in the profession by providing constructive, impactful feedback through a dialogue model; providing strengths and areas of growth. They viewed the hiring process as a component of strong retention in the profession. They wanted the hiring process itself to model the profession we wish to have, one imbued with empathy, respect, and kindness as a way to undermine systemic bias.

This presentation will explore perspectives on inclusive hiring practices from both sides of the table - the hiring manager and the interviewees. In 2018, we conducted our first diversity residency search, which integrated recently developed inclusive recruitment and high-empathy hiring practices used for leadership roles. These practices were subsequently integrated into all hiring searches. The original search committee chair, one of the successful residency candidates, and a tenure-track faculty hired under this new approach, will team up to dissect the hiring process from their perspectives. They will discuss the work behind critically examining the existing hiring process, designing an inclusive recruitment plan, and implementing a new structure in order to ensure empathy towards applicants. They will then discuss the impact of inclusive hiring on perceptions of the work environment, satisfaction with the search, and overall experience of the hiring process. They will also provide practical tips and tools to explore your local hiring practices in order to center empathy as a way to advance inclusive and equitable processes.


This presentation was given at the 2023 ACRL Conference.