Roger » posted to Roger and lsw
Posted a little piece about some of our hiring practices. Would such an approach be feasible or desirable at your institution? What distinctive recruiting or hiring practices have you seen that you like? http://www.sr.ithaka.org/blog/homework-for-hiring/
The approach of including a way for candidates to demonstrate and apply skill and interest to core parts of a job is definitely very good. On the search and screen committees I've been on at academic libraries, there's always been a candidate presentation on a specific topic for the onsite finalists. It's been a good in some ways, but it's also a focus on presentation skills which may be less important than other skills. ‎- Galadriel
A couple of thoughts about the homework assignment though... ‎- Galadriel
Re: "These exercises may be expected to require as much as 6-8 hours of time from the candidates, and we generally give approximately three days to complete the assignment." -- Three days for 6-8 hours of work seems like a very short time period that could limit the diversity of the finalist pool. Do the three days include a weekend? ‎- Galadriel
For example: those with existing full time positions that couldn't take time off, those with any kind of caregiver responsibilities at all such as parents or those caring for elderly relatives. ‎- Galadriel
(At MPOW we give all candidates their presentation topic 2 weeks ahead of their on-site interview.) ‎- Galadriel
Re: "...in the case of an analyst with qualitative responsibilities, we have shared several interview transcripts and asked candidates to provide an analysis that is organized around a set of research questions." ‎- Galadriel
What happens to candidates completed homework assignments? (both candidates who are hired and those who are not.) ‎- Galadriel
I had homework for one job application but was given at least a week to complete. I agree with galadriel that three days seems very short for that depth of work. ‎- hedgielib
Thank you! Point taken about the number of days in which to complete the assignment. I'll address that more carefully in our next search. ‎- Roger
In terms of what happens to the completed homework assignments, other than internal review nothing really. We haven't used current projects or open issues as the basis for these assignments; only things from the past. So it's not like we are appropriating their labor into our work or anything like that. Was there something else there you were wondering about? ‎- Roger
I've found homework assignments useful to me when asked to do them - if (big if!) there's a reasonable amount of time given, they don't require unusual software or allow enough time I can adapt (don't have Word on my home machine, for example, so having time to write it in another program and then reformat at reasonable convenience on a machine with Word helps a lot), and give me some insight into details of the job. ‎- Jen Arnott
I've liked the ones where I had a choice of a couple of topics (pick 2 or 3 of 5) best, and especially where they were things that helped me reflect on things that helped me other places in my job hunt. (The one I remember was being asked to come up with an elevator speech with a couple of specific things to focus on, but the process made it a lot easier to define something else I cared about expressing in phone interviews.) ‎- Jen Arnott
For on-campus process: I appreciated breaks! But also, several places I've interviewed have had an explict "Here is half an hour with someone who is not on the search committee or in the library, where you can ask questions about the area/school/whatever else." and I really liked that. It often gave me a much better view of the campus and community. ‎- Jen Arnott
@Roger - Thank you for the clarification about what happens to completed homework assignments. I'm glad to hear that it's based on past projects rather than current projects or open issues. I think that if I were a candidate completing a homework assignment, it would be helpful if information about what will happen to the completed work was included with the instructions. ‎- Galadriel
@Jen Arnott @Galadriel thank you both for these additional suggestions. I don't think a choice of topics would work as well because we actually want to be able to compare all the candidates fairly directly using their assignments. We can definitely be sure that we are clear about what is happening to their work. ‎- Roger