Criteria Recruiters look for in LIS graduates!

A librarian friend was recruiting library staff for her library. She requested me to forward couple of ‘bright’ freshly minted LIS graduates. Since I am so active on various social media I have both recruiters and students approach me. I asked her what she required. Her criteria was simple:

  1. Well Dressed
  2. Communication Skills
  3. Soft Skills
  4. Social Media savvy but not addicted to smartphones
  5. Common Sense – given priority – over gold medals

I asked her if she needed trained LIS graduates working as ‘Trainees’ or ‘Apprentices’. She said it was not necessary as her company would be training these new recruits in their company ‘culture’. They infact preferred untrained hands as it was easier to teach them rather having trained people unlearning what they had already imbibed in previous environment!

Students please note what the companies are looking out for.

That 90% marks is not a prefferred ‘mandatory’ quality as it can be got by ‘learning by rote or mugging’ or copying! Very few students actually understand the concept and get the 90% and these individuals are always placed in lucrative jobs. But the rest who are ‘average’ have a problem in placements as they are huge in number and get ‘average’ placements.

So what is the ‘X’ factor that will land you a ‘coveted’ job?

Note the above  factors mentioned in addition to constantly reading, searching and researching as well as updating oneself – on and with  – the various tools and technologies available that can be implemented in personal and professional sphere.

Firstly populate your social profiles like LinkedIn, Facebook and LinkedIn as its an online CV that is seen by most recruiters who may get in touch with you offering you a job seeing your skill set.

Do not overshare or undershare information. Do not opinionate on any particular issue – be it possitive or negative. Try to share ‘mostly’ subject related information interspersed with personal photos and hobbies. These profiles are checked by ‘most’ recruiters now-a-days. If you constantly post selfies and second to second iternarary of what you are eating and where you have been – it is taken as self obsession and considered negative as recruiters would assume you would do the same on the job wasting companies valuable time. If you do not post regularly then it is taken as you are anti-social.So moderation is the key!


So next time when you attend and interview for a job, please keep this in mind.

You are ofcourse shortlisted due to the CV you had submitted. So ensure to give a updated CV/Resume/Bio. Always carry extra set of CV. It has been observed that ‘most’ people inflate and exagerate in the resume about their skills. So interviewer sets up an interview to see if you display the skill set you mentioned on paper.

Emphasis is given to dressing well as it is the first thing someone notices when they see you by then they do not have access to your marksheet for confirmation. An article on Forbes says “Did you know it takes only three to five seconds for someone to form a first impression? ” (Source: 5 Tips To Create A Positive First Impression ) . If you dress well and make a good first impression then half your battle is won! Follow Formal dress code. In Indian context it includes Saree or Kurta Pyjama for women and Shirt and Trousers for Men. It is frowned upon in most ‘Indian’ institutions to wear skirt although trousers is acceptable for women. Tie and suit is looked on favourably on men. Dont wear informal dresses or footwear or heavy jewellery. Professional attire without heavily accesorising. Well groomed appearence is a must for all.

But there are thousand others who have smiliar CV, marks and are also well dressed into bargain.

What is that sets you apart from the competition? 

When you enter the room where you are asked to sit till your turn comes.

Always remember – CCTVs are available in most offices and your entry and behaviour with fellow interviewees may be monitored to check candidates for leadership qualities or team working spirit. Display all your soft skills. Dont be too forceful or opinionated at the same time dont be mousy or hedge. Dont blend into the furniture. Most importantly dont stare at your smartphone or chat away giving secret smiles or play games! Try to have a confident demenour, interact with everyone, try to draw everyone into conversation, and dont take the spotlight all the time or talk about controversial issues like caste, politics, sex or religion.

Be ready before your turn comes. Switch off your mobile or put it in silent mode.

When your turn comes. Softly knock and wait for interviewer/interviewing panel to welcome you inside. If they do not invite you in….quietly go in.

Wish them as a group with a smile.  Dont grin. If you know someone in the room use your perception and body language of that person in question if it is beneficial to acknowledge them…. as it can go both ways. Better still, wait for them to make the first move.

Wait for one of the interviewers to invite you to take your chair. If they dont, do not keep standing. After a second -say ‘May I’ and take a chair in the middle.

Do not thrust your CV or certificate in their face. Wait till you are asked and provide relevant document. Do not bunch all documents together and hand over to them.


Next criteria is communication. If you can talk as well as you dress, then you can chalk another mark towards landing the job!

Do not  mumble or speak in a very loud voice. Both are off-putting! Speak in a modulated strong voice.

Dont give mono syllable answers or meander into a lengthy description! Be precise and answer to the point!

Dont lie. If you dont know something accept it. You can always tell that you will check it up later.

Check acceptable body language on youtube and practice it. Dont twist or wring hands nor shift in chair as it displays nervousness.


Things to prepare in advance to be able to answer to the interviewer questions

  1. Check their website indepth and monitor their social media posts
  2. Check the library webpage and orient with collection and various services already being provided and library management software implemented.
  3. Be well informed about current events – local, National and International. Read newspaper; watch news on TV update via news apps on mobile
  4. Know all journals that are relevant to the institution. Example its Engineering /Medical College or Defence institution – then arm yourself with related ‘popular’ journal titles.
  5. Become a member in various LIS Associaton of Local/National/International repute. Know latest developments in your feild. Know the list of LIS journals available. Incase there is a librarian/faculty on the panel.


Questions you may want to ask

  1. Is there a written agreement?
  2. Most important – find out the notice period! If notice period can be paid back?
  3. Will they keep your certificates with them?
  4. Can you get time to join as you have to serve notice period in the earlier job?
  5. What is the salary? Dont accept a job with very low salary that is not cominsurate with your qualifications and experience
  6. How many deductions?
  7. What are the additional perks?
  8. Is there accomodation?
  9. Is tea/lunch included?
  10. Is there a transport?
  11. What are the timings? Is there a shift system? Dont agree to extend timings of library without understanding implications…request time to study situation before making a commitment!
  12. What is the reporting structure?
  13. Who is the head?
  14. How many Library staff are there?
  15. How many are working in same position?
  16. How many support staff are available in library?
  17. What is the leave scenario? How many casual and medical leaves?
  18. Location of job?
  19. Budget of library?
  20. Ask by when they would get back to you?

Note: Do not ask all the questions in stacco mode shooting one off after another! Ask these questions depending on how the interview is progressing.  ‘Most’ of these questions may not be relevant for government job.

Preffered LIS related skills and knowledge on various tools

  1. Library Management Software
  2. Reference Management Software
  3. Social Media Monitoring Skills
  4. Knowledge of Apps
  5. Institutional Repository
  6. Open Resources
  7. IPR & Copyright


Remember that nobody will ask you 

  1. Practically write a catalogue card
  2. Give a number to a specific book orally without DDC. (Ofcourse a broad number may be asked)


Mostly questions asked are

  1. Tell us about yourself. Dont tell your life history. In few short sentences sum up your qualifications, work experiences and various notable contributions that are relevant to job at hand.
  2. 5 laws of library science? Its relevance in current scenario.
  3. What is difference between Online Library, Virtual Library, Digital Library? Or are they synonomous?
  4. What is WWW and Web and Internet? What is the similarity or difference?
  5. How will you increase footfalls in library? How will you increase reading habit?
  6. What library management softwares you are aware of? Talk about Open Access Library Management Softwares. Management loves it if you can save them money!
  7. Can you digitise the library? What hardware or software are used?
  8. How many books lost is acceptable in a library by its administration? Give ratio.
  9. What library services can you extend? Give a couple of innovative ideas.
  10. How can you generate money in a library?
  11. Which social tools can you implement in library?
  12. Why did you leave your previous job? Dont badmouth your previous employer however justified you feel.


Once the interview is done. Thank all the members on the panel and take leave closing the door quietly behind without banging it.

If you do not get a call. You can always call them up to check status. But dont hound them for information or seem desperate.

Incase they connect with you for second round with the HR. Always remember to bargain for the best possible salary keeping your personal situation in mind but do not demean the profession by accepting a low salary for the fear the job may go to someone else. If you take a low salary it will impact not only you but LIS professionals everywhere – even those who are yet to enter the profession.  Let us all unite and take a oath that we will fight for competitive salaries and designations that fit our qualifications and experience.

For Jobs Check out following links

  1. IndiaLibraries
  2. Indian Librarian
  3. LIS Portal
  4. Library  Soup
  5. LIS Links


For checking out sample resumes

Please Note: The links listed here are culled out  for information only and are not endorsement.

All the best to all those who are attending interview. Hoping this post will be helpful to you. You can connect with me at


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Criteria Recruiters look for in LIS graduates! by Dr Achala Munigal is licensed under aCreative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
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One Response to “Criteria Recruiters look for in LIS graduates!”

  1. lbnraj Says:

    An informative piece indeed.

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