In the past few years I’ve created a couple of part-time, then full-time, staff positions on the web team at VCU Libraries. We now have a web designer and a web developer who’ve both been with us for a while, but for a few years it was a revolving door of hires. So let’s just say I’ve hired lots of folks in just a few years as a manager.
A colleague from another library emailed a few weeks ago asking for tips on how to recruit talented web workers for a library web developer position. Here are some things I’ve done to get people in the door.
- Advertise on jobs.code4lib.org – these jobs are automatically forwarded to the code4lib listserv. Those listserv subscribers tend to tweet interesting jobs out as well.
- Advertise on non-library job websites including Craigslist (lots of spam but talented people too); and consider paying to advertise on LinkedIn and other tech job sites.
- Post the salary, both on the code4lib site and on your organization’s jobs site – even if it’s just a range or a minimum.
- Indicate some of the big projects you’d like the person to work on – where you would see this person contributing right away. Whet the appetite: “How can I grow? How can I help this organization grow?”
- Note your current tech stack. Are you developing your own web applications? Managing your own server? Using PHP, Ruby on Rails, Ember, Node?
- Sell the non-salary benefits. Advocate for and advertise soft benefits that tend to go a long way with digital folks:
- telecommuting – a day a week minimum;
- dedicated time and administrative support for working on innovative projects – bonus if it’s built into the official job description;
- support for travel/training;
- flexible hours;
- 40-hour workweek – sadly, in the U.S. this is a perk;
- all other non-salary benefits of working for a higher ed, government or nonprofit institution: retirement, tuition remission, gym membership, etc.?
- Sell the mission. Some people are tired of working for the bottom line and want to do work that matters. Libraries help people. Our work matters.
- Longer-term: get out there. If you are a web worker yourself, get involved in local web meetups, professional groups, etc., and meet people in your community of practice. This serves a couple of purposes beyond helping with your own learning: it expands the network of people you can reach out to when you’re hiring, and it gives your library some cred as a place to work.