A friend of mine* recently saw a advert for an interesting library post. She's always open to trying new things, and she wondered if it was worth her applying...she ticked a lot of the boxes for the skills that they wanted, and was willing to learn whatever new skills were were needed for the role - she's done it before.
But then she saw the fateful words..."Chartership essential".
Now, she's worked in various libraries, including special libraries, and Charterships are not particularly recognised or often supported in these sectors, so it's not something she currently holds. But she is a professional, qualified librarian with a wide range of experience, an involvement and interest in the wider profession, and an enthusiasm and willingness to learn, and gain Chartership if a role requires it.
So she decided to phone up and enquire if they were flexible on the Chartership aspect, before possibly wasting her time filling in an application.
Apparently, if she doesn't have a Chartership, they wouldn't even look at her application! It didn't matter what her other skills or qualification were - it was a Charter, or nothing.
So, what happens if no-one with a charter applies, she enquired?
If they didn't receive an application from a Chartered candidate, they would just readvertise until they found one.
Now to me, this is a very odd, and bizarrely shortsighted approach to recruitment.
I can understand why those recruiting for certain senior positions would like to be able to say the candidate would have to be committed to high levels of professionalism in both themselves and their staff, and that the Charter is a mark of this.
But, if your personal situation means you haven't have the chance to Charter, is it fair to exclude those applicants on the basis of a qualification that is entirely optional within the profession?
What if you were Chartered, had a career break (leaving CILIP and also therefore losing your Charter), then came back to work...seems like you wouldn't get a look in for this job.
If you want to move from a sector where Charterships aren't valued into a new sector, you wouldn't even be looked at twice in this case. That's not doing much for mobility between areas is it?
And what if your Charter was gained 20 years ago, and you've done nothing since, such as Revalidate. Is the person with an old Charter really better that the person without, but with the willingness to learn and gain one?
Is this a case of the requirement for an applicant to hold a Chartership (no matter what) blinding management to the skills of those without a Charter, or is it just some very odd people approaching recruitment very strangely?
* - Not a convoluted way of saying it was me, and trying to pretend it wasn't, honestly. This really did happen to a friend of mine. And it's true, I do actually have friends!