Opportunities to grow as a library administrator

Mitchell Library, opening ceremony, 8th March, 1910, by unknown photographerThis anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field), has not been hired within the last two months, and has been looking for a new position for More than 18 months. This person is looking in Public libraries, at the following levels: Director/Dean, and Other: Senior administration in a larger system. This job hunter is in a suburban area, in the Northeastern US, and is willing to move but

not just anywhere.

What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?

Opportunities to grow as a library administrator. Opportunities to open doors for staff. Geographic location.

Where do you look for open positions?

State & regional library associations in my target locales, primarily. Also, ALA & LJ websites, the odd listserv.

Do you expect to see salary range listed in a job ad?

√ Only for certain kinds of employers

What’s your routine for preparing an application packet? How much time do you spend on it?

I review the ad and and supplemental info the hiring library puts out, peruse their website & recent press clippings, & try to get a holistic picture in my head of what they’re looking for and how they want to be viewed. I tailor my resume & cover letter to that. Then I send it to a trusted friend for proofreading.
The process usually takes 4-5 hours over 3-5 days.

Have you ever stretched the truth, exaggerated, or lied on your resume, or at some other point during the hiring process?

√ No

When would you like employers to contact you?

√ To tell me if I have or have not been selected to move on to the interview stage
√ To follow-up after an interview
√ Once the position has been filled, even if it’s not me

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Phone for good news, email for bad news

Which events during the interview/visit are most important to your assessment of the position (i.e. deciding if you want the job)?

√ Tour of facility
√ Meeting with HR to talk about benefits/salary
√ Being able to present

What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?

Pay better, & highlight unique (or just particularly strong) benefits.

What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?

Communicate, make sure the people whose job it is to interface with candidates are professional.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Understanding & sincerely caring about the library’s goals.

For some context, take a look at the most recently published summary of responses.

Are you hunting for a new LIS job? Take the survey! http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibJOBHUNTERsurvey

This survey was co-authored by Naomi House from I Need A Library Job – Do you need one?  Check it out!

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Filed under Job hunter's survey, Northeastern US, Public, Suburban area

started downsizing in 2003 from 11 full-timers to the current 2013 level of one full-timer and one half-timer

Hunting Season, 1918This anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field), has been hired within the last two months, and has been looking for a new position for more than 18 months. This person is looking in academic libraries, archives, library vendor/service providers, public libraries, special libraries, corporations, and museums at the following levels: Supervisory, Department Head, Senior Librarian, Branch Manager.

This job hunter is in an urban area in the Western US and is not willing to move.

What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?

1. Challenging and interesting job;
2. One hour or less commute; and
3. Full time with benefits.

Where do you look for open positions?

You name it, I’ve been there. Have found the most luck with seeking out various individuals and companies without agencies and figuring out a way to meet them in person.

Do you expect to see salary range listed in a job ad?

√ No (even if I might think it *should* be)

What’s your routine for preparing an application packet? How much time do you spend on it?

Have spent hours and hours over the last several years and have a full “library” of various resumes c.v.’s and cover letters.

Have you ever stretched the truth, exaggerated, or lied on your resume, or at some other point during the hiring process?

√ No

When would you like employers to contact you?

√ To acknowledge my application
√ To tell me if I have or have not been selected to move on to the interview stage
√ To follow-up after an interview
√ Once the position has been filled, even if it’s not me

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Phone for good news, email for bad news

Which events during the interview/visit are most important to your assessment of the position (i.e. deciding if you want the job)?

√ Tour of facility
√ Meeting department members/potential co-workers

What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?

Only advertise on a few professional sites.

What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?

Let you know what the status of your application is.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

The old adage applies – it’s who you know not what you know.

Do you have any comments, or are there any other questions you think we should add to this survey?

Another question to ask on this survey might be whether the job hunters have looked into other fields using their skills. I have decided to leave the library field, after almost 20 years, as I firmly believe that the field is shrinking and will never be able to accommodate the number of library school graduates that have recently graduated or are about to graduate. I speak from experience and have been actively pursuing looking for a job since 2005, when I saw the handwriting on the wall at my then-current job where the “Powers that Be” started downsizing in 2003 from 11 full-timers to the current 2013 level of one full-timer and one half-timer. Oh, yes, by the way, the library was recently closed to the public and the archives have been kept open by appointment only. Such is the nature of this field and of the economy. We are in trouble and my advice to colleagues is to get other skills besides tech – perhaps start your own business with a product that can’t be easily outsourced or get some type of what used to be called secretarial/administrative skills so you can keep a roof over your head. This unfortunately is the new reality.

Are you hunting for a new LIS job? Take the survey! http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibJOBHUNTERsurvey

This survey was co-authored by Naomi House from I Need A Library Job – Do you need one? Check it out!

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Filed under Job hunter's survey, Urban area, Western US

I add the job to my spreadsheet

PhC42.Bx17.Hunting.F12-1This anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field), has not been hired within the last two months, and has been looking for a new position for a year to 18 months. This person is looking in Academic libraries, Archives, Library vendors/service providers, Public libraries, and Special libraries, at the entry level. This applicant has internship/volunteering experience:

I’ve interned at two locations, but it can be hard to balance getting the skills you need to develop and actually providing the help the institution needs. Prior to library school I volunteered at an organization.

This job hunter is in an urban area in the Northeastern US, and when asked if willing to move said,

I’d prefer not, but might have to

What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?

Entry-level, location, pay & benefits

Where do you look for open positions?

My alma mater’s blog
Local library commission’s job bank
Archives Gig
INALJ
Indeed
Listservs
HireCulture

Do you expect to see salary range listed in a job ad?

√ Yes, and it’s a red flag when it’s not

What’s your routine for preparing an application packet? How much time do you spend on it?

I add the job to my spreadsheet. I analyze the job listing, and sometimes make a list if the job description/requirements are disorganized (pretty common). I take about 1 hour to write a cover letter, and let it sit awhile before going back to edit it again. I edit my resume if appropriate. If I need references right away, I contact them to let them know.

Have you ever stretched the truth, exaggerated, or lied on your resume, or at some other point during the hiring process?

√ No

When would you like employers to contact you?

√ To acknowledge my application
√ To tell me if I have or have not been selected to move on to the interview stage
√ To follow-up after an interview
√ Once the position has been filled, even if it’s not me

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Phone for good news, email for bad news

Which events during the interview/visit are most important to your assessment of the position (i.e. deciding if you want the job)?

√ Tour of facility
√ Meeting department members/potential co-workers
√ Meeting with HR to talk about benefits/salary

What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?

Fight for their employees and potential employees to get a good salary and package. Train their entry-level and part-time/temporary staff to potentially be promoted. Consider that potential and experience should be equally weighted.

What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?

Be supportive. Don’t judge people so much based on attire and appearance or nerves. That doesn’t tell you anything about what kind of employee they might be!

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Networking and being a part of the community. To a certain extent getting to the interview stage and then getting hired is like playing the lottery, but this gives you an edge — even if it’s just in your confidence level, because it makes you feel like you belong.

Do you have any comments, or are there any other questions you think we should add to this survey?

Thanks for providing this resource!

Are you hunting for a new LIS job? Take the survey! http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibJOBHUNTERsurvey

This survey was co-authored by Naomi House from I Need A Library Job – Do you need one?  Check it out!

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Each of our positions is a solo librarian

This anonymous respondent serves as a solo librarian in a multi-campus academic system and has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee.This librarian hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Solo librarians with a wide variety of duties – marketing, instruction, promotions, cataloging, reference, experience with Learning Management Systems and MS Office (in order to help students, staff, and faculty).

The library is in a suburban area in the Midwestern US.

Approximately how many people applied for the last librarian (or other professional level) job at your workplace?

√ 25-75

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 26-50 %

And how would you define “hirable”?

MLS, realistic salary expectations, relocation, socially and technologically adept and involved.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

I work with my manager on evaluating resumes and cover letters. We decide which librarians we would like to phone screen. If someone does well in the phone screen, we do a WebEx interview (if travel is difficult, which it usually is). HR does not see or weed any resumes. We do not have a rubric, but we work with leadership at the campuses with vacancies before making a final decision.

What is the most common reason for disqualifying an applicant without an interview?

No MLS

Do you (or does your library) give candidates feedback about applications or interview performance?

√ Yes

What is the most important thing for a job hunter to do in order to improve his/her/their hirability?

Be enthusiastic and engaged about the profession. Stay current on new trends and developments in libraries, information, technology, and pedagogy.

I want to hire someone who is

excited

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 10-50

How many permanent, full time librarian (or other professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ 3-4

How many permanent, full time para-professional (or other non-professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ Other: 0

Can you tell us how the number of permanent, full-time librarian positions at your workplace has changed over the past decade?

√ There are more positions

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with part-time or hourly workers over the past decade?

√ No

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with para-professional workers over the past decade?

√ No

Does your workplace require experience for entry-level professional positions? If so, is it an official requirement or just what happens in practice?

We only hire MLS librarians. Each of our positions is a solo librarian.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

People will always need assistance navigating, accessing, evaluating, and communicating information.

Do you hire librarians? Take this survey: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibjobmarketsurvey or take other Hiring Librarians surveys.

For some context, look at the most recent summary of responses.

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Filed under Academic, Midwestern US, State of the Job Market 2015, Suburban area

I’m the bread winner of my household, so I’d rather not waste my time if the position pays even less than I’m making now

Bryd, RichardThis anonymous interview is with a job hunter who has not been hired within the last two months, and has been looking for a new position for Six months to a year. This person is looking in Academic libraries, at the following levels: Entry level, Requiring at least two years of experience.  This job hunter is in a city/town, in the Western US,  and is willing to move to the Southeastern US.

What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?

Location
Location
Location

Where do you look for open positions?

ALA Joblist, INALJ

Do you expect to see salary range listed in a job ad?

√ No (even if I might think it *should* be)

What’s your routine for preparing an application packet? How much time do you spend on it?

I usually double check my most current resume and write a cover letter. Two hours max.

Have you ever stretched the truth, exaggerated, or lied on your resume, or at some other point during the hiring process?

√ No

When would you like employers to contact you?

√ To tell me if I have or have not been selected to move on to the interview stage
√ Once the position has been filled, even if it’s not me

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Phone for good news, email for bad news

Which events during the interview/visit are most important to your assessment of the position (i.e. deciding if you want the job)?

√ Tour of facility
√ Meeting department members/potential co-workers
√ Meeting with HR to talk about benefits/salary

What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?

List the salary, even if it’s just a range. I’m looking to relocate cross-country and I’m the bread winner of my household, so I’d rather not waste my time if the position pays even less than I’m making now.

What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?

Update candidates on the status of the job search! Nothing is more frustrating than sending in an application and hearing that the position has been filled 8 months later (or never hearing anything at all).

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Being honest with yourself and with the potential employer. And being patient enough to take the right opportunity, not the first opportunity.

For some context, take a look at the most recently published summary of responses.

Are you hunting for a new LIS job? Take the survey! http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibJOBHUNTERsurvey

This survey was co-authored by Naomi House from I Need A Library Job – Do you need one?  Check it out!

Leave a comment

Filed under Academic, City/town, Job hunter's survey, Western US

Hours getting it all “right.”

OP_82 US Cavalry Hunting for Illicit Stills in SC 1870This anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is not currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field), has not been hired within the last two months, and has been looking for a new position for six months to a year. This person is looking in academic, archives, library vendors/service providers, public, school, and special libraries (ANYWHERE!) at the entry level. Here is this person’s experience with internships/volunteering:

Internship in a public library: reference desk (lots of observation prior), homework center.

This job hunter is in a suburban area in the Northeastern US and is willing to move anywhere.

What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?

1. Just to get one, a full-time one. 2. Decent benefits inc. medical, although dental and vision would be great. 3. Nice [perks] like paid ALA attendance, reasonable vacation and personal time.

Where do you look for open positions?

ALAJoblist, Connecticut Library Association listserv.

Do you expect to see salary range listed in a job ad?

√ Yes, and it’s a red flag when it’s not

What’s your routine for preparing an application packet? How much time do you spend on it?

Hours getting it all “right.”

Have you ever stretched the truth, exaggerated, or lied on your resume, or at some other point during the hiring process?

√ No

When would you like employers to contact you?

√ To acknowledge my application
√ To tell me if I have or have not been selected to move on to the interview stage
√ To follow-up after an interview
√ Once the position has been filled, even if it’s not me

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Other: Phone for appts, email for responses to applications-good or bad!

Which events during the interview/visit are most important to your assessment of the position (i.e. deciding if you want the job)?

√ Tour of facility
√ Meeting department members/potential co-workers

What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?

Be [honest] in the job description and stop using so many buzzwords!

What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?

Be VERY specific in the listing of job requirements.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

The only “secret” really is not a secret: the potential employee has to have the required skills for the job.

Do you have any comments, or are there any other questions you think we should add to this survey?

I can’t think of anything at the moment. Thank you for the opportunity to participate and I wish you luck with your research work.

Are you hunting for a new LIS job? Take the survey! http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibJOBHUNTERsurvey

This survey was co-authored by Naomi House from I Need A Library Job – Do you need one? Check it out!

Leave a comment

Filed under Job hunter's survey, Northeastern US, Suburban area

Further Questions: Do you Google job candidates?

This week we asked people who hire librarians

Do you Google job candidates? Or look for them on social media, in your library system records (if local), or any other type of informal/formal background check? Have you ever done this and regretted it, or not done this and wished you had? When in the process would you be an online detective and why? I’ll admit that I Google people all the time, just because I’m curious and like putting my research skills to the test!

Pssst… we discussed this issue on Further Questions before, so take a look to see how things may have changed since 2013!

​I know this is not a very exciting answer, but our HR does not allow us to do this. If the candidate provides links in their application materials like to their LibGuides or their blog, we can look at those, but nothing else.

- Julie Leuzinger, Department Head, Library Learning Services, University of North Texas Libraries

Our HR department generally does the basic background check/work verification.

As for myself, I don’t Google prospective job applicants. My rule of thumb is: would I want someone to Google me? I’d rather not have someone judge me based on some random thing I might have tweeted five years ago, divorced from any context. I judge people based on their work history and their interview. I did it once a few years ago, I’ll admit, but I felt so creepy about it that I’ve never done it again. It just felt so invasive. But, maybe, if I was presented with a serious candidate that had a strange gap in their work history that they failed to explain either in the application or the interview, I might do it again, but that’s the only time I think I might consider it. So-my advice to applicants-if you have long gaps in your work history or were fired, etc., be honest and up-front about the reasons. Don’t make me Google you!

- Margaret M. Neill, Regional Library Branch Manager, Main Library, El Paso Public Library

Jessica OlinIt depends what the position is. An administrator? Absolutely I’ll Google/DuckDuckGo/etc. I’m an academic librarian, so I might look an administrator candidate up on Google Scholar as well. If it’s an entry level professional, I’ll probably only Google if something feels a bit wrong or if I’m torn between two candidates. Paraprofessional? Never have. As for library system records? Never.

 

- Jessica Olin, Director of Parker Library, Wesley College

Celia RabinowitzI rarely Google or search for a candidate online.  This is often at least partly a result of lack of time more than anything else.  When I have it has most often been after an on-campus interview.  I prefer not to have outside social media influences, including photographs, on my assessment of candidates before I meet them other than what they might provide information about in their own application materials.  I might take a look at the web site for their current place of employment if it is an institution I am unfamiliar with.  I consider that an enhanced form of looking at their professional credentials.

- Celia Rabinowitz,  Dean of Mason Library at Keene State College in Keene, NH

Thank you as always to our contributors for their time and insight.  If you’re someone who hires librarians and are interested in participating in this feature, please email us at hiringlibrariansquestionsATgmail.com.

Thank YOU for reading!  If you liked reading, you’re going to really love COMMENTING.

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